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He was raised in Elkader, Iowa, a small farming community in northeast Iowa. He was a fourth generation Iowan of Irish-German heritage, who always felt that he had a wonderful childhood growing up in Iowa.
After graduating from high school in 1955, he served in the U.S. Navy until 1958. He earned an M.D from the University of Iowa in 1965. Upon finishing his medical internship at the Santa Clara County Hospital in San Jos CA, he completed a psychiatric residency at the Lafayette Clinic of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
In 1970 he, his wife Patti, and son, San, moved to Davis when he joined the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California Davis and became a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. He then founded Psychiatric Associates and Consultants of Sacramento Valley with former University colleagues.
In 1992, preferring to work closer to home, he moved his practice to Davis. With his wife, Patti, who managed the office, they worked together until his illness and treatment forced him into early retirement in December, 2007.
Pats interests included reading, traveling, classical music, performances at the Mondavi Center, casual portrait photography, technology, spending time with friends He was an ardent UCD Aggie sports fan. He frequently said that his proudest life achievements were being the husband of Patti Pederson Donlon, who survives him in Davis, and father of son, San Burton Donlon, who lives in Bangkok, Thailand.
He was preceded in death by his father (1986), a sister (1995), and his mother (2000). In addition to his son and wife of 43 years, Patrick is survived by his sister, Linda Young, of Iowa City, Iowa, and nieces, nephews, and cousins, all of whom live in Iowa. Patricks family of origin was replete with physicians, Roman Catholic priests and farmers. He frequently commented that those were the only professions from which he was allowed to choose a career.
At his request there will be no memorial service, and burial in the Davis Cemetery will be private. Donations in his memory may be made to Yolo Hospice, PO Box 1014, Davis, CA, 95617, or the Mondavi Center, UC Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA95616-8543. Friends may call or visit the family home at any time.
Dear Patti, I was so sorry to read of Dr. Donlon's death. I worked for him at Psychiatric Associates in Sacramento years ago, and have such fond memories of him. He was a true gentleman and a fine doctor, kind, caring and compassionate with his patients and his staff. He was such a good person. I was lucky to have met him, and I will never forget him. Tracy Taylor
Tracy Taylor Dec 31 2008 12:00 AM
I was a classmate of Pat's at St. Joseph's in Elkader, from 1st through 7th grade, when my family moved away. I remember Pat as simply being the most admired member of the class - everyone looked up to him, he seemed to be able to handle anything. I never forgot him. My youngest Brother even named a stuffed doll after him! Reading his obit was the first I knew of his achievements in life after St. Joe's. I think he lived a noble life!
John McCauley Sep 14 2008 12:00 AM
Dear Patti, and Sean, Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.
apple Jul 6 2008 12:00 AM
Patrick and I enjoyed a great deal of the same things a" his love of photography, travel, reading, Classical Music and programs at the Mondavi Center. We enjoyed spending time working on the computer editing pictures that we took when we traveled together. The travel that we enjoyed together was with the CWC- Woodland Travel Group a" visiting many interesting and exotic places around the world. He also enjoyed travel alone with Patti, often with Grand Circle Travel, a company that Dair and I have used often. How I remember the New Yearaas Eve of the New Millennium, Patti & Patrick hosted a gala New Yearaas Eve Party in their home. Patrick and I were there with formal dress and we celebrated the New Year in fine style. Once, when Patti couldnaat use her Mondavi ticket to see Cambodian dancers , Patrick invited me to join him, as we had just returned from South East Asia. When he was first diagnosed with Mesothelioma, we shared references and when he settled upon a treatment protocol we rejoiced that their may be some hope for this aggressive process. I remember so clearly, having our weekly lunch break with mutual friends, when he learned that his tumor had regressed 10-25% how elated we all were. He said to me a" now we must find a cure for Parkinsonaas disease! What a loving, thoughtful thing to say! We will miss Patrick, he will remain in our and heart!
David & Dair Rausch Jun 24 2008 12:00 AM
Patti and Sean, So sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers. My dad (Pat "Butch" McDonnell) always enjoyed when Pat would come back to Iowa for a visit. Dad would tell me stories about summers he spent with his cousins growin up and many of them involved Pat. Sara
Sara McDonnell Jun 21 2008 12:00 AM
Dear Patti and Sean We're thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers. Pat will surely be missed by many. Take care of your selves!
Jim & Jane Mehlschau Jun 11 2008 12:00 AM
Dear Patti and family, Please accept my sincere condolences. You are in my prayers. Janet
Janet Martin (Clarke) Jun 9 2008 12:00 AM
Two days ago I opened your mail. I cannot still believed that Patrick is not with as. After readidng all that you said about him, it's nice to see that he did a lot of things in his life, and that the most important for him it was his married with you and yours son Sean. Talking from my heart I would like to transmitted you my more sincere and deep silence at this moment of your life, when you have to face the reality of separation from Patrick, a human been that has being with you and with commitment for a long time. Pilar Barril (Barcelona)
Pilar Barril Jun 9 2008 12:00 AM
Patti, I am stunned. You looked as serene and gracious as ever at the YMSA lunch and I just never would have guessed you were going through Patrick's last days with him. The end of such a wonderful life is a loss for everyone. No doubt you will miss him every day. I am so sorry. Thinking of you, Margo Stenson
Margo Stenson Jun 7 2008 12:00 AM
Patty and Sean, My condolences and love to you both. I have such wonderful memories of Pat. He was such a gentleman and a kind and gentle soul. Good fortunate shined on me when I met the Donlon family. Love Mary Harris
Mary Harris Jun 7 2008 12:00 AM