Cover photo for Herbert Donow's Obituary
Herbert Donow Profile Photo
1936 Herbert 2024

Herbert Donow

June 6, 1936 — January 28, 2024


On January 28, 2024, Herbert Stanton Donow, 87, died in Reflections Memory Care due to complications of dementia.  Herb was born on June 6, 1936, to Arthur and Judith Donow in Brooklyn, New York.

Herb was preceded in death by both parents and a brother-in-law, Martin Cornell.  Surviving is his wife, Carolyn Donow, and his children and stepchildren.  Other survivors are his sister, Harriett Cornell, W. Nyck, NY, several nieces, Valerie Cornell, Kendall Cornell, Alison Cornell and nephew Keith Cornell (Carrie Steindorff).

Herb and his first wife, Ann Hallaway, had two children, Michael Donow, (Vina Markandoo) Monroe, WA, and Jennifer Donow, Johnson City, IL.  In 1979 Herb married Carolyn Bowman Austin, and he became a stepfather to two children, Scott Ollar, Vancouver, WA, and Craig Austin (Melody Hyde) Vancouver, WA, and a step grandfather to Adam Ollar, Gresham, OR.

Herb grew up in Woodmere, Long Island.  He received a BA in Economics at Cornell University and a PhD in English at University of Iowa.  After teaching for two years at Colorado State University, he moved to Illinois and taught at Southern Illinois University Carbondale until his retirement 35 years later.

Always eager to learn something new, he embraced computers as a research tool in the late 1960s.   Most English faculty were skeptical in those early years.

A dedicated volunteer, Herb helped start a Montessori School in Fort Collins, Colorado.  In Carbondale he was on numerous boards for labor unions, human rights, university unions, Democratic politics, McLeod Summer Playhouse, dance programs, Senior Adult Services, Carbondale Uptown, and the Makanda Township Board.

 Herb loved working with animals and was delighted to buy a small farm in Makanda so that he could have cattle, horses and dogs – a gentleman farmer in addition to his university work.  One of his retirement projects was renovating and renting office buildings.  He was a good landlord and enjoyed knowing his tenants and the trades people who helped him.  Serving as the custodian and maintenance person in the buildings, one kind woman asked him, “Herb, you are smart.  Did you ever get to go to college?” Herb was a renaissance man.

Carolyn Donow is hosting a Celebration of Herb’s Life will be at their family home at 1 Potters Road, Makanda on April 3, 2024 from 3:00pm until 5:00pm. It will be a time to honor Herb and share stories about him.

Meredith Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.  To leave a story or memory of Herb, visit

To order memorial trees in memory of Herbert Donow, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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