Obituary: Dr. Donald Lee Cantway
July 10, 1941 – August 28, 2023
Dr. Donald Lee Cantway passed away peacefully in his sleep, at his home, on Monday, August 28, 2023, with his wife by his side, after surviving Parkinson’s Disease for many years.
Born on July 10, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, Donald was raised in an apartment building on the south side of Chicago until his family moved to Homewood, Illinois during his high school years. He graduated from Bloom High School in 1959 and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1963, followed by his M.D. in 1967. After obtaining his medical degree, Dr. Cantway joined the United States Air Force and was stationed as a medic in Turkey. Upon his return, Dr. Cantway worked at the University of Chicago Hospital and took up sailing, competing in races on Lake Michigan. He met his wife, Linda Diane Cantway (Dworak) during this time and the two decided to move west. Originally heading for San Francisco, they stopped in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on their way and never left. They were married there on February 6, 1976, and built a wonderful life in Steamboat.
In addition to being a doctor, Dr. Cantway was also an avid woodworker and opened a construction business named Cantway Construction. He built multiple houses in the Steamboat Springs area, including the house where he and his wife raised their four daughters that they still own today. Dr. Cantway wound up pursuing his medical career in Laramie, Wyoming, as an emergency room doctor. He also operated emergency rooms in several communities in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. He treated many patients during his time as an emergency room doctor. Many remember him years later. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he would become a figure in the play, The Laramie Project, based on Matthew Shephard’s tragic story, as the doctor who tried to save his life that terrible night. Prior to his retirement from medicine, he spent several years as a clinical instructor through the University of Wyoming and the WWAMI medical education program of the University of Washington School of Medicine and was a great benefit to the medical community through his education of future medical doctors.
Dr. Cantway was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his horses, and many other outdoor activities. He was also an ardent cyclist. He participated in many cycling events including the Tour de Wyoming, Ride the Rockies, and the Triple Bypass. He was an amazingly fit person and one of the smartest people you would ever meet. His diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease was difficult but he continued to be as active as he could be for as long as he was able.
Dr. Cantway is survived by his wife, Linda Diane Cantway; his children Laura (Brooks) Graham, Jill Cantway (Chad Lee), Catherine Cantway, and Jennifer Cantway; his mother, Mary Cantway; his sister, Linda Cook; and his grandchildren, Kaden Graham, Collin and Abigail Lee, and Emma, Ayva, and Olivia Cantway. Dr. Cantway is predeceased by his father, Elmo Cantway (1900-1982).
The family would like to thank all the doctors and nurses who treated him throughout the years and the Parkinson’s Support Network in Steamboat. We appreciate all the help and support you provided. No doubt having his devoted wife as his full-time caretaker, the amazing medical care he received, and his family history of longevity (his mother is still living at almost 109 years old), helped him to survive for a long time after his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dr. Cantway’s honor to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (https://tribute.michaeljfox.org/tribute-page.php?id=2687&np=true) or the Yampa Valley Parkinson’s Support Network (YVPSN) (YVPSN c/o PAR 1325 S. Colorado Blvd. Ste 204B Denver CO 80222 or https://parkinsonrockies.org/product/one-time-donation/).
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