CONDON — Roger Donald died at his home in Condon on Oct. 11, 2018, age 82, after a long illness.
Born in New York and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, Roger attended Andover, Rossall School (on an English Speaking Union Scholarship), Yale, and Clare College, Cambridge (as a Mellon Fellow). After starting his career at Magraw Hill, he soon joined Little, Brown where he spent 30 years as a senior editor and publisher. Over the years, he worked with an exceptional group of writers, including Edward Abbey, John Barth, Nathaniel Benchley, Thomas Berger, Peter de Vries, Dennis Donahue, David Herbert Donald, Thomas Flexner, Bryan Forbes, Ellen Gilchrist, Arthur Krock, Norman Mailer, Maryjane Meaker, William Manchester, Paul Monette, Anatoly Rybakov, William Shirer, and I.F. Stone. He was a passionate advocate for his writers, a generous colleague, and mentor who delighted in the success of his younger associates.
Starting in 1998, he spent his summers in northwestern Montana and lived there full-time starting in 2002, where he embraced and was embraced by a community of friends and neighbors. He loved and backed them; they defended him as “their Commie.” He was also known as “Rog Obama.” Toward the end of his life, his health, happiness, and comfort were tenderly cared for by his many friends in Condon.
He is predeceased by his parents, Yves and Harry Donald; and his wife, Diana van der Vlis Donald. He is survived by his devoted children, Adrienne (Martha) and Matthew (Gina) of New York City, as well as his grandsons, Jack and Nicholas; his brother, Jonathan (Bodil) of Coeymans Hollow, New York; his beloved companion, Rachel Vielleux of Missoula; a large extended family and countless friends across the country and around the world.
Roger’s gifts for love, friendship, wit, laughter, and story-telling enthralled and sustained his family, friends, neighbors and colleagues; and turned strangers into welcome members of his world. His profound generosity expressed his big-hearted belief in, and commitment to, others and their dreams.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the QRU in Condon; or take an old friend out for a drink. A celebration of his life will take place at the Hungry Bear in Condon in November and another will be held in December in New York. For details, please contact the family.