Robert L. Donahue passed away peacefully Sept. 29, 2008, at his residence, Chandler Hall, in Newtown, Pa., with his loving wife of 67 years, Margaret, at his bedside.
Robert was born Jan. 5, 1919, in Farrell, Pa., the son of Alfred and Ruth Donahue. He attended Northeastern Illinois University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in urban studies.
Robert married his wife Margaret in 1941 in Farrell. They moved to the Chicago area in 1946. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded the rank of colonel before retiring from the military. From 1965 to 1969, Robert worked in the real estate development and mortgage banking business in Chicago.
From 1979 to 1985, he was the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, in Springfield, Ill. Robert was responsible for the implementation of statutory aviation laws in the state of Illinois. From 1985 to 1989, he was the Associate Administrator for Airports at the Federal Aviation Administration, under President Ronald Reagan, in Washington, D.C. Of his many accomplishments, Robert was directly responsible for the funding and building of Denver International Airport and Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
In 1989 Robert started Aviation Associates, Inc., in Springfield, Ill., which offered expertise in financial programs, marketing, public relations and environmental processes affecting the entire spectrum of aviation.
Robert was passionate about people, and he always gave everyone his entire attention, no matter what the situation. He owned the room when asked to speak, and he told a joke with theatrical ability. He loved airplanes and flying, golf, skiing, singing and dancing, and traveling. He truly enjoyed life to the fullest, and touched, in some way, anyone that ever met him.
Robert is survived by his wonderful wife, Margaret, with whom he had five children; his late son, Martin, and four daughters. Survivors are Peggie Lawton and her husband, LeRoy, of Craig; Karen Beauvais and her husband, Mix, of Steamboat Springs; Susie Malinsky and her husband, Greg, of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; and Kathleen Parry and her husband, John, and Newtown, Pa. Robert had the pleasure and enjoyment of his 11 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his sister, Loretta Stayton, of Long Beach, Wash.; brother-in-law, Charles Manofsky, of Warren, Ohio; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and thousands of friends.
Mass of Christian burial will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Church, in Farrell, at 11 a.m. Oct. 10., with burial at St. Elizabeth's Cemetery. Relatives and friends may gather at the church from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. An Irish wake will take place at a local restaurant immediately after. Bring your stories and happy memories.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to your local Alzheimer's Association.