[D]onald “Donnie” Harrell passed away on July 28, 2019 after a battle with bladder cancer. Harrell had been a regular fixture of the specialty coffee industry since 1994 when he was hired as one of Monin’s very first four employees. After 17 years of working for the company and attending countless tradeshows, Harrell retired to work on the Big Frog T-shirt store he co-owned and started his dream retirement job at a local golf course.
Harrell’s daughter, Jessica posted a statement in memory of her father:
On Sunday, July 28th, my dad, Donnie passed from a short but aggressive light with stage four bladder cancer. It was everywhere but his bladder with tumors in his brain, neck, lymph nodes, back and hips. He was, in his words, being treated like a king at the VA hospital and given the welcome home he felt he deserved in 1969 when he returned home from Vietnam wounded and awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and many more. The nurses and doctors fell in love with him, he kept them all laughing with his jokes and stories; something we heard each day was how brave he was and how it was an honor to care for him. Over these last few weeks, with visitors, cards, calls and texts, it is obvious he was so loved all over. Growing up in Clearwater he had lifelong friends, throughout his career at Monin in the specialty coffee world, he shared his passion when coffee was becoming what it is today while really gaining another family throughout those 20 years. Running Big Grog for nine years trying to give the customer service no other t-shirt shop provided. Then landing his dream retirement job at The Pelican Golf Club, [with] his new Peli family. Although not for long, it was as if they had been friends for years and years. Something we’ve heard over and over was what a great storyteller he was, and how he accepted people into his friend circle even when it seemed he already had so many. My dad never met a stranger.
Growing up I started everyday (that he was home and not traveling) with a full breakfast of my choice: eggs, bacon, and toast; French toast; egg in a whole; or pancakes. As I got older, we added only the very best coffee. Everyday past and present, he’d always say “please do something nice for somebody else today.”
After high school, I was able to take a couple years and travel with him meeting all the trade show/coffee people and seeing what he did all those years. All I ever heard about was the fun and parties, and although there was work, it always seemed like fun when he was with these great people doing what he loved.
He will be missed by so many, forever.
A celebration of Harrell’s life will be held August 12, 1:00-5:00 P.M. at 1871 Saddle Hill Rd South, Dunedin, FL 34698.