Donald S. Nakonechny, MD

Donald S. Nakonechny, MD

SEATTLE — After a recent diagnosis of cancer, Donald S. Nakonechny, (Donny) a long-time Seattle pathologist, died peacefully at home on May 20, 2011, in the company of his wife, Patti McCall, and son, Lyle Nakonechny.  

He was born on July 13, 1944, in New York City, N.Y., to Anne Pachmurska and Don Nakonechny. He was proud to have been born into the cultural diversity of Manhattan, N.Y.  Much of his childhood was spent with his grandmother, learning about his Ukrainian heritage and enjoying the borscht, chopped liver, potato latkes and other foods of his family’s old-world traditions. 

As a young boy exploring in New York City, he found a snake at the edge of Central Park and brought it straight to the American Museum of Natural History. The snake had escaped from the museum days before and the research staff rewarded him with a special tour of the facility that ignited a lifelong love of science and the natural world.  

His love of science and nature grew to include the arts and literature when he was given a scholarship to attend Regis High School in New York City where he learned Homer’s “Song of the Sirens” in ancient Greek, discovered his love for Bach and Mozart, and was introduced to the physics and art of optics and microscopy.   

Following high school he attended New York University, Saint Louis University Medical School, and finally moved to Seattle for a pathology residency at the University of Washington Medical School. Following his residency, he worked with Dr. Don Reay in the King County Medical Examiner’s Office applying his skills of observation, science, and art to forensic pathology. These busy times of field and laboratory forensics were tempered with Herzog film festivals, Bob Marley concerts, academic lectures and swimming.  He also learned to scuba dive, forage for wild mushrooms and fish the local waters. He and his son, Lyle, spent many hours diving, fishing and rock hunting.

Mr. Nakonechny shared a memorable story with everyone he met and loved a good meal while learning about the lives and thoughts of his friends and family. The spectrum of his interests, studies, skills and joys was shaped by the quality of people and the environment around him and will be deeply missed. He loved his family, his friends, his Cairn terriers, and the Pacific Northwest and had a wonderful 40-year career as a pathologist and was deeply committed to helping people up to the day of his death.   

He took both great pleasure and pride in his West Seattle home and his home on the Long Beach Peninsula. 

On Saturday, June 4, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the family has planned a celebration of life at Ray’s Boathouse (The Northwest Room), at 6049 Seaview Avenue NW in Seattle. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations should be sent in memory of Donald S. Nakonechny, Class of 1962: Regis High School, 55 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028-0884.

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