Dr. William Hayes Donahue couldn't walk into a restaurant, supermarket or sporting event without hearing "Doc!" shouted from across the room and receiving a firm hand shake.
He'd operated on them once, twice — maybe even three times. He'd shown them the ropes years ago when they received their first, white lab coat and blue scrubs. He'd offered a helping hand when things were difficult or money was tight.
The stories were never the same, but they were all connected by a single thread: his generosity, compassion and kindness.
He'd smile, and ask about the wife, the kids, the grandkids; how the injury had healed or how business was going. But then he'd return to his meal, his shopping or his game, always uncomfortable with the praise. He acted without want of gratitude or repayment. He acted because he genuinely cared.
So it can be said with certainty that when Bill, 82, passed away June 6 — his beloved wife of 60 years, Anne Elizabeth (Magaletta) Donahue by his side — the community lost a hero, a truly incredible soul.
He was the kind of man that couldn't be without his wife for more than a day, constantly calling for her when she was out of sight for too long. The kind of man whose wry sense of humor could send a room packed with people into a fit of laughter with a well-time comment or quip.
The kind of man who came up with loving nicknames for each of his grandchildren, spending hours patiently teaching them to ride a bike or shoot hoops.
The kind of man who would fly across the world for a child's golf tournament, across the country for a grandkid's football game.
Bill was an accomplished athlete, who attended the University of Pittsburgh on a football scholarship and St. Vincent College on a basketball scholarship. He also was an avid golfer and played minor league baseball for the New York Giants.
But no matter the sport his children and grandchildren chose — be it soccer, track or lacrosse — Bill took an interest and made an effort to come cheer them on.
Bill took care of other people's children and grandchildren, too: through anonymous donations, he made sure dozens of deserving kids could go to college and better their lives.
But it wasn't just people he loved: Bill was an animal lover to his core. He'd perform emergency surgery on dogs hit by cars, owls with broken wings and injured squirrels.
He was so instantly in love with the eight puppies his Russian Wolfhound birthed, he couldn't bear to part with a single one.
And walk into his doctor's office on any given day and you'd see at least one, if not two, dogs roaming the halls, wiggling their tails and looking for a scratch behind the ears. His little lab, Rainy Day, rarely left his side (If only restaurants let her in!).
He attended the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, soon becoming one of the first sports medicine physicians in the country. He was the first person to perform arthroscopy in Ohio and trained and mentored hundreds of physicians during his decades long career as an orthopedic surgeon. He saved countless athlete's careers as a team physician for Wright State University, Central State University, University of Dayton, Centerville, Alter and Valley View high schools and the Dayton Dynamos.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Anne; his children Debbie (Mike) McNamara, Denise Donahue Balogh, Dana (John) Bruce, Dan (Kelly) Donahue, Donna Donahue and Duke (Tina) Donahue; his grandchildren Matt (Lacey), Sean and Kylie McNamara, Nicke (Matt) Holderman, Haley and Ian Bruce, Hayes, Cooper and Montana Donahue, Alex, J and Annie Stuckey, and Jackson Donahue; and great grandchildren Sloane, Isla and Monroe McNamara.
His family will always miss that booming voice that commanded attention when he entered the room, the pointed questions about life and watching he and Anne snore in tandem on the couch.
But they'll always cling to the stories people tell when someone stops them on the street — recognizing the Donahue hair or eyes — and tells a story of what an amazing man Bill truly was.