He was 78.
Donaldson served in a variety of professional and volunteer positions with local television stations, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Bowl Game Association and numerous civic organizations, but he always made time for his family and friends.
Donaldson took time to enjoy life, be it work or leisure activities. He was a very fun-loving person who loved his family and loved San Diego. He was quite a beachgoer and organized many beach parties. He and wife Barbara traveled the world. In particular, their annual trips to St. Martin and Anguilla were their favorites.
Donaldson was born on May 5, 1936 in Orange, N.J.
He grew up in El Paso, Texas where he attended the University of Texas at El Paso. There he joined the Officer Training Corps and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He served from 1964-66 at the Olathe missile site near Kansas City, Kansas. He and his family moved to San Diego and forged a 29-year career as a television executive, working as sales manager of KFMB-TV between 1970 and 1994 and then with KUSI-TV.
He later served as executive director for the National City Mile of Cars.
“His reputation in San Diego was unparalleled as far as straightforward honesty and integrity, as well as his love of life and his feeling for the people he dealt with,” said Harry Melkerson, who worked with Donaldson and counted him as mentor, best friend and brother.
Others shared the sentiment.
“He had this infectious ability to engage people in a way that everybody around him was having a good time or was motivated,” said Bob Sexton.
Aside from his TV work, Donaldson contributed his time and skill to civic and sports organizations. He volunteered as a “Red Coat” with the San Diego Bowl Association, which has produced the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl football games for more than 30 years. He served as president of the Holiday Bowl in 1998.
Donaldson also lent his experience to the San Diego Zoological Society’s board of directors; served as a trustee from 2003 to 2012 and collaborated specifically on the marketing and investment committees.
In addition, Donaldson was a member of the San Diego Ad Club and recipient of the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a member of the San Diego Advertising Golf Association. He served on the boards of the Downtown YMCA and San Diego Crimestoppers.
He enjoyed the game of golf and was a member of the San Diego Country Club.
He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Barbara; sister Marylee Skelly; sons Glen Donaldson and John Donaldson (Kim); daughter Val Lattin (David); three granddaughters, Jessica Donaldson, Shelby Donaldson and Grace Lattin; and several nieces and nephews.
Donaldson was very loving, generous, active and instrumental in all their lives and will be greatly missed.
A celebration of life is scheduled for June 26 at Qualcomm Stadium, Club Level Lounge, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Guests can enter through security gate A on the Plaza Level.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for donations to be made to the San Diego Zoological Society or San Diego Hospice.