Joseph “Joe” Tyrone Donatto, age 78, passed on May 5, 2021, in Fresno, Texas, following a brief illness. Joseph was born in Liberty (Ames), Texas, on July 21, 1942, to Freddie M. Donatto and Ora A. Geary.
Joseph attended high school at Woodson High, Raywood, Texas, graduating in 1960. He completed three years of college at Prairie View A&M University and an additional year at Texas Southern University. Joseph received recognition while at Prairie View for marksmanship. His interest in electronics led to completion of study at the Elkins Institute, Houston, Texas. Upon completing training, he worked at the local radio station, KPXE in Liberty, Texas. Soon, Joseph was employed by Decca Navigation of London, installing electronic equipment in Texas, Louisiana and Maryland. He was employed by Mississippi Chemical and Gearhart Industries in Liberty, Texas.
Joseph was a political activist. In 1972, he was elected the first mayor of Ames, Texas, and was re-elected for a second consecutive term in 1974. He was a charter member of the Ames Civic League and a member of the Civil Air Patrol.
Joe enjoyed fishing with a line and a bow, hunting, growing roses, and inventing. Some of his famous sayings were “it is never the wrong time to do the right thing,” “you’re not ready until you get in the car,” and “it is what it is.” He could visualize, design, and construct things through carpentry, welding, cultivation, and engineering. He was a private pilot for several years.
Joseph opened an electronic repair shop in Ames, Texas and in Liberty, Texas. As computers became popular, he began an intense study of various applications for their use.
Joseph is preceded in death by his parents Freddie and Ora Donatto, his sister Mary Margaret Donatto, a nephew Kevin Michael, and spouses Addie DeBlanc, Jo Ann Paul, and Angel-Lee Miller.
Joseph is survived by his first wife, Valencia, their children, Anita, Victor (Tonya), and Danielle (Roderick) and Nicole, daughter of second wife, Addie. Grandchildren: Simone, TaNia, Josephine, Adam, Nailah, Antonia, Freddie, and Nicolas; Great-grandchildren: Quintin, Quenell, Logan, and Nova, Nephew, Scott (Michelle) and a host of relatives and friends.
Joseph was a natural-born scientist and proponent of education through and through, even in preparation for his departure from this world. In alignment with his wishes for many years, his earthly remains have been donated to the UTMB Willed Body Program and will contribute to the advancement of medical science and to the education of students and physicians.
A memorial celebration will be held July 24, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. at Langtree Retreat & Eco Center, 2825 C. Rd. 190, Liberty, TX 77575.
Special thanks to Jamaal Natt and family for the incredible support given to Joseph during his final years.
In lieu of plants or flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice.