Those We Lost

Peaches Geldof and her son Pheadra.

By Adam Farley, Assistant Editor
June / July 2014

George Donaldson
1968 – 2014
George Donaldson, the eldest member of Celtic Thunder, died in his home in Glasgow in March at the age of 46 after suffering a sudden heart attack. A principal singer in the dramatic vocal group since its creation in 2007 by Sharon Browne, Donaldson was known as the “steadfast” one, chosen for his large build and ability to invoke a mature, dependable, and stately authenticity amid the highly produced pageantry of a Celtic Thunder show.

Donaldson, born and raised in Glasgow, was also the sole Scotsman in the group of mostly twenty-something Irishmen. A self-taught musician, he was an accomplished guitarist and flutist and had a life-long interest in traditional Celtic folk music, spurred by his late father Bernard.

With the success of Celtic Thunder, Donaldson played to audiences around the world and even performed for President and Michelle Obama at the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. But his proudest performance came in 2000, when he performed at Celtic Park in Glasgow for his father and 65,000 other fans.

In a statement, fellow principal singer Ryan Kelly said of Donaldson, “From the first day I met him at the audition for Celtic Thunder in 2007, we became ‘thick as thieves’ and shared so many great times together…I know he’s looking down now…with his guitar strapped around his neck and a pint in his hand with that big smile of his.”
He is survived by his wife Caroline, and their 13-year-old daughter Sarah.

Peaches Geldof
1989 – 2014
Peaches Geldof, the 25-year-old daughter of Irish rock star and humanitarian Bob Geldof, was found dead in her London home in early April. Peaches was a well-known journalist and TV personality, often advocating for attachment parenting, which she and her husband, Thomas Cohen, practiced with their two baby sons.

Born March 13, 1989, Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof was the second daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. Yates, herself a journalist and TV personality, died of a heroin overdose when Peaches was 14, leaving a life-long impact on the adolescent Peaches which she began to overcome after giving birth to her own children. “Becoming a mother was like becoming me, finally,” she said recently. “After years of struggling to know myself, feeling lost at sea, rudderless and troubled…I felt finally anchored in place.”

Bob Geldof, best known for his Live Aid and Band Aid charity concerts in the 1980s, said in a statement: “She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.”

President Michael D. Higgins, who was due to meet with Bob Geldof during his state visit to England, offered his “deepest sympathies” to the Geldof family, saying “This is such a difficult cross to bear for any family and all of our thoughts are with Peaches’ family and friends at this time…and we are thinking of him at this time of immense loss.”  Other condolences came from friends, politicians, and celebrities alike, including Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Simon Cowell, Sinead O’Connor, and Sharon Osbourne.

In addition to her husband, sons, and father, Peaches is survived by her three sisters, Fifi, Pixie, and Tiger Lily.

Charles Keating
1923 – 2014
A generation ago, Charles Keating became the face of the savings-and-loan crisis that cost American taxpayers $150 billion and ultimately led to his four-and-a-half-year imprisonment for bankruptcy and fraud in the early 1990s. Keating, who had resided in Phoenix since 1976, died in a local hospital in April, his son-in-law Gary Hall confirmed to The New York Times. He was 90.

Born Charles Humphrey Keating, Jr. in Cincinnati in 1923, he attended the Catholic St. Xavier High School and completed a year of college at the University of Cincinnati before enlisting in the Navy as a fighter pilot during WWII. After the war, Keating returned to college, where he was an All-American swimmer before earning his J.D. in 1948.

Keating spent the next two and a half decades practicing law in Cincinnati, donating money to countless Catholic causes, and waging both local and national campaigns against pornography and indecency. In the 1950s, he founded Citizens for Decent Literature, which soon grew to over 300 chapters, and was later named by Richard Nixon to the President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.

But Keating left that life behind him in 1972 when he took a job as the executive VP of American Financial, eventually moving to Phoenix and becoming a real estate millionaire. He invested company money in risky savings and loan deals that eventually caused the company to go bankrupt in 1989, costing taxpayers $3.14 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

Following his release from prison in 1996, he separated from his wife of almost 50 years and continued to invest in Phoenix real estate. In addition to his wife Mary, he is survived by his son and four daughters.

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