Don Dorward
Donald Frederick Dorward
  • 82 years old
  • Date of birth: Sep 23, 1931
  • Place of birth:
    San Francisco, California, United States
  • Date of passing: Aug 6, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Oakland, California, United States
It Don't Matter

September 23, 1931- August 6, 2014

Donald Frederick Dorward, age 82, passed away peacefully in his Oakland, California residence on August 6, 2014.

Don was the son of Frederick and Gladys Dorward, and brother of JaneAnn Dorward Dow, all of who predeceased him. A native of San Francisco, Don grew up in Piedmont and graduated from Piedmont High School. He then entered the University of California, Berkeley where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated with a Bachelors degree in business in 1955. Don served as a Corpsman in the United States Coast Guard during the Korean War.

Don spent the first seven years of his business career at Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, where he rose to the position of Director of Advertising and Public Relations at age 30. He then founded Allen and Dorward, a San Francisco based advertising agency with his business partner Francis Allen. As President and CEO, Don built the company to be the largest independently owned advertising agency on the west coast. 

Don Dorward served on many corporate boards including Charles Schwab, 24 Hour Fitness, and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and was active throughout his life in many other professional and charitable organizations. He served as Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization and World Presidents Organization, as well as President of the Claremont Country Club and the San Francisco Fly Casting Club. He held leadership positions with a variety of advertising industry organizations including the American Association of Advertising Agencies and AMIN, an international organization of independent advertising agencies. In addition, he was a member of Spyglass Hill Country Club, the Outrigger Canoe Club, the St. Francis Yacht Club and The Bohemian Club. Don’s charity work included The U.C. Berkeley Foundation and the Shriners and for forty years Don hosted a charity golf tournament that benefited the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Children’s Hospital. 

Don was an avid golfer and sportsman.  A supporter of Cal Athletics and an avid fan of the 49ers and the Giants, he was a 49er season ticket holder from the early days of Kezar Stadium. 

Don is survived by Nan White, his partner of fifteen years and his five children, Mary Anne Dorward (husband Rupert Webb), John, Steven (wife Toni), and Charles, Christopher (wife Holly). His son, Robert C. Dorward predeceased him. Don is also survived by five grandchildren, Sarah and Joshua Schenkkan and Bobby, Emily and Katheryn Dorward.

Nothing was more important to Don than his family and friends. His network was far reaching and the personal impact he had on the lives he touched was immeasurable.

At Don’s specific request, a small family memorial service has already taken place. The family will be hosting a gathering of friends to celebrate his life. Specific details for this gathering will be announced at a later date. 

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, Fl 33607

Or the Oak Tree Foundation at Claremont Country Club 


Due to unforeseen circumstances the party celebrating Don’s life has been postponed. Please help spread this information.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by kent dorwin on 23rd September 2016

"Don was my friend, mentor  and frequent source of advice and help. I am indebted to him for many things and am proud to honor him again. God Bless this truly great guy !!          Kent Dorwin"

This tribute was added by liz russell jordan on 6th August 2016

"Aloha Don Missing you very much! I am reminded of you often and miss your words of wisdom, great laugh and big smile. Sending love and light to you and your children on this anniversary of your passing. With love and aloha, Elizabeth Russell Jordan"

This tribute was added by kent dorwin on 6th August 2015

"Don was a great friend, leader and Brand Marketer who taught me a lot ! He built a superior firm in Allen & Dorward and maintained his Independence. I shall forever be indebted to him for his guidance and help. A terrific person !                        Kent D."

This tribute was added by liz russell jordan on 6th August 2015

"Remembering all the fun, laughter and words of wisdom. Sending love to the family as we honor Don. Forever in our hearts ...

Aloha, Elizabeth"

This tribute was added by kent dorwin on 14th June 2015

"Don was one of the great people in my life ! He was a friend, teacher, confidant and fellow Niner loyalist. He taught me the art of Brand Positioning and helped shape my career. Happily, I was able to help him when he formed Allen& Dorward. I shall be forever thankful for his friendship and guidance. He was simply THE BEST !!          Kent Dorwin"

This tribute was added by rex allen on 22nd September 2014

"Don was one of the greatest guys one could ever meet...Unbounded energy, even at an advanced age, and a guy who would do anything for you. His love of jazz and jazz musicians touched me deeply, and his support for greats like Vernon Alley and others in Bohemia will be sorely missed.
Rex Allen"

This tribute was added by Elizabeth Ingebretsen on 18th August 2014

"I am certain Don is now sharing new jokes with my grandfather, Ben Brundage, upstairs at the bar after a round of golf. Rest in peace."

This tribute was added by Kathleen Reynolds on 17th August 2014

"I am so sad for all of you.

I had the pleasure of working at Allen & Dorward in the early eighties. Don provided a wonderful, intense and caring workplace.  He also enjoyed hosting many high-spirited and fun events for his employees.  One such gathering was an Allen & Dorward Christmas Party held at the Claremont Country Club.  I wore my grandmother's mink jacket and as I stood at the bar saying my "goodbyes", the jacket caught Don's mother's eye.  Gladys tried it on and wondered aloud if she could keep it.  Everyone had a great chuckle over that!

