CityNews Mourns Passing of Joseph Donabed, Longtime City Manager

Joseph Donabed, who served California cities for 45 years including nearly a decade as City Manager of Hughson, passed away earlier this month from heart complications. 

Prior to his retirement a decade ago, DOnabed served cities in the Central Valley, including the City of Tulare 1971-1999 where he was Director of Planning and then later became the Assistant City Manager in 1985.  He was one of the youngest people in the State of California to become Director of Planning at age 25. He later went to City of Rio Vista 1999-2002 as City Manager, followed by the City of Hughson City Manager where he served as City manager from 2003-2010 before his retirement. 

"Joe saw the potential in me that I did not even see in myself.  He gave me an opportunity to become a first time Finance Director at the City of Rio Vista back in 2001.  He was a great City Manager and my mentor and good friend for the last 20 years.  I will be forever grateful for the impact he has made on my career and my life.  He will be missed and fondly remembered," said Misty Cheng, former finance director and current President & CEO of MV Cheng & Associates Inc., a municipal finance and HR consulting firm. 

Donabed was in the Navy from 1967-1971 and obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration and minor in Anthropology from Cal State Fullerton, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Cal State Bakersfield.

According to his obituary, "Joseph served in the U.S. Navy and worked in city government for 45-years. In retirement, Joseph developed a passion for collecting knives and Starbucks coffee. He was a proud member of the Sequoia Chapter of the Triple X Fraternity and loved his Armenian heritage." Please see full obituary here, which also notes that remembrances may be made to Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church 220 S 3rd St, Fowler, CA 93625.


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