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William "Bill" Jan Donakowski
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Obituary for William "Bill" Jan Donakowski

Donakowski, William Jan, age 61, of El Sobrante, California passed away on October 15, 2017.

Born in Flint, Michigan Bill grew up in Dearborn Heights. He attended Riverside High School and the University of Michigan. He excelled in athletics and academics. Bill was All-State in track and cross country. He graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in architecture and engineering. As a distance runner at Michigan he was the 1977 Big Ten cross country champion, captain of the track team, and won multiple All American honors. Bill worked for Rockwell International and the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, designing instruments and payload compartments for NASA satellites. While immersed in his aerospace career, he continued running and was the US Marathon champ in 1986 (Twin Cities Marathon, 2:10:41).

Bill also invented a hubless caster and a linear actuator, for which he received utility patents in the US and China.

Through his many accomplishments, Bill was always a humble gentleman who was gracious to all.

Brother of Timothy, Margaret, Mark, Gerard, and Donna. Preceded in death by parents (William and Jane).

Visitation Potere-Modetz Funeral Home, 339 Walnut Blvd, Rochester, Michigan, on Friday, October 20th 2-8 PM (Scripture service at 7 PM). Funeral Mass at St Andrew's Catholic Church, 1400 Inglewood Ave, Rochester, Michigan, Saturday, October 21st, Noon (Instate at 11:30 AM). Interment St. Patrick Calvary Cemetery, Brighton, Michigan.

Donations preferred to St. Andrew's Homebound Ministry.

Previous Events





2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home

339 Walnut Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48307

Scripture Service




7:00 PM
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home

339 Walnut Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48307

Funeral Mass




12:00 PM
St. Andrew Catholic Church

1400 Inglewood
Rochester, MI 48307

Instate begins at 11:30 a.m.

Cemetery Details


St. Patrick Calvary Cemetery

Brighton Lake Rd & Adams St.
Brighton, MI 48116

Memorial Contribution

St. Andrew Homebound Ministry

Please make checks payable to: St. Andrew- in the memo line please designate homebound ministry

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