Colonel Jon E. Donaldson, age 94, of Texarkana, Texas, passed away February 19, 2022 at a local hospice facility. He was born on December 15, 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio and was raised by his adoptive parents, David and Shirley Donaldson. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 53 years, Estelle Louise Donaldson.
He is survived by his four children, Rob Donaldson and wife Andrea, Brad Donaldson, Karen Donaldson Brine and husband Mark, and Ted Donaldson and wife Amanda; seven grandchildren, Jenna Brine Roundtree, Stephen Donaldson, Josh Brine, Jacque Donaldson Bailey, Sean Donaldson, Braden Donaldson and Taelyn Donaldson; six great-grandchildren, Claire Roundtree, JJ Donaldson, Jolie Roundtree, Jack Donaldson, June Donaldson, and another on the way.
In 1946 he left and joined the Navy. This was just the beginning of his military career that would span 33 years and take him and his family around the world. After two years in the Navy, he went to Ohio University on the GI Bill and a small scholarship to play baseball. During his senior year, he joined the Army ROTC and upon graduation was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. His Army career began in 1951 when he was sent to Ft. Lee, VA to attend the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course. In 1952 he was sent to Ft. Bragg to begin a two-year detail in the Field of Artillery which eventually led him to Ft. Still in Oklahoma for the Artillery Officers Course. After graduation, he was sent to Korea where he became the XO of the Battery C, 176 Armored Artillery Battalion. During his tour, he was involved in many engagements. In 1954 he was sent to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas where he met the love of his life and married Estelle Louise Wright. Soon after he was assigned to the 9th Quartermaster Company in Frankfurt, Germany, and later became the Commander of this unit. In December of 1956 he was promoted to Captain and in February of 1957 his first son, John Robert was born. His second son, James Bradley was born in April of 1958, also in Germany.
After returning to the States later in 1958, Donaldson’s family grew along with the Army career. In 1959 he was selected to attend the Ohio State University to work toward a Masters Degree in Industrial Psychology. During this period his daughter, Karen Louise was brought into this world. After graduating, he was assigned to a three-year tour in the Panama Canal Zone. During this tour, he was promoted to Major before returning to the states to attend the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in 1964. In early 1965 his third son, Ted Ernest was born. Later in 1965 he would become the Chief of Army’s General Equipment Test Activity and moved to Ft. Lee VA. Later in 1965 he was sent to Vietnam on a three-month tour to test how our troops would like a wide variety of dehydrated meals. This program was adopted by the Army and is the foundation for the current Army’s MRE, or meals ready to eat program that fuels our troops in combat.
In 1966 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, just a few months before his 38th birthday which triggered his orders for another tour in Vietnam. He was assigned as Senior Advisor to the 5th Vietnamese Logistical Command and headquartered In Nha Trang. This tour lasted until October of 1967.
Upon returning home he moved the family to Alexandria, VA because he was assigned to the Army Staff in Washington DC. He would serve as a staff officer to the Doctrine Branch and Systems Division of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development. This assignment was based in the Pentagon and would later require his enrollment in the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in July 1969. This college is the highest level of the military educational system. Upon graduation in June of 1970, he became the Deputy Branch Chief to the Quartermaster Branch, Office of Personnel Management. His role came with the responsibility of managing all Lt. Colonels in the Quartermaster Corps. In March of 1972 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and soon after was assigned to the Military Delivery Team in Cambodia. His tour would last one year before returning home to Alexandria, VA.
In 1974, he was given Command of the Pueblo Army Depot located in Colorado. This Depot employed 2,600 civilians. Then in 1975 through 1977, he was assigned Commander of Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, TX. This depot utilized 5000 civilians and over 100 military personnel in support of Army readiness throughout the world. He retired from the Army in 1977 after 33 years in service to his country. In 2012, he was inducted into the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Hall of Fame.
After retirement from the Army, he taught Psychology at Texarkana College and in 1981 became Executive Director of the United Way of Texarkana, a position held until 1993.
His list of honors are as follows:
Awards and Decorations:
Legion of Merit w/ Three Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/ Two Oak Leaf Clusters
Vietnam Service Medal w/ Three Battle Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster
Korean Service Medal w/ Three Battle Stars
United Nation Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Meritorious Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Cambodian National Defense Service Medal
Army General Staff Identification Badge
Major General Kester L. Hastings Honor Award, QM Officer Advanced Call ‘59A
United States Small Business Administration Certificate in Recognition of Outstanding Support and Dedicated Effort to Benefit the Small Business of our Nation.
Leadership Texarkana Alumni Association in Recognition of Outstanding Leadership in Building Human Relations and Facilitating Interactions among Members of Our Community.
United Way of Greater Texarkana Awarded Title of Chairman Emeritus in Deep Appreciation and in Recognition of your Dedication and Leadership.
He was deeply respected by his peers and loved by his children and grandchildren. His wisdom, encouragement, and unconditional love will be greatly missed. We would like to thank all the special caregivers at Cornerstone for their care and concern for dad as well as Hospice and the support they gave us. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the United Way of Greater Texarkana, Wounded Warriors, Hospice of Texarkana, or a charity of your choice.
Visitation will be at Texarkana Funeral home Texarkana, TX at 1:00 PM on February 28, 2022 with Funeral Services will be held afterward at 2:00 PM at the funeral home. Military burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park.