Russell Owen (Coakley) Donoghue

1939 ~ 2023

Celebration of Life

Chateau at Le Jardin, 1950 E Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah
Jul 9, 2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Russell Owen (Coakley) Donoghue passed away Friday, June 16, 2023, after a fall and accidental drowning near his home in Murray, Utah while taking a walk to visit the geese and ducks along the nearby creek.

Rusty (as he was known to his friends) was born April 6, 1939, in the small town of Collbran, CO to Blanche Martin and Owen Coakley. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, John Donoghue, in Moab, Utah where he loved being surrounded by the red rock beauty.

Russ graduated from Grand County High School where he served at Student Body President and went on to receive a degree from Utah State University with a double major in History and English. He taught high school English and History in Moab along with coaching speech and debate from the years 1962-1972. During this time, he had the pleasure of serving as a part time park ranger at Arches National Park. He retired from teaching to build and operate a full-service RV park, Slickrock Country Campground with his family by his side. They loved having the Colorado River and the surrounding Canyons as their backyard.

Later Russ ventured into a new career as the Director of the Utah Rural Water Association and eventually served as a trainer and lobbyist for the National Rural Water Association taking he and his wife, Marjorie to Oklahoma for six years. After his retirement, Russ and Marj relocated to Park City, UT where he enjoyed time on the mountain as a ski instructor as well as being near his kids and grandkids.

Russ was an avid outdoorsman, reader, writer, John Wayne enthusiast, and collector of Buck Knives. He was often asked to speak at events and was well known for his storytelling ability. Russ never met anyone that did not become an immediate friend. If you saw him years later, he would remember your name and your story.

Russ married his college sweetheart, Marjorie Redd, in 1960 and loved having her by his side for 62 years. He is survived by Marjorie as well as their children Chad (Debby) Donoghue and Corina Donoghue Johnson. He has 4 grandchildren: Christopher (Brooke) Donoghue, Paige (Shawn) Holbrook, Devin Johnson, and Gabriel Johnson as well as 5 great grandchildren: Boston and Finn Donoghue; Dallas, Cal, and Dawson Holbrook. Russ was preceded in death by his mother, Blanche Donoghue; father, Owen Coakley; step father, John Donoghue; and brother, Robin Donoghue.

Russ was loved by many and we cherish the memories he gave us and those he inspired. We can take solace in his words: “Keep your face to the sun and back to a warm fire … preferably pinyon.”

A Celebration of Life open house will be held in the Chateau building of Larkin Sunset Gardens located at 1950 East 10600 South, Sandy, UT on Sunday, July 9th, 2023 from 1:00-3:00pm.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue Team at


Our deepest condolences.

- John and Tami Smith

What a glorious life! The world is certainly a better place because of Russell. We are so sorry for your loss and wanted to send messages of comfort and peace. Please let me know if I can do to help.

- Kathy Morones

🙏 Love, prayers are being sent your way. Xoxoxoxoox❤️

- Eleni Calevas Billick

I owe my career to Russ, as do many people in the Rural Water Family. He was a great mentor and he left an impression in every group he encountered. My thoughts and my prayers go to Marj and the family.

- Vern Steel

Our deepest condolences to you all.
He was the sweetest and kindest man ever and always made me feel welcomed and loved at the same time.
Our thoughts and prayers to Marj and the family.

- Ron & Jackie Preece

Dear Marj, Corina and family.
I am so sorry for your loss. My heart is heavy as I think of such a wonderful man that has left us too soon. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Love Julie Stevens ❤️ 😌🙏

- Julie Stevens

Marg, Corina and family.
I am sorry we couldn't be there, but our thoughts and prayers are with you.
We sent a donation to the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue in behalf of Russel Owen (Coakley) Donoghue. What a wonderful and hard working man he was. His legacy will live one forever

Love you all.
Julie and Gary Stevens ❤️

- Julie Stevens

I am very sorry for your loss. I sendmy condolenses. I was hoping to come to your special program but we have something ese to attend. All the best. Ron

- Ronald Watt

Sorry to hear of Russ's passing.
Always admired the man, his brother Robin and I were good friends back in the day in Moab.
God bless Russ and condolences to his family.

- Rick Costanza

We will miss Russ, he was one of our favorite patients. Our deepest sympathies to your family. Sending love from your All Valley Dental family.

- Krista Hall