Donald W. Jonas

February 25, 1931




Donald W. Jonas passed away in his sleep early Sunday morning, May 27, 2018. He had been in declining health over a period of months but was able to spend a lot of time with his family and friends. A party in his honor, which he emphasized was not to be a memorial, will occur on July 21, 2018. Entombment at Tulocay Cemetery was private.

Donald first discovered the Napa Valley as an adolescent during World War II when his mother worked at Mare Island Shipyard. After the war, the family returned to South Dakota. Donald, married and with a child on the way, returned to Napa Valley in 1951, working as a carpenter. In the late 1950’s he became a building inspector for the City of Napa and then later, Codes administrator for the County of Napa. When he retired from the public sector, Donald partnered in a construction / development company started earlier by two of his sons.

Donald was always working on something. There were a series of custom homes built on weekends. Each one lived in while the next was built. He hand-drew the plans for his latest project, which ironically, was still in plan check at the County of Napa when he passed.

He worked on the campaign to provide civil service protections to City of Napa employees. He loved to ballroom dance and when much younger, had a group of friends who gathered for lessons. Earlier in his retirement he enjoyed extended trips with his wife Diane in their fifth wheel. He enjoyed playing cards with family and friends. He seldom missed an opportunity to visit a casino and was luckier than most.

Donald is survived by his wife, Diane Lawley Jonas, his brother Carl Jonas, his sister Lucille Weiberg, sons Daniel Jonas (Adrianne), Dick Jonas (Marianne), Chris Jonas (Anela), step-children, Rick Lawley (Tess), Michael Lawley (Lisa), Desiree Brown (Lee), and Ronald DePaul (Sue), eleven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

The family thanks the physicians, nurses, physical therapists, housekeeping and everyone else who tenderly touched Donald’s life over the past few months. We thank Queen of the Valley Hospital for excellent care. A special thanks to Collabria Hospice for all the big, little and even surprising things that made it easier for Donald and his family. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Collabria Hospice and Queen of the Valley Foundation.




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