Emmett Rockwell Donohue

Emmett Rockwell Donohue quietly passed away at his home in Dolores on June 24, 2012, surrounded by family.

Emmett was born Jan. 3, 1924 in Petaluma, Calif.

He graduated from high school in Iowa. After graduation he returned to La Mesa, Calif. and worked in a grocery store.

Because of WWII, the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) was hiring 18 year-old full time employees. In February of 1942 he began his lifelong career as a fireman with the CDF. In 1943 his career was put on hold to serve in the U.S. Navy as a gunner’s mate 2nd class on merchant ships in the Pacific. He was discharged in 1945 and returned to the CDF as a Forest Fire Foreman. In January 1948, he was promoted to Ranger I, one of the youngest in the state.

Emmett worked his entire CDF career in San Diego County, the majority of it in the Julian Ranger District, but he fought fires all over California. He was known for being a dedicated employee and a hard worker with his superior stamina. Very few could keep up with him during a hike or walking the fireline. In fact, he did not like to fly in helicopters, but on one lightning strike fire in the mountains he did fly in, but insisted on walking out afterwards.Emmett always carried a diary and wrote in it daily. He was known to enforce and follow policies and rules as written. He would stand up for any of his employees and their rights if he believed they were justified. He did not take excuses from anyone over their work assignments or other duties and he would never ask his employees to do something that he would not do himself. He always met everyone with a smile and was faithful to friends, co-workers and others, loaning tools or a helping hand in time of need just because he could. He was blessed with great wisdom, knowledge, being honest in all situations and a man well-respected.

Emmett retired after 37 years with CDF and moved to Colorado where he and wife, Zoa Ann, remodeled two old houses, one in Silverton and the other in Dolores. Together they enjoyed their mutual hobby of yardsale-ing.

Emmett was also a great husband, father, father-in-law, grandpa and great-grandpa. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Zoa Ann; daughters, Gail (Ralph) Klusman of Ignacio, Kathryn (Ron) Serabia of Ramona, Calif., Jane Neisler of Elko, Nev.; son, Dale (Diana) Donohue of Dolores; brother, Colonel Frederick (Patricia) Donohue (ret.) of Melbourne, Fla.; sister-in-law, Pat Donohue of Salinas, Calif.; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and by many nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his father Emmett I, who passed away in a car accident in 1931; his mother, Doris; brother, Jim Donohue; sister, Joanne Watson; and by his grandson, Kevin Donohue.

No services are planned.