Timothy Alan Donatell saved Helen C. Kline from drowning, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 13, 1981. When the automobile of Mrs. Kline, 58, left the roadway and submerged in Lake Phalen 30 feet from the bank, where the water was 18 feet deep, Donatell, 27, fire fighter, swam toward the auto, submerged, and located it. After surfacing for air and calling for help, he dived again, partially entered the auto, and surfaced again after not being able to find Mrs. Kline. Despite the cold water, he dived a third time, partially entered the auto again, and found Mrs. Kline, who was unconscious. After removing her from the auto, he surfaced with her. Another man took her to the bank, where Donatell assisted in reviving her. She recovered.
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Timothy Donatell, age 65, of North Branch, MN, passed away peacefully in his home January 25, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. Born 1/4/1954 in Willmar, MN. He is preceded in death by his parents Robert C. and Ellen L. Donatell. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Michele (Bruley) Donatell; two daughters Gina (Adam) Johnson and Toni (Tyler) Campbell; and five grandchildren. Beloved brother of Gary (Diane) and Kathy (Tom) Lukesh. Tim also had many nieces and nephews and countless friends. He retired from the St. Paul Fire Dept. after 22 years of service. Instrumental in getting blanket coverage for all 1st responders who have exposures at work, he was also the recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Heroism in 1982. Tim received many other prestigious awards in the course of his career and lived his life in service to others. Humble and courageous, he was larger than life, a man of tremendous faith who loved to laugh and share his joy with others. He leaves behind an empty hole in us all and he will be sorely missed. (Published in the Pioneer Press on Feb. 3, 2019).