Steen Funeral Home-Central Avenue Chapel
Gordon Stuart Donalson, age 90, died peacefully at his son’s home on Oct. 7, 2012. He was surrounded by the ones who loved him so much. He was a 59-year member of the First United Methodist Church.
Gordon was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years (six months to the day), Eloise; and a daughter, Mary Lynn Donalson, in 1983.
Gordon was born July 24, 1922, in Walnut Grove, W.Va., the son of the late Berman Talmadge “BT” Donalson and Ala Dilworth Donalson. He is survived by a son, Gary Stuart Donalson and daughter-in-law, Lisa, and two grandsons he loved so much, Andre Stuart and Alex Stuart. He adored his two cats, Miss Kitty and Shadow, and his sheepdog, Baby Bear, who has stayed by his side.
He was also preceded in death by his three brothers, Roger Donalson of Columbus, Ohio, Glenn Donalson of Ocala, Fla., and Earl Donalson of California.
Survivors also include many nephews and nieces he loved so dearly. The Donalson family and Tsatsos family, he adored all of your friendship and loved you all so much.
Gordon left Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, W.Va., in the 11th grade to join the Navy as part of the Great War. For six years, he was onboard several minesweepers and destroyers as a signal-man. These ships were involved in several major Allied invasions through North Africa and the Mediterranean. He returned from war and moved back to Beckley and completed his GED certificate.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Eloise, and soon moved to Bowling Green, Ky., where he went to Bowling Green Business University, pursuing an accounting degree. Upon graduation, they moved to Kingsport, Tenn., for a year before settling in Ashland. He took a job with Ashland Oil in 1953 and retired in 1985.
Gordon was a multi-task band parent, whether at Tomcat games or pulling the U-Haul trailer or driving the truck to gigs Gary played. Over a 30-year span, he and Eloise loved to follow Gary’s bands around the country to where they were playing.
Gordon was active at First United Methodist Church in Ashland, the church he loved so much. For several years, he ran the audio-visual department and since his retirement had helped with the church bulletin. He looked so forward to going weekly and seeing all his friends at the church office and staff. He also loved genealogy and has traced his family history back over 300 years. He was proud to say his four-time grandfather, John Hart, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
So many thanks go to the great folks at Hospice, his Hospice nurse, Carolee Tabor, his caregiver who was so good with him, Linda Newsome, Dr. Tim Hart and his Nottingham neighbors, Michelle and Brian Griffith. I thank all of the many “condolences” we have received on social media, many from my former band colleagues and close friends. I didn’t realize how many lives he had touched with his love and kindness. As one former band mate said, “I am so sorry for the loss of the creator of so many great adventures, none of which would have been accomplished without him. I am happy for his release into the pleasure of bliss. Your folks shared their joy knowing the love of their family and are at peace in the love and legacy they left here on Earth.”
So as I finish writing this eulogy and obituary for my father, I am sad and heartbroken, yet so proud to have had the “life experience” he and my mom allowed me. My sister and I were adopted as infants and “Mom and Dad” took us under their wing and provided the needed love and encouragement. The older I have gotten, I realized how very lucky I was. I have told him countless times over the past few years these exact words that he was truly my hero, and my friend and I was so honored to be his son. But ... most of all, I would tell him, God couldn’t have blessed me with a better dad. I am so glad I let him know that.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Steen Funeral Home-Central Avenue Chapel in Ashland with the Rev. John Street officiating. Burial will be in Rose Hill Burial Park in Ashland, with military services provided by American Legion Post 93 of Kenova.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Donations may be sent to First United Methodist Church, 1811 Carter Ave., Ashland, KY 41101 or Community Hospice, 1480 Carter Ave., Ashland, KY 41101 in his memory.
Condolences may be sent to steenfuneralhome.com.