Fred Donaldson, 92


Fred Donaldson passed away on April 23, 2022, in Vancouver, Wash., at the age of 92. He was surrounded by family, including his wife of 72 years, Lois (Madsen) Donaldson. Fred was born in Genoa, the son of Elbra (Babe) and Dores Donaldson. Fred and his older brother Tom grew up on a farm near Fullerton.

When Fred was a young teenager, his parents moved the family to Blair, where they owned the Washington County Hatchery for many years. Fred attended Blair High School, where he and Lois became high school sweethearts. Many of their lifelong Blair friendships evolved from those years, including annual group vacations to Lake Okoboji.

After high school, Fred enrolled at the University of Colorado. He missed Lois, so he returned to Blair during a school break and the two of them decided to elope. They were married Dec. 2, 1949,  in Council Bluffs, with a justice of the peace and his wife as the only witnesses. 

After one year in Colorado, Fred returned to Blair and worked at Kelly Ryan Manufacturing briefly in the early 1950s. Shortly after that, he was hired by Western Electric in Millard. Blair was home to Fred and Lois and their four children for the next 20 years. They were active in the community and members of the First Lutheran Church.

Fred and his family left Blair in 1970, and over the next decade job transfers with Western Electric took Fred and Lois to the states of Washington, New York and New Jersey. In 1979, Fred took a transfer overseas to Iran. Just a few months later, however, Fred an Lois were forced to flee just before the Iran hostage crisis.

Back in the U.S., Fred decided to take an early retirement, which eventually led them to Boulder City, Nev., a small town like Blair, that he and Lois fell in love with during a trip there for their 25th wedding anniversary. Fred developed a love for the desert. During the next 30 years in Nevada, Fred and Lois became small business owners, dabbled in real estate, and even traveled to events as mini-donut vendors. They also traveled the world, taking cruises to Asia and Europe, including a trans-Atlantic voyage. In sunny Nevada, they became good tennis players, joined a tennis group, and developed longtime friendships with fellow tennis players. Though he didn’t consider himself a good golfer, Fred recorded a hole-in-one in Boulder City.

Fred was a big believer in education. Along with work and a family, he attended night school. He earned a bachelor degree from Dana College, and a masters degree from Portland University in Oregon. Though he never attended the University of Nebraska, he was a dedicated fan of the Cornhuskers. Throughout his adult life, he was known for his red attire, in particular his red cap with a Nebraska “N.”

Fred spent his final years in the Pacific Northwest, to be closer to family. In addition to Lois, Fred is survived by four children and their spouses: Vicky Moerer (Brian), of St. Paul, Minn.; Mark Donaldson (Martha) of Long Beach, Wash.; Mari Ramsey of Vancouver; and Juli Donaldson (Deb) of Vancouver.  Fred was grandfather and great grandfather to numerous grandchildren, ranging in ages from 50 years to 6 months. He also maintained contact with family and friends in Blair. 

Fred will be interred in the Blair Cemetery. Services are pending.