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Peter Donley

Peter Michael Donley died June 21.

A memorial service and Irish celebration of life will be held from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday, July 19, at Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park, Nevada City. The family welcomes everyone.

Peter was born April 13, 1958, in Berkeley and spent his childhood growing up in Diablo. His high school years were spent at Monte Vista High where he was on the track team and also the ski team. Shortly after graduation, Mr. Donley was offered a job working with the parks department in Yosemite. He stayed there for many years and eventually moved to Columbia and worked for the Sonora Mining Company.



Mr. Donley married his best friend’s sister, Michelle Valdez, on Nov. 21, 1987, and together they bought their first home in Columbia. Peter then accepted a position with Hammond Ford in Sonora and stayed with them for the next ten years.

Mr. Donley and his wife relocated to Grass Valley in 2000. After briefly working for Suburban Ford in Sacramento, Peter realized his longtime dream of having his own dealership and opened Donley Motors on E. Main Street.




A year later he bought the old gas station on the corner of Colfax Avenue and Henderson Street in Grass Valley and moved his dealership to the new location.

Peter will always be remembered for his enthusiasm for life, his generous heart, his love of family, nature and animals. He could always be seen driving around town in his Jeep Wrangler with his beloved golden retriever, Buck, by his side. He never went anywhere without Buck.

Peter is survived by his wife of 20 years, Michelle Donley; mother, Georgean Behrhorst and stepfather, Paul Behrhorst of Penn Valley; father, Peter Donley Sr. of Arnold; brother, Patrick Donley of Walnut Creek; sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, Mary Donley, Shannon Donley and Ryan Donley of Alamo; mother-in-law, Barbara Allen of Nevada City, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Tim and Karen Valdez of Walnut Creek.

He was preceded in death by his brother Clark Donley.


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