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Ronald Norvell Donaldson

November 25, 1928 ~ September 3, 2017 (age 88)

The Piano Brothers

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Ron passed away just before midnight on September 2, 2017 with Betty, his wife of 68 years, and family at his side. He was 88 years old and had lived a full and wonderful life before he began the battle with what he called the “dementia monster”. Survivors include wife Betty, daughters Lynn Sander (Keith) and JoAnn Johnson (Joe), and son Brian Donaldson (Lori) all of Boise; and he was thrilled to have four grandsons and five great grand children. He was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother.

Ron was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and despite the rain he learned to love all kinds of outdoor activities both in the mountains and at the beach. He passed that affection for the outdoors on to his kids and grandsons, spending many weekends patiently teaching them the best ways to set up a camp, launch a boat, and how to catch a few fish for dinner.

After two and a half years attending Oregon State University, Ron returned to Portland where he married his long-time sweetheart Betty Johnson on July 9, 1949. He worked at the National Biscuit Company (now known as Nabisco) and then Columbia River Paper Company where he was trained as one of the very early business computer programmers on the west coast. The Univac computer he programmed took up nearly an entire floor in the company’s building in downtown Portland.

After the paper company was acquired by Boise Cascade Corporation, Ron and his young family were given the opportunity to relocate to Boise. Ron continued his career in Boise with the Terteling Company and Intermountain Gas Company. He retired from the gas company in 1988 and he and Betty headed out for some of the best years of their lives.

Ron and Betty, along with Pilgrim the dog, traveled and lived full-time in their RV for seven years. They crisscrossed the country making friends wherever they went. During the summers they were camp hosts at campgrounds around the west with their favorite being at Phillips Reservoir in the mountains outside of Baker City, Oregon. Ron took great pride in the fact that during all that travel, they never had a mechanical breakdown or a flat tire. He was definitely a belt and suspenders kind of guy when it came to maintaining his vehicles!

Ron and Betty finally decided to settle down a little and purchased small mobile homes, one in Yuma, Arizona and a second (nearly identical) in Cascade, Idaho. Their rule was once the air conditioning had to come on in Yuma, they moved to Cascade and when the heat kicked on in Cascade, they moved back to Yuma. After another seven years of commuting, they finally moved back to Boise to be closer to family.

Ron was a devoted husband and father, nothing was more important to him than providing a secure and comfortable life for his family. He carried that deep sense of responsibility into his career as well and always valued and respected the people who worked with him and for him. Ron was at his very best when he was contributing to life in some positive way, whether mentoring a young employee or simply mowing the lawn.

We will miss him deeply but take great comfort in knowing that he has won the battle with his dementia monster. Ron did not want a funeral or memorial service, so in lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation in Ron’s name to the Idaho Humane Society or to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

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