Thomas Quinton Donaldson IV – Major, General, United States Army

Courtesy of his classmates, United States Military Academy

Thomas Quinton Donaldson, IV
No. 13085  •  5 October 1920 – 5 June 1987
Died in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, aged 66 years
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia



T. Q. Donaldson was not only the fourth of his name but the fourth generation to graduate from West Point. Major General David S. Stanley (USMA 1852) won the Medal of Honor in the Civil War. In the next generation, David J. Rumbaugh was Class of l880, and the original TQ, Class of 1887. Then came TQ Jr. of the Class of June 1918. Then came TQ 4th, regimental commander in our class, polo team for four years, Ring Committee, Engineer football team, inveterate punster, academic coach, and generally model soldier. Cavalryman to the core, despite standing at about the one-eighth mark, he was forced to take Infantry to get Armor. But Cavalry soon followed and then Armor, where he settled for his career, but with horses on the side.

His troop assignments were a dream progression. First came the G-2 Section of the 8th Armored Division in the ETO with a Bronze Star. Then came various tank battalion jobs (S-3, XO, CO) in the 1st Armored Division at Hood and the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment on the border of Germany, followed by command of the 2nd Squadron, 10th Cavalry in Korea and, ultimately, command of the 3rd Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany.

Staff assignments were equally varied; combat development at Fort Monroe; EUCOM and USAREUR staffs; Army War College; Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Army Staff from where he retired in 1973. It was at the Army War College that the family began to put down roots in the Pennsylvania area. Right after WWII, TQ had taught Military Art and Engineering at West Point where he met and married Mara Coffey, daughter of the Professor of Ordnance. In 1960, TQ graduated front the Army War College. Mara and the children then stayed in the Carlisle area while TQ commanded in Korea. Then he returned to Carlisle for several years in the advanced studies field.

On retirement after thirty years, TQ and Mara first lived in their home near Fort Belvoir. But the idea of a farm and horses pulled them back to Shippensburg, where Mara still lives. Not long after their arrival, TQ was out on a tractor; when he dismounted, the gears engaged and he was pushed against a wagon, with a broken rib and foot bone resulting. During the X-rays at the hospital it was discovered that he had an unrelated lung problem, which for the rest of his life required ever-increasing amounts of oxygen and limited his activities. In June 1987, he was in a car accident
and succumbed to cardiac arrest in the hospital at Chambersburg.

We have lost a distinguished soldier and Cavalryman. TQ had been awarded the Legion of Merit three times, the Bronze Star, two Army Commendations, the Belgian Order of Leopold, and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.

Mara; their son, TQ V, who serves his country in the Navy; three daughters, Mara, Janice, and Susan; and five grandchildren survive him. Mara has a Ph.D. in religion and literature and is married to Dr. Wayne Floyd, who teaches at the Episcopal Seminary in Sewanee, Tennessee. Janice is a teacher and married to the Navy educational program director in Norfolk. And Susan is a nurse whose husband is an associate in the Living Museum at Newport News.

Among the five grandchildren is TQ VI, whose father serves as a Lieutenant Commander on the carrier JFK, and whose mother is a teacher. TQ also is survived by his mother, his sister, and his brother John, USMA June 1943. May he rest in peace in Fiddler’s Green, that Valhalla of all good Cavalrymen.

— A fellow Cavalryman

NOTE: Thomas Quinton Donaldson, Jr., Major General, United States Army, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/26/1934
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 10/30/1934

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