Robert Hart Donnell


News Democrat Journal, October 5, 2005

Last of Original JMH Staff Doctors Dies: Dr. R. H. Donnell, believed to be the last surviving original staff physician at Jefferson Memorial Hospital, died Sept. 27, 2005, at his home in south St. Louis County. He was 93 and formerly lived in Crystal City. A radiologist, Dr. Donnell was on staff when the hospital opened May 15, 1957. He also maintained a private practice on Mississippi Avenue in Crystal City. In addition, he served as a company physician for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. in Crystal City for more than 50 years.


Dr. Donnell was born in a log cabin on March 18, 1912, at Sandy Creek in rural Jefferson County to the late Grace E. (Adams) and Robert Hart Donnell. He graduated from Festus High School in 1929, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and his medical degree from Washington University in 1936 due to the generosity and encouragement of his teacher and mentor, Zoe Booth Rutledge. Dr. Donnell served in World War II in England, working in an Army facility that treated soldiers returning from D-Day and other European operations. He married Evelyn (removed by family request) in 1947. They recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. They had five sons.


Roy Burnside, the longest serving member of the board of directors at JMH, remembered Dr. Donnell as a hard working physician. Burnside ran ambulance calls for Vinyard's Funeral Home in the days before Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District was formed. "I'd come out there at night after an ambulance trip and Dr. Donnell would be out there at 10 or 11 at night," Burnside said. "He always cared about his patients." He remembered Dr. Donnell as an impeccable dresser, even after a 12 or 14 hour day. "He was very neat, very polite with everybody," Burnside said. "He had an unusual sense of humor, very dry. He and that group of doctors kept that hospital going in the early days. He was very dedicated to that hospital."


Dr. Donnell was an avid Cardinals fan, an amateur photographer and pilot. He enjoyed working in his yard and workshop of his Crystal City home, where he lived for 47 years.


Jefferson County Leader, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005

R. Hart Donnell, M.D. 93, South St. Louis County, formerly of Crystal City, died Sept. 27, 2005 at Delmar Gardens South. He was born March 18, 1912, in Sandy, MO, the son of Robert Hart and Grace (Adams) Donnell. He was a physician, radiologist and company physician for PPG Industries for more than 50 years. He was a founding member of the American College of Radiologists, the American Medical Association, and a 50-year member of the Missouri State Medical Society. He was a Mason, a member of Festus-Crystal City Lions Club and the recipient of Festus High School Hall of Fame in 1996. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. He was a member of the First Methodist Church of Festus-Crystal City.


He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Evelyn (removed by family request) Donnell; five sons, Robert Hart (Martine) Donnell III of San Diego and Bordeaux, France, James H. (Nancy) Donnell, M.D., of St. Louis, Richard J. (Jennifer) Donnell of San Diego, David W. Donnell of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Brian C. (Amy) Donnell of Lyons, Colo.; his sister Mona Forrest of St. Louis; his brother, Oren (Loretta) Donnell of Wichita, Kan; four grandchildren, Justin, Allison, Forrest, and Giovanna Donnell; and his niece Donna (Dick) Panchot of Hillsboro. He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother-in-law, Everett Forrest. Interment is in Rose Lawn Memorial Gardens