Forrest C. Donnell of St. Louis, a member of the firm of Spencer & Donnell, attorneys-at-law, was born August 20, 1884, in Quitman, Nodaway county, Missouri. His father is John C. Donnell, who was born in North Carolina. While residing in Maryville, Missouri, the latter served as mayor of the city and has always been active in business and public affairs. He married Barbara Lee Waggoner, a member of one of the pioneer families of the state of Missouri. The father and mother of the subject of this sketch now reside in Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Donnell being an officer of the Funsten Electric Company.
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Forrest C. Donnell was graduated from the Maryville, Missouri, high school in 1900 and thereafter entered the university of Missouri, from which he received the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1904 and LL. B. in 1907. While in the university of Missouri he was a member of the Kappa Sigma and Phi Delta Phi fraternities and was elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa, Theta Kappa Nu and QEBH societies. He was valedictorian of his class in high school and also in the university of Missouri. While in the university there were awarded to him the Rollins scholarship in 1903 and the Edward Thompson prize in 1907. He also served as business manager of The Independent, published by the students of the university of Missouri, and represented the university of Missouri in the interstate debates with the University of Nebraska and the University of Illinois. Following graduation he removed in 1907 to St. Louis where he entered upon the practice of law. From 1909 until 1914, in addition to his general practice, he represented the university of Missouri as general attorney for the Collection of Collateral Inheritance Tax, from which the university derived a considerable portion of its revenue. On October 2, 1911, the firm of Spencer & Donnell was formed, the members thereof being Selden P. Spencer (now united States Senator from Missouri) and Forrest C. Donnell. Mr. Donnell is actively engaged in the practice of law as a member of that firm.
On January 29, 1913, Mr. Donnell was married to Miss Hilda Hays, born in Schuyler county, Missouri, a daughter of Frank P. and Harriet L. Hays of St. Louis. Miss Hays had attended Christian College at Columbia, Missouri, the Girls Latin School at Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington university. Mr. Hays is the president of the Little & Hays Investment Company of St. Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Donnell have two children, both born at St. Louis: Ruth, born October 25, 1914, and John Lanier, born September 14, 1918. The family resides at 5753 McPherson avenue. Mrs. Donnell is a member of the Grace Methodist Episcopal church and of the Wednesday Club of St. Louis.
Mr. Donnell is a member of the Board of Children’s Guardians of the city of St. Louis and of the St. Louis Advisory Board of the Salvation Army; a member of the St. Louis, Missouri and American Bar Associations; a member of the Committee on Legal Aid of the American Bar Association; a trustee on the executive committee of the State Historical Society of Missouri; a member of the St. Louis executive committee of the Missouri Centennial Association; president of the Alumni Association of the university of Missouri and former president of the St. Louis Missouri University Alumni Association; served in 1915 as worshipful master of Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. & A: M., of St. Louis and has attained to the thirty-second degree of Scottish Rite Masonry; is a member of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce; and is a member of the university and City Clubs. In politics he is a republican and served in 1917 as president of the Association of Young Republicans of Missouri; in 1918-1920 as a member of the executive committee of the Republican State Committee of Missouri; and in 1919 as president of the Twenty-eighth Ward Republican Club of St. Louis. In 1921 he was tendered by the governor the appointment to one of the circuit judgeships created by act of the legislature at its session then recently concluded but declined the appointment.