West Des Moines

Boundless in his unwavering faith and proficient in his always-positive attitude, John Charles Donald entered the Kingdom of Heaven at the age of 77, Monday, January 11, 2021 the same way he lived his life: with grace, courage, and fortitude.

Born in Davenport, Iowa on February 5, 1943, to parents M. Harold Donald and Jean (Stewart) Donald, John was the second oldest of four children. His family later moved to Clive where the children were raised. John spent his days riding horses and playing baseball. He graduated from Valley High School in 1961.

His adventurous spirit led him to Newport Beach, California where he spent several years surfing and attending college at Santa Ana. The pull of family brought him back to Des Moines where he graduated from Drake University. At Drake, he became a member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity.

He met and married his life’s love, Deborah Schmidt, in 1971. They have been married 49 years.

After graduation, John started work in the insurance industry. He eventually went into business for himself where he had a successful 40-year career in financial planning. His success and drive earned him a magnitude of high-achievement sales awards. Some of those include multiple-year Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) award member and numerous Insurance Industry Top Producer awards and recognition. Through his business success, he and Deb were able to travel the world.

John was involved in several organizations for many years. He was a long-time member of the West Des Moines Rotary where he served as President and other board positions. Through the Rotary, John participated in the WDMCS Reads program where he met weekly to read with struggling elementary students. Through the Rotary’s exchange program, John and his family hosted several foreign exchange students from Japan, the Netherlands and Finland.

John was an active member for years at St. John’s Lutheran Church and Lutheran Church of Hope. He served as an usher, Sunday School teacher, Stephen’s Ministry, VBS volunteer, hospital ministry team, administered the sacraments of holy communion, and was involved in several small groups. His faith was steadfast. He felt the purpose of his long and many battles with cancer was to minister to others inflicted by the disease and its effects.

John’s greatest joy and most treasured blessing was his family. His favorite times were spent with family. He cherished his three children and loved being “Poppy” to his five adoring grandchildren. He loved spending time with his girls, going on family trips, family game nights and going out to dinner. He was the ultimate family man, always advocating for his son, Jeff, who has special needs, supporting his girls in all things and being a positive role model in everything he did. He always encouraged his girls to “shoot for the stars” and “fly with the eagles”. His pride in them was unwavering.

To best support Jeff and others with special needs, John was a devout member and volunteer with Special Olympics, The Variety Club of Iowa, the Convalescent Home, and Daycare for Exceptional Children. He was most proud of the work he did in honor of his son.
John positively impacted everyone who was fortunate enough to meet him. You never left a conversation with John without a smile on your face. He was loved, respected, and admired by all who knew him. He will be best remembered for his unshakeable faith, positivity, immense love of his family, his ever-present humor, and his extraordinary zest for life. He was a treasure – one of a kind. He leaves behind a huge void in our hearts and he will be missed terribly.

He is survived by his wife, Deb (Schmidt) Donald; his children: Andrea (Brian) Maschka, Jeff Donald, and Lindsay (Scott) Kaven; five grandchildren: Creighton, Berkley, and Drake Maschka, and Wilder and Hayes Kaven; and sister, Ruth Cooper (Pete Ohorilko).

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jean (Stewart) Donald and M. Harold Donald and step-mother, Jenta (Donald) Nason; brother, Tom Donald; sister, Mary Geyer; parents-in-law, Richard O. Schmidt and Jeanette (Engelter) Schmidt; sister-in-law, Janice (Schmidt) Neal; and brother-in-law, Donald Neal.

The family would like to extend a message of heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Richard Deming, nurse Kelly and staff for their dedication, compassion and commitment to John for 15 years. They made a great team and John thought the world of Dr. Deming.

Donations in John’s memory can be made to Deb Donald. A lump-sum will be donated each to Above and Beyond Cancer and Mosaic Homes.

Visitation will be held Sunday, January 17, 2021 at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway, 3601 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines, IA from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the memorial service on Monday, January 18 at 11:00 a.m. at Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines. The service will be live streamed below on the day of the service.

Burial will follow at Resthaven Cemetery.

Services may be seen virtually at Lutheran Church of Hope

Service Details

Sunday, January 17, 2021
2:00 to 5:00 pm
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Monday, January 18, 2021
11:00 am
Lutheran Church of Hope
925 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Resthaven Cemetery
West Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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