In the early morning hours of July 14, 2023, Phillip Barnard Donley passed away peacefully at the White Horse Village. He was the beloved husband of Judith (Dorman) Donley for 65 years.
Born January 29th, 1935 in the coal mining town of Wheeling, West Virginia to “Ben” and Ruth Donley, Phil grew from an average student to one who found his passion, graduated from West Virginia University in 1956, D.T. Watson Therapy School (where he met Judy) in 1957, received a Master’s Degree in 1965 from West Virginia University, and became one of the most renowned Athletic Trainer/ Physical Therapists in the country. He started the athletic training education program at the then West Chester State College shortly after his arrival in 1965. That demanding progressive program was and is nationally recognized as the gold standard for athletic training education.
In the early 80’s Phil’s entrepreneurial spirit could no longer be contained and he started a private clinic, Chester County Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. Phil personally evaluated and rehabbed everyone from major professional sports stars to teenagers. He did so with equal enthusiasm regardless of the individual’s status and location. He worked on patients from cutting edge athletic training facilities at his business and on assignment in Clearwater for the Phillies spring training to the dining room table in his home. He was elected to the Halls of Fame of every organization with which he came in contact. From West Chester University to West Virginia University (2x) and from Chester County to the National Athletic Training Association.
In his "spare time" Phil rose from an ROTC soldier in High School to the rank of Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He became known to his grandchildren and many others as "The Colonel".
He was interested in and supported his family in all of their extremely varied endeavors. He was always available to family, current and former students for support and advice.
As a chaplain tried to help him relax in his final days by describing how he was about to embark on a path to freedom, the Colonel calmly explained "Mountaineers are always free."
Phil is survived by his wife, Judith (Dorman) Donley, their three children, spouses and grandchildren: Dean Donley and Alison (Margin) Donley with Rachel Donley and Trevor Donley; Jonathan Donley and Mary (Renshaw) Donley with Sarah (Donley) Tracy, Nathan Donley and Megan Donley; Jennifer (Donley) Burrell and Jason Burrell. Phil's brother Willard Donley and sister Barbara (Donley) Farrell predeceased him.
A Celebration of Life will be Friday, August 4th from 6 pm to 8 pm East Coast time. The location is the West Chester University Foundation building. The event is informal, come whenever it is convenient, and hors d'oeuvres will be available. The location of the celebration is: West Chester University Alumni & Foundation Center, 202 Carter Drive, West Chester University 19382.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to The Salvation Army - https://www.salvationarmyusa.o