Don was a delightful, generous man.  I will remember him fondly.  My prayers and warmest condolences go out to his loving family.  

Kathleen Reynolds"

This tribute was added by Randolph leathers on 17th August 2014

"My family and I were neighbors of Don's up at The Northshore for many years. We shared a love of Tahoe, boating, and a good cocktail on the deck every evening! I will always remember his smiling face and wonderfully outgoing personality. It was infectious and you always felt better about life after spending time with Don! Mary Anne, Chris et al, please accept our sincere condolences! Your Dad was special and will be missed!!! Randy, Missy, Rand, Sarah, and Ashleigh Leathers."

This tribute was added by scott swimley on 17th August 2014

"My prayers go out to all of you.  
Don was truly one of a kind. My mentor, confidant, counselor, and friend.  He always made me feel better about myself, my life, and taught me to live each day to the max and without regret.  He will be missed.  He will always fill a part of my day with fond memories."

This tribute was added by liz russell jordan on 15th August 2014

"Dear Family and Friends-
My heart aches for the loss of a legacy. Don Dorward will never be forgotten. He will live on through his children, grand children and with the memories he left us all. Words can't describe the feelings of loss. Big warm hugs to you all.
With love, admiration and tons of Aloha, Elizabeth Russell Jordan"

This tribute was added by Mary Beth R on 15th August 2014

"Mary Anne, No more beautiful words have ever been spoken. Sending you a hug. MB"

This tribute was added by Barbara Fetherston on 15th August 2014

"Dear Mary Anne, John, Steve, Christopher, and especially Nan,
Jim and I knew Don for 33 years.  Christopher and our daughter, Erin, were the same age and played together when they were young.  We attended church, enjoyed golf, YPO/WPO, and endless conversations and laughter with Don.  He was one of a kind, there will never be another.  
Our thoughts and prayers are with you,
Barbara Fetherston"

This tribute was added by Mary Anne Dorward on 15th August 2014

"My father had a famous saying: "Don't let the Old Man (Death) in." The way he did that was to NEVER talk about any weakness, illness or pain. My dad was not one for pity or comfort or even help unless it was finishing a great story, a bottle of wine or smoking a big cigar.

I almost always found out that my Dad had come through any health scare or problem after the fact. When I would complain that I could have helped or been of comfort and support to him, he would say,

"I'm not a complainer or a quitter and I didn't want your help. Christ Mary Anne, really, it was nothing. Don't get all emotional on me. I didn't want to bother you with it. As you know I'd rather be out playing golf or on the river fishing than dealing with health crap."

I share this fact to comfort any of you who might not have known that he had been sick with cancer and getting his butt kicked in chemo in recent months and surgery two weeks ago. I didn't even know and I'm his only daughter.

So I know many people are grieving right now, not just me. I thought, in effort to comfort you all, I would share with you my final email exchange with my father just a few days before he died. The subject line was, "I read this and totally thought of you."

At the time I wrote it to my Dad, I didn't know that he would have a heart attack and die only a few days later. At the time I wrote it, I did not know that he not be around for one more piece of his famous barbecue chicken which had a sauce that he and I created together when I was a little girl, I did not know that he would not be around for one last glass of great wine from his amazing wine cellar, or one last "Final Final" of his beloved Irish Coffees.

"Hi Dad,
I read this today and totally thought of you.
Love and XOX

Mary Anne


At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they 
will always travel on our side; however, at some station our parents 
will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time 
goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be 
significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of 
your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others 
will go so unnoticed; that we do not realize that they vacated their 
seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, 
expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of 
having a good relationship with all passengers requiring; that we give 
the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves 
will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and 
offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when 
the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should 
leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on 
the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give 
lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I 
thank you for being one of the passengers on my train."

My fathers response to this was:

Thanks- very nice!



So in the end, these were my last words to my father, Don Dorward, and his in return to me. I loved my father dearly, as I know all of you who knew him did.

I am deeply grateful to Nan White, who was his companion and love for his last fifteen years. When I saw my Dad last, he told me that he had waited his whole life for Nan and I know he flourished in her great company and from her amazing cooking. My father would have been dead a long time ago if it hadn't been for Nan.

So, in closing, I am grateful to my Dad for all the fun times and all that I also learned from him, as I know all of you are. I hope that wherever he has gone now, he is having a big party with my dear brother and his beloved son, Bob (affectionately known as Bobby D to many) and his mother Gladys (affectionately known to all as Glady.)

I hope you all will raise a "Final Final" glass of your favorite wine or cocktail to my father, Donald F Dorward and sit around for awhile telling your most favorite stories of him. He was a Giant of a man. No one will ever fill his shoes.

With Love and Gratitude to you all of you whom he loved,

Mary Anne Dorward

This tribute was added by Mary Beth R on 15th August 2014

"Mary Anne, John, Steve & Christopher, I am heartbroken. I am so sorry. My heart is with each one of you. Love, Mary Beth"

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This memorial is administered by:

Christopher Dorward


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