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This memorial website was created in memory of Dr. Thomas Joseph Donner. Tom was an exceptional person - husband, father, opa, mentor, and friend to many. Professionally, Tom had a number of jobs, starting with paper route as a boy and ending as an Attorney. However, he dedicated the majority of his professional life to Santa Monica College as the business manager, vice-president and president. He sadly lost his battle with mantle cell lymphoma on January 21, 2021. He is survived by his wife Renate, sister Marianne, son Alex, daughter-in-law Amanda, and granddaughter Emilia.

Thank you to everyone who has written cards, posted tributes and memories, called and emailed. Your concern, stories, and love is greatly appreciated.
February 5, 2021
February 5, 2021
Tom was the most gentle, patient and loving man that I knew.
He never lost his cool and always made you feel very welcome.
When we were talking about a subject ( Tom was an expert in) he would always make sure that you understood the process and solution.
He will be missed.
Hugs to Renate and Alex, Amanda and Emilia
February 3, 2021
February 3, 2021
Tom was more than a friend to the Zamora family. He was always there no matter what to so graciously lend a helping hand. Although he was quiet, he was such a strong and mighty man. A true inspiration! We will forever be grateful. Gone but never forgotten by the Zamora family. 
January 31, 2021
January 31, 2021
I worked with Tom at SMC for over 30 years and directly for him for over 20 of those years. I even added a few more years working in the law office after we both left SMC. Tom was a great boss and an even greater friend. In all the time I worked with him, he never let a day go by without a smiling greeting and a thank you at the end of the day. No one who worked for Tom in any capacity was ever treated like a subordinate. We were team members working toward Tom's ultimate goal of contributing to student success and making SMC the best it could be. His respect and gentle caring for people continued to shine in his law practice. I watched him help people preserve assets for future generations, teach them to understand complex legal and tax issues, mentor them to successfully start and continue the businesses of their dreams, and guide some of us through grief and loss.

"Nothing is ever wholly lost. That which is excellent remains forever a part of this Universe." R. W. Emerson

Tom's legacy is deep and will always be with those of us lucky enough to know him.
January 30, 2021
January 30, 2021
I miss our old friend, Dontor.
We knew each other since 8th grade.
January 30, 2021
January 30, 2021

These two things I have always counted on whenever I was in his company. I felt them to be hallmarks of his person. My mom would have call them the stuff he was made of. Because of these internal qualities, they could not help but flesh themselves out in the giving of himself in his talents and skills to those who by the providence of God came in contact with him. In this world that has come once again to a fever pitched unbridled anger and self-centeredness and are the risen and overflowing tide, kindness and an admirable character is a hope that maybe more of us will find them something we want to aspire to. I will miss the presence of my dear friend on this earth. His departure is keenly felt. All my love to you Renate`, Alexander, Amanda, and Emilia.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
Many wonderful memories of Tom...we will miss him! The laughing, debating, playing chess, hanging out.....always smiling and attentive with something intelligent or challenging to insert. Although a gentle kind man for sure, a fond memory that has stayed with me since ~1970ish is of.....5 of us rather burly fiends (young men then) trying to take Tom down (in fun) and hold him down.....after about 30 minutes of labored intensity to this end, we could not do it, and gave up. We were all rolling on the ground, laughing but amazed at his strength, perseverance, and stamina. A good, kind, and always welcoming soul for sure, we will be ever grateful to have shared some of this realm with Tom. Peace and Love Tom
Jerry and Nancy Hansen
January 28, 2021
January 28, 2021
I was blessed to know Tom. In his presence, everything else faded into the background and a sacred space of quiet, deep contemplation reigned. I valued my time with him. He regarded every question thoughtfully and it was fun to pose questions and wait for the inevitably brilliant answer as he dove into his depths to pull it out. It was kind of like consulting the Great Zoltar! A question was posed, a churning took place and VOILA, delivery! He was a true deep thinker and kind beyond words and generous with his time, perspective and heart. He used his skills to help people that really needed it, offering services and understanding that was crucial and a rare commodity.  I will miss seeing him but am forever grateful for his tutelage and example. We lost a good one and there is a big hole in the hearts and lives of all who knew him. My heart goes out to Renate, Alex, Amanda and Emilia. He was the best of the best. We should all aspire to be more like him. 
January 27, 2021
January 27, 2021
I am very sad to be writing this, while also feeling very lucky to have known such an intelligent, kind and thoughtful man. Never panicked and always deeply thinking out the right chess moves to overcome the next hurdle, is how it appeared when watching or speaking to Tom. He had this great calmness that always made you feel the right solution was being mentally constructed. This was sometimes interrupted by his smile, as a funny comment or joke pop into his mind. His smile before the joke always gave away his excitement at being able to bring humor and happiness. I was very lucky to have been helped and guided through life’s challenges by someone as kind and knowledgeable. I will miss the deep conversations, but appreciate that I got to have them with such a man. Hopefully there are more men like Tom, the world would be a better place if there were.
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Recent Tributes
April 18
April 18
Dear Tom, We’re remembering you this week-especially around the time of your birthday! I smile when I recall that the senior SMC administrators called you “young Tom.” That’s because you were so young to be the newly hired Business Manager! You excelled, of course!
April 18
April 18
Belated happy earthly birthday to you, Tom. Still missing you. Anna& Tom
Recent stories
February 10, 2021
I met Tom when we were cooks in the U S Army reserve at Fort Mac Arthur in the 1970s. We became close friends and whenever we had leave from Summer Camp, we travelled the State in his Corvair Van which spewed copious amounts of smoke. We shared a love of Skiing, and we soon co owned a trailer in Mammoth Lakes where we spent most winter weekends. He was intelligent and had a great sense of humor.
Through the years I met his friends from San Juan and through this I met the love of my life, my wife Amy.
Tom was a friend when you needed a friend. I could always count on him for sound advice and he had an exceptional sense of what was right and what was wrong. He will be missed.

60 years

January 30, 2021
Tom and I met at the Old Mission Capistrano Mission school.
 He beat me in a debate where he yook Nixon's side and I Kennedy. Donter was always good at the Donner Run Around.
We went to Mater Dei together for four years. We rode the bus both ways. Until Mike managed to get us kicked off the bus {I groveled my way back, for fear of wits my father would do}, but Tom was never in trouble. Unlike Cordell.
One night, Tom was on a date at the theatre in San Clememte.We were probably 18 0r 19.
OF course, because I am blameless of any transgressions the four of us were engaged in, it was all Cordell's fault.
Cordell had a gas siphon in his car and we accidentally siphoned all the gas from Tom" Austin Healy.We waited to see  whether Tom would runout of gas and the p[olice showed up. The cop realized it was a prank and we were set free, but Cordell had to put the gas back in tom's car.
Then there was the time tho four of us went to Mexico, Cabo San Lucas. We rented a house and TOM and I regularly defeated Mike and Cordell in sand volleyball. Lucky not to arrested there by DEA; Mike was being surveilled, he thinks.
The olympics. Tom and I v Mike and Cordell.In the final competition, I crashed into Tom in the last lap of the 440.
We went ass over teakettle
Cordell was chortling and running the track to defeat us.Tom pick ed up the  baton and ran across the football field to throw the stick and it hit Cordell. on the ass.
Tom and I spent a lot of time at T Street.
It was fun for 60 years.I will miss Tom.

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