Jesuit High Remembers Retired Teacher and Coach

Tom Donato worked at the school as a teacher and coach for 36 years before passing away earlier this week.

The community is remembering retired Spanish teacher Tom Donato who unexpectedly died earlier this week at age 63.

Donato worked at the school as a Spanish teacher and football and baseball coach for 36 years before retiring in 2007.

“Tom was a valued member of the Jesuit High School community for over 35 years and he touched the lives of many students during his tenure,” a release from the school said.

He is survived by his wife, Terri, and son, Allen.

Jesuit High School teacher Ross Evans remembers Donato as a family man who loved his students and had an incredible sense of humor.

“He loved practical jokes, but he also had a serious side,” Evans said. “He was very loyal to his friends, and as a coach, he was admired.”

Evans said Donato enjoyed his retirement and traveled often with his wife.

“His wife and son were the prize and joy of his life basically,” Evans said. “He loved his family above all else. He was a very good husband and father.”

Students remember Donato for the annual trips he took with them to Mexico, for charitable work and to sightsee.

“If you talk to a lot of alumni, that’s what they remember about Tom, are those tours,” Evans said.

Donato was a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, where he played football and baseball.

The Rosary service for Tom Donato will be on Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at Holy Spirit Church, 3159 Land Park Drive in Sacramento. The Funeral will be on Wednesday, April 4 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Church.


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David Lieb March 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Speaking of gifts, in Mr. Donato’s Spanish class around Christmas time one year, he told us we were going to have a Secret Santa gift exchange. He explained how it works: “I’m writing each of your names on a slip of paper. (I’ll put ‘Mr. D’ on one of them for me.) Then I’ll put all of them in a hat, and everyone will draw one name. Don’t tell anyone whose name you picked. Tomorrow bring in a small wrapped gift for that person with their name on it and we’ll put all the gifts in a pile. And everyone can try to guess who got them their gift. Remember, the important thing is to not tell anyone who you picked because the fun is trying to figure out who got you your gift.” So he passes around the hat with the names, and it comes to me and I draw Mr. D! So that night I spend some time picking out a gift—some nice pen or something—and I wrap it and bring it in to class the next day. I don’t remember exactly how I found out, but it turned out he had written ‘Mr. D’ on every single slip of paper. Maybe he wasn’t a “Fair Guy” this time, but he was definitely the funniest teacher I ever had. My condolences go out to his family and the Jesuit community. David Lieb ‘83 Brookline, MA
Linda Park March 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM
David LIeb, what a funny story. It really shows that Tom had a great sense of humor. It actually made me laugh out loud (literally). Thanks for sharing! I am really enjoying all these stories everyone is sharing!
Mike Nolan March 31, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I was crushed when I heard the news. I was happy that I got back in touch with him two years ago and told how grateful I was for his teaching and his friendship. He was the best teacher. Funny. Compassionate, Caring. Students looked forward to being in his class because he made it fun. I was lucky to travel on two trips to Mexico City and Colonial Mexico. These trips inspired me and gave me a love of travel. And I still am on a lifelong search for Ana Ledesma. Wherever I go in the world I always think back to these trips with him and his wife. Finally, more than a teacher, he was someone who helped me outside the classroom when I was going through some struggles in my high school and teen years. I was explaining to my son this morning what a great man he was and how there are few like him. How amazing to read the stories on facebook, sacbee, here, and through discussions with my friends. It is quite humbling and amazing to see how a such a caring and modest man has an impact on so many people. Rest in Peace, Senor Donato. The Fair Guy. Mike Nolan, JHS '82 (Hola Pedro Arellanes)
Victor Calderon April 03, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I also had Mr. Donato as a teacher while I was at Jesuit. I always remember him smiling and making learning Spanish fun for his students. Thank you fellow Marauders for sharing your memories. This is a sad loss for the Jesuit community. May God be with his family at this difficult time. -Victor Calderon, '00, Carmichael Patch editor
Victor Calderon April 05, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Rest in Peace, Fair Guy. http://carmichael.patch.com/articles/ex-jesuit-teacher-donato-remembered-for-love-of-life


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