Jan Markstaller Donnelly
October 18, 1936 – October 29, 2018
Former Rose Festival Queen Jan Markstaller Donnelly was born October 18, 1936 to Hilda Robinson Markstaller and Edward Markstaller in Portland. She died peacefully Monday, October 29, 2018 at her home in Lake Oswego, surrounded by family and loved ones. She was 82.
Raised in Portland by her mother Hilda, a real estate broker and investor, Jan developed a strong yet gracious competitive drive. Through her mother's founding of the Chin Up Club, a group that helped homebound disabled people get out to festive events several times a year, she also developed a solid moral compass as well as a desire to make a positive difference in the world.
As a young girl, Jan along with her brother Gary, became a top competitive roller skater. Together they went on to become Oregon state champions in the Junior Dance category. She was signed as a model by the Maria Easterly agency at the age of 13, and modeled steadily through her early 20s.
During her senior year at Washington High School Jan was elected as the Rose Festival princess for her school, and was subsequently chosen as Queen Jan of Rosaria in 1954. Legendary TV host Ed Sullivan was the Grand Marshal, and among her many civic duties she knighted him Sir Ed Sullivan, Knight of the Rose. She continued to have a strong presence in the Rose Festival, holding various positions over the next 60 years.
Jan went to Oregon State University for two years and then transferred to Brigham Young University where she graduated with a business degree in fashion merchandising. While at Oregon State, she met her future husband Bob Donnelly, who was a top golfer and president of the Varsity Letterman's Club.
After college she moved to the Westwood area of Los Angeles and continued her successful modeling career before moving back to Portland. Jan and Bob married October 28, 1961, and had three children, Mark, JillXan and Devin.
Jan and her brother Gary became members of the New Oregon Singers, a popular globetrotting singing group led by Bruce Kelly. During her decade with the group they recorded two albums and traveled to festivals and performances in Austria, Switzerland and Monaco, among other international locales. While in Monaco in the 60's she met Princess Grace, who accompanied the group on visits to hospitals and nursing homes in the Principality.
Jan was always active in her community, and led the successful campaign to "Save Glendoveer" Golf Course from development in the early 1970s. She was a Den Mother, PTA member and general Super Mom for her very active children.
Her hobbies included gardening, loving a multitude of dear pets over the years and long walks on Cannon Beach, her favorite vacation retreat. She took great pride in her beautiful yards, creating an outdoor landscape at her Lake Oswego home that eventually won Garden of the Year honors. As her children were growing up the Donnelly home became known as the place to take lost or hurt animals, whether a stray dog, an injured bird or anything in between. Jan received expert veterinary advice from her dear friend Matthew Mayberry, head veterinarian at the Portland Zoo for many years. She even tolerated her son Mark bringing tadpoles home and turning her backyard fountains into frog ponds.
After her children were grown she embarked upon new business endeavors. The first was a luxury home furnishings boutique in Lake Oswego called Hollyhocks and Roses with her daughter JillXan. After a successful run through the nineties, she and JillXan started CareerExposure. This ongoing network of job sites helps Fortune 500 companies and people connect, and has won multiple national awards as a woman owned business. Upon her husband Bob's death in 1999, she assumed the role of Chairman of Contact Lumber Company until the company was sold in 2003.
In her coronation speech as Rose Festival Queen in 1954, Jan shared that to her, the petals of a rose represent her core values: love, virtue, humility, charity, integrity and faith. Values she lived to her last breath.
Jan was preceded in death by her husband, Robert L. Donnelly; her mother, Hilda Markstaller; and her son, Devin Donnelly; and is survived by her son, Mark Donnelly; her daughter, JillXan Donnelly; and brother, Gary Markstaller.
- Mark Donnelly, Son
- JillXan Donnelly, Daughter
- Gary Markstaller, Brother
- Mark Donnelly
- Gary Markstaller
- Matt Markstaller
- Mike Markstaller
- Jimmy Webb
- Larry Conklin
- Neil Lomax
- Phil Chek
- Dr. Brian Druker, Honorary Pallbearer
- Mac Markstaller, Honorary Pallbearer
- Mike Luchs, Honorary Pallbearer
- Devin Chek, Honorary Pallbearer
- Chuck Maloney, Honorary Pallbearer
- Funeral Service Monday, November 5, 2018
- Graveside Service Monday, November 5, 2018
Jan Markstaller Donnelly
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November 17, 2018
So many great memories but the one that stands out the most were her amazing neighborhood Christmas parties, something we looked forward to and still talk about. She was such a warm and lovely women.
Ruth Gudmundsen Clark
November 5, 2018
I have fond memories of Jan sitting on the floor of our BYU apartment,singing folk songs with our friends. Her wonderful rich deep voice added so much to the harmony. She was very talented and had the gift of making lasting friendships It has been many years since I have enjoyed her company,but I will never forget her great smile and kind words. Jan , Mary Etta and myself spent happy years in College where we learned about life and how we could make a difference in this world. Lv you Jan. Ruth