In Memoriam: Richard Donlin

Richard (Dick) Donlin, retired founder of multi-line rep firm Team Donlin and Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, passed away on February 22. He was 85.

Donlin was born in Excelsior, Minnesota, and was a graduate of Hamline University. A three-sports athlete at the university, he was the youngest member inducted into the Hamline Hall of Fame and had a brief try-out with the Baltimore Colts. He joined Fridley High School as an athletic director, coach and teacher. He later opened an insurance agency for Fidelity Life and Accident. In 1973, after moving to Edina, he worked for Jostens and landed the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Championship Ring accounts.

In 1977, Donlin founded his manufacturer’s representative company and joined the promotional products industry. His daughter and three sons all joined him in the business. Donlin retired from the industry in 2004. His son Steve Donlin continues to run the company, while Jay Donlin serves as vice president of sales at supplier J. Charles and Tom Donlin is a sales manager at supplier ADG Promotional Products.

Along with his UMAPP recognition, Donlin was named ASI Multi-Line Rep Of The Year in 1994, and he was recently inducted into the Fridley High School Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to the Fridley community where he owned and operated a Dairy Queen, was a volunteer fire fighter, a member of the Fridley Jaycees and was the town’s first park board director.

Donlin is survived by his wife Jan; daughter Cheryl Dixon; sons Tom and his wife Lee, Jay and his wife Kathy, and Steve and his wife Laura; grandchildren Piper Nici Thomas and her husband Brandon, Jianna, Joey, Ava, Ryan, Tommy, Garrett, Joe and Mitch; six great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law Bill Swearengin, Phil Sibinski and Jim Cook; along with nieces, nephews, family and friends.

A celebration of Donlin’s life will be held at a future time and date.

filed under February 2020
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Comments (2)
Ann Segal
February 25, 2020
Oh my gosh. Just forwarded the article about his induction into the Hall of Fame to some distributors here in Milwaukee. Dick and the entire Donlin family are industry favorites. So many great memories of fun at the shows in Dallas and the rep visits here in Milwaukee. First Class. Great work ethic. And always helpful to the distributor for a successful experience working with whichever company was lucky enough to have Team Donlin represent them. Heartfelt prayers and blessings to the Donlin family.
Patti Steinman - Panda Promotional
February 25, 2020
My sincere sympathy to the Donlin's as they venture on without Dick. It has been a very long time that I've seen him, but I will not forget his work ethic, or care for our industry. He was one of the "good guys". Until we meet again...
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