William Robert Donald Jr. (Nov 26, 1947 – March 18, 2017) “Bill”, “Billy”, “Glouker”, “Mr. Donald”, “Dad” and “Poppy” was surrounded by his loving family when he passed away on Saturday morning, March 18th at 4 a.m. in his home. Sadly, his death occurred suddenly only 2 days before celebrating his 50th Anniversary with his loving and devoted wife, Barbara.
Mr. Bill Donald, Recipient of two N.J. Governor’s Awards for his contribution to Theatre Education, has left behind hundreds of theatre students who have carried on Bill’s legacy in their lives and professional careers. A career educator, Bill has devoted himself to theatre education and advocacy for arts education in the state of NJ for 35 years.
William Robert Donald Jr. was born to Elizabeth Ann Boyle and William Robert Donald Sr. on Nov. 26, 1947, in Philadelphia, Pa. He grew up in Jersey City and Brick Township, NJ with his sisters Linda and Diane, and brother Bobby.
Billy was a feisty and cocky high school actor at Brick Township High School. He met Barbara in their school choir, fell in love, and secretly eloped to Maryland on March 20, 1967. Two years later, he welcomed his first daughter, Stephanie Lynn, in 1969, and earned his BFA from Ohio University. Also in 1969, Bill started his teaching career in Pikesville, Maryland, where his second daughter, Faith Ann, was born in 1971. Mr. Donald received his Mass. in Theatre Arts at Penn State University in 1974, and moved his young family to Pennsville, NJ. For 14 years, from 1972 to 1985, Bill Donald taught theatre at Salem High School in nearby Salem, NJ. In Salem, under Bill’s leadership, theatre became such a popular and well-respected program that Bill expanded his offerings by creating Oakwood Summer Theatre in 1980. During this time, Bill welcomed his 3rd daughter, Miriam Andrea. As children, Stephanie, Faith, Miriam and Barbara were very active members of Oakwood until 1985, when Bill moved the family north to Sussex County to begin teaching theatre at Vernon Township High School. In Vernon, his high school program won state theatre competitions repeatedly. He became active with state level theatre education advocacy, helping to write the arts curriculum as well as fighting for the arts to be a graduation requirement. Mr. Donald began doctoral coursework at Rutgers University and completed his PhD in Arts Education & Creative Development from Breyer State University in 2004, and became newly minted as Dr. William R. Donald Jr., PhD. As Dr. Donald, he worked for 4 years as the Supervisor for the Arts at Teaneck City Schools where he developed Arts Academies in the high schools.
William is survived by his wife, Barbara Antoinette Donald; 3 daughters, Stephanie Lynn, Faith Ann and Miriam Andrea; and 6 grandchildren, Paige Ashlyn Ziegler, Morgan Amanda Ziegler, Noah Donald Gray, Darios James Hartlage, Clark Sebastian Burrows and Cordelia Quinn Burrows. Bill also leaves behind his sister, Diane Donald Edgar, and his brother, Robert Donald.
Dr. Bill Donald taught hundreds of students and directed hundreds of plays and musicals. He is a beloved teacher and deeply loved husband, father and grandfather who is profoundly missed by his family. The Donald family is comforted to know that Bill’s theatre students will continue to keep Bill Donald and his prodigious legacy alive.
Relatives and friends will be received on Friday March 24th from 4-8 p.m. at the Ferguson-Vernon Funeral Home 241 Rt. 94 , Vernon, NJ (GPS use 1 Vanderhoof Court), and are invited to attend services on Saturday March 25 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Counselor Lutheran Church 68 Sand Hill Rd, Sussex (Vernon Twp.), NJ. Cremation services are private. In lieu of flowers, donations to www.youcaring.com/scholarshipforthearts-779319, for condolences and directions please see www.fergusonfuneralhomesnj.com.