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Donald Lee Donegan

Donald Lee Donegan, 83, passed away September 16, 2014, at his home in White City, Ore. after a long illness.

Don was born in Glendale, Calif. May 23, 1931, and grew up in nearby Montrose. He graduated Glendale High School in 1949 where he had been a very popular athletic yell-leader. Throughout his high school years he was active in the Golden Gloves program and Order of DeMolay fraternity, ultimately becoming a Chevalier and California State President of the organization for young men in his senior year. But perhaps his proudest achievement was gaining acceptance to Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna). As Head Yell-Leader he made many cherished lifelong friends and courted his future wife, Pamela Ann Patrick, from neighboring Pomona College.

Pam and Don were married February 10, 1952 during his junior year at CMC. They steadfastly remained together for over 62 years and produced three children, Michael, Keren and Jay.

After overcoming a nearly fatal illness, Don graduated from Claremont in 1953, fully intending to pursue a career in teaching at the high school level. But after taking a classmate's offer of a summer job in sales for a prominent Los Angeles vending company, he found that he was so successful that he made more money in that single summer than he would have made in a full year of teaching, and he promptly switched career directions.

Working for Interstate Vending Corporation he raced up the corporate ladder from Account Manager at the Burbank Lockheed plant, to Philadelphia Branch Manager, to East Coast Sales manager, to National Sales Manager and ultimately Vice President of Sales in Chicago by the time he was 30. During his tenure Interstate United became the third largest vending company in the world and provided coffee and food services to offices, plants and institutions from coast to coast, as well as many prestigious venues like the 1962 New York World's Fair.

But Don had always had an entrepreneurial streak and a love for his Southern California roots, so in 1965 he brought his family back to Los Angeles and ultimately started his own coffee service company from the family garage. Though the hours were long and the work tough, the new company, Majordomo Services, grew rapidly and soon became the largest independently owned and operated coffee and refreshment service provider to offices in the western United States. The Office Coffee Service industry was in its infancy, long before the first Starbucks opened its doors, and Majordomo was considered a pioneer in bringing fresh-brewed restaurant-quality coffee into the workplace.

By 1970 Don and several other operators in the greater Los Angeles area realized the need for an organization to promote industry standards and ethics and foster a professional image and they formed the Western Coffee Association, naming Don its founding President. In following years the Western Coffee Association became an affiliate to the National Coffee Service Association representing over 2500 coffee service operators across the country, and Don was elected to its Presidency in 1979.

Majordomo continued to operate independently with branches from California to as far east as Atlanta, Georgia, until it joined forces in 1989 with the Daioh Companies of Japan, which continue to operate across America today as First Choice Coffee Services.

During the 1980's Don semi-retired and fell in love with his small ranch located on the picturesque Rogue River just north of Medford, Oregon. Here, he raised llamas and enjoyed year-round hunting and fishing and sharing his paradise with his many friends from around the world. Don was an active supporter of numerous community activities and charities around the Rogue Valley including the School District D9 Foundation, Medford Education International, the Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History, and Britt Festivals. To the end, Don was always eager to share his knowledge and lend support to others.

Don would have liked to acknowledge and thank his friend and physician, Clark Cullen, for his compassion and encouragement throughout his illness. The attending staff at the Rogue Valley Dialysis Center were also very caring, and the doctors and nurses associated with Ashland Hospice eased his last days.

He is survived by his wife and three children, twin granddaughters, and a large extended family across the US. No services are planned at this time.