Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Robert Donald's memorial

Robert Donald
Nov. 21, 1941-Oct. 19, 2004
Palo Alto, California

Robert (Bob) Leo Donald, 62, a resident of Palo Alto for more than 50 years, lifelong humanitarian and good neighbor, died Oct. 19, 2004. Bob's positive outlook on life was unwavering, even in failing health. Bob lived with diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis, and cancer of the lung and brain.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Bob attended St. Thomas Aquinas School in Palo Alto, Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and San Jose State University. He worked at Palo Alto's CO-OP Grocery Store before starting a long career at the New York Life Insurance Company.

Bob loved traveling, meeting people in other countries, bringing toys to impoverished children and collecting artifacts. With his ready smile and friendly gestures, his lack of foreign language ability didn?t slow him down one bit.

While visiting his brother, Jack, a Jesuit missionary in Honduras, Bob would traverse lagoons and boat up jungle rivers. He would push the canoe through the swamps and sink into the mud up to his waist. He would walk the beaches for hours to the next village.

Bob?s biggest project was outfitting a carpenter shop for the Garifuna youth of Sangrelaya in Honduras. He canvassed his hometown of Palo Alto asking for donated tools. He visited garage sales to pick up any usable items. He got parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas involved donating saws, hammers, and whatnot. Finally, he got the fruit company to ship the crates to Honduras, where Jack picked them up at the docks.

Bob was always ready to lend a hand when asked, or often when not asked. Bob's friends and family admired his love of life and his ability to make the best of any situation. When Bob grew ill, we witnessed the depth of his optimism.

Bob is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Cherie Donald of Palo Alto; mother, Elaine Donald; sister, Kathryn Donald; brother, Jack Donald; brother, Tom Donald; brother, Steven; brother, Michael; son, David Donald of Elk Grove; son, John Donald of Menlo Park; son, Robert Donald of Walnut Creek; son, James Donald of San Jose; son, John Brubaker of Mountain View; and three grandchildren.

For more on the life and works of Bob Donald, visit

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Donations may be made in memory of Bob to the California Jesuit Missionaries, c/o Jack Donald, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031-0068.

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