John Y. Donaldson, MD
March 26, 1940 – October 30, 2020
Dr. John Y. Donaldson was a native of Lincoln, NE. An award-winning psychiatrist, John’s life was focused on helping others.
Dr. Donaldson became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14, was a National Merit semi-finalist and a senior class speaker for the Lincoln High class of 1958. He attended Harvard University (1958-60), graduated from UNL in 1963, and in 1966 graduated from UNMC, where he received an award from the National Foundation for best senior thesis. He interned at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln (1966-67) and was trained in both general and child psychiatry at UNMC (1967-71). He served as the Director of Child and Adolescent Services at the Lincoln Regional Center, where he became President of the medical staff in 1972.
Interested in research, he accepted appointments as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UNMC and Director of Children’s Services at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute. In 1977, he was promoted to Associate Professor and became the Director of Child and Adolescent Services at NPI, continuing in that role until entering private practice in 1980. While at NPI, he trained child psychiatrists as well as many general psychiatry residents in child psychiatry. He continued as a volunteer faculty member as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry until his retirement.
Throughout his career, he treated thousands of patients, first children and later also adults. While in private practice, he served on the staff at Immanuel Medical Center and later at the Richard Young Hospital. He served as Department Chair (Methodist Richard Young), President of the Medical Staff, and later Medical Director of the Richard Young Center. He continued his private practice until 2008.
For over 20 years, Dr. Donaldson regularly served patients at the Montclair Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and at QLI in a consulting role. He was active in the Nebraska Psychiatric Society for over 40 years, where he served at various times as Continuing Education Chairman, President, Insurance Chair, Ethics Chair, Representative to the Assembly of District Branches, and Treasurer. Since 1980, he was active in the Chi Club, the Alumni Association of the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, where he served as President in the early 1980s and Treasurer (1991-2019).
In 2014, Dr. Donaldson received the prestigious Frank J. Menolascino Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his years of service to the cognitively impaired. He was also awarded the Nebraska Psychiatric Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, QLI presented him the Award of Excellence for dedication to protecting dignity, instilling purpose, and creating hope for the individuals and families served.
He is survived by his loving wife, Linda, stepbrother Jim Lincoln, and children, Shannon (David), Anders (Emelia), Mike, and Sara (Michael), and seven grandchildren, Madison, Lillian, and Owen (Shannon), and Espen, Barrett, Ruby and Lila (Anders).
Dr. Donaldson’s legacy will live on through his family, his colleagues, his friends, and his thousands of patients.
“Our souls were one, if you must know and never shall they be apart. With splendid dawn, your face aglow, I reach for you and find my heart.” ~ Unknown.
A private family service will be held at the West Center Chapel of Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler. In lieu of flowers, suggested memorials include the University of Nebraska Foundation, QLI, the Chi Club, or the Parkinson’s Foundation.