Robert M. Donner

Robert M Donner

Robert M Donner

Robert M. Donner, age 80, of Briggsville, Wisconsin passed away Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at his home. Robert fought a courageous battle with Cancer for 15 years. Between treatments he never let cancer interfere with either his positive attitude or life experiences.

Robert was born July 07, 1940 in Portage, Wisconsin to Melvin and Geraldine (Dewsnap) Donner. Robert graduated from the University of Wisconsin with Masters Degree in Physics. He married Margaret Lily Saunders in 1964. Several years later the adventurous couple joined the Peace Corps and served in Ecuador. After a few years living in New Mexico, and Rockford, IL. they moved to Baraboo, Wisconsin. Robert taught Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Baraboo/Sauk County Campus until his retirement. During the time he lived in Baraboo he helped form a small, informal sing group called the Glacier Valley Erratics. He loved getting together with friends, playing music on his guitar and singing folk songs. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church and he was active in the Sierra Club. After retirement, Robert moved to Briggsville where he lived on Mason Lake. In 2008, with his significant other, Bonnie Wolff, he purchased property in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. Robert and Bonnie spent part of each year living in and exploring Montana. He was relentless in his desire to explore the many mountains and rivers in Montana.

Robert always enjoyed any activities that took place outdoors. He was a lover of the natural world and committed to the preservation of it. As a college professor, he took students on Western hiking trips. He enjoyed cross country skiing, biking, hiking, sailing and flying his own piper cub, but his real love was paddling. If there was a water flow he wanted to put a canoe into it. He got into whitewater paddling and extensive back-country canoe trips. He combined his love of travel by paddling in foreign countries. Robert’s fascination with the environment was also expressed in his many hiking and backpacking adventures.

His granddaughter, Catherine Abfall was very special to him and brought joy into his life.

Memorials may be directed in Robert’s memory to the Nature Conservancy.

Robert was preceded in death by: both his parents, Melvin and Geraldine Donner, his brother Richard Donner, and his daughter, Robyn Donner

Robert is survived by: Margaret Donner of LaCrosse, WI; his son,Cory Donner of Briggsville, WI; granddaughter Catherine Abfall of Arkdale, WI; brother Royce (Sandra) Donner of Oregon, WI; nephews: Richard (Sandra) Donner of Edwardsville, IL; Aaron Donner of Murfreesboro, TN.; Dwan Donner of Florissant,MO; niece Ellie (Jude) Lightfoot of Weston,MO.; many cousins and significant other Bonnie Wolff of Briggsville, WI

A private memorial service will be held at the Briggsville Methodist Church on May 15 at 10;30 AM. Non-family can access the service on their car radio from the parking lot.

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  1. Kenneth Crothers says:

    It was my privilege to become acquainted with Bob by serving with him on the Town Board. His quiet dignity, kindness, steadfast adherence to principles, and intellect served as a good example for all who were fortunate enough to make his acquaintance. He was an impressive person and I shall miss him. My sympathy to all those who were close to him.

  2. Sarah and Marv Peterson says:

    What a very special man. We are so lucky to have known him.

  3. Rumsey Young says:

    Bob was always up for an adventure. He was quietly so engaged with his environment. When hiking or skiing or paddling with Bob, I was never disappointed in the experience as I would most times learn new stuff from this extraordinary and thoughtful man. Thanks for some good times Bob! We will miss you.

  4. Lance Krieg says:

    I was privileged to join Bob on many of his Montana adventures. I respected his skills, admired his fortitude, and always enjoyed his company. My deepest sympathies to his family, and I join them in mourning his passing.