Donald Deedrick Nolan, Jr. '74 (posthumously)


Don Nolan Jr. came to Rose Poly in the fall of 1970 filled with pride, passion and purpose. The pride came from his achievements and stature at Madison High School and for being the first in his family to go on to college. This was quite an accomplishment for the austere Nolan

family. The purpose came from Don’s internal drive to achieve, to see and be a part of great things, and leave a positive mark on the world during his life. It is less clear where the passion came from, but passion seems to characterize the life of Don Nolan the best.

Don displayed passion in everything that was of interest to him. If it was a priority to Don, he would speak about it with fervor – a fervor that would fill whatever room he was in.

Don pledged Phi Gamma Delta late in his sophomore year in 1972; but quickly made his mark on the chapter. His leadership skills were clear, and he was elected chapter president for the 1972 – 1973 term. Don’s infectious passion for a goal or objective was so strong that it would overwhelm those around him. You may not always agree with Don’s view, but you knew that he believed in his position with such passion and confidence that he would succeed – even if by the sheer power of his will.

This passion for the elements of life characterized after graduation in 1974. In the early years, he launched into his career with passion. He married Brenda in 1977, and by 1981 had two sons, Matt and Clint. The first several years of his career, Don was Field Construction Manager for projects with Chicago Bridge & Iron of increasing magnitude and complexity. But his love for huge cranes and rigging solutions, as well as his desire to travel less and be with his family prompted Don to leave the nomadic life of construction and focus on the specialized field of moving and lifting the massive loads associated with power plant construction.

While with American Crane & Rigging, Don developed an idea for a lift slide system which is still used today. The SC&RA (Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association) awarded Don three of its five highest honors—one award was bestowed twice. Don was awarded the “Trucking Job of the Year” when he successfully moved all the major components of a gas-fired merchant power plant. Don was awarded the “Moving Job of the Year” when he moved a 171 foot tall by 60 foot long by 30 foot wide heater weighing 704 tons. This move saved a refinery in Chicago six weeks of down time and over $500,000. Another “Moving Job of the Year” was in Ohio and included a move across a bridge which remains the heaviest bridge crossing in Ohio history.

Don has been published in numerous newspapers, journals and magazines for his renowned expertise in industrial construction, heavy transportation and rigging.

Don became a Christian in 1986, and this introduced a new area for Don’s passion. Not only did Don study the Holy Spirit, he loved to conduct classes on that topic. Later in life, Don initiated a prison ministries program.

Don loved guns, hunting, boating, time with his family, cooking, cigars, the crane/rigging business and the Lord. His eyes would sparkle and his arm-pumping passion would emerge whenever he was pursuing these interests.

Brother Don Nolan passed ad astra on May 26, 2006. His warmth, his compassion and his passion for life will be missed.