John “Jack” William Donahue

On December 14, 2019, we lost this sweet man to his forever home. Although our hearts break to see you go… you were a hero to our families as well as so many others… we know that the Glory that has been revealed to you is what you deserve after a full, amazing life.

John “Jack” William Donahue, 94, passed away with his loving family around him, his loving wife of 74 years holding his hand. Memorial services will be held in Sturgis, SD, in June 2020.

Jack was born August 22, 1925, in the Winner area/Tripp County, to Charles and Mildred (McQuistan) Donahue. He had one sister, Patricia Burns. He grew up in Yankton, SD. He was a football, basketball, and track athlete in high school, excelling in track. During his Senior year in high school, June of 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a navigator on a Boeing B-29 during WWII. He also ran on the Air Force track team. After being discharged from the Air Corps, he returned to Yankton and attended Yankton College. During this time, he met the love of his life, Arlene Amy, and they were united in marriage in Wessington Springs on July 8, 1945.

After getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Yankton College, he taught and coached football, track, and basketball in Pickstown, SD. They then moved to Onida, SD, where he was a teacher and coach before he received his Master’s degree through USD and became Superintendent at Onida. He was in the Onida area for 13 years and led the track team to 2 State Championships. He then moved his family to Murdo, where he was Superintendent for 18 years. Jack enjoyed his time at each of these communities, making life-long relationships. He could make friends with the young and old, and was known for his quick wit, humor, and shenanigans. He had many students, friends, and co-workers who he always remembered fondly.

After retiring, he resided in Silver City, SD, with his wife, Arlene. At this time, he was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for both Yankton and Onida High Schools in honor of his athletic and coaching abilities. Jack loved hunting, fishing, golfing, gardening, and spending time in the Black Hills with his family.

 He is survived by his wife, Arlene; son, Bill (Victoria) Donahue; daughter, Patricia (John) Brunskill; daughter, Julie (late Steve) Wagner; 7 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Mildred Donahue; sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Rod Burns; sister and brother-in-law, Bonnie and Jack Robinson; son-in-law, Steve Wagner; and granddaughter, Bonnie Brunskill.

Condolences may be sent to the family at