The Caribou Club

regrets to announce the loss of one of their charter members,

Tim Donnelly,

who passed away peacefully last week at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after a lengthy fight with cancer. Below is Tim's memorial website. If you have any photos or words you would like to add to this page, you are urged to do so by contacting this email address:

Good Video below

"Malibu Patrol" was a promotional video parody that Tim's lifelong pal Denny Johnston put together. Check it out. It's 11 minutes. 

You can also check out video of Tim's continuing role in "Emergency!" 

by checking Youtube

 October, 2021, from the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper...

Anyone driving by San Isidro Catholic Church when the red Santa Fe Fire Department truck arrived on the scene Saturday might have thought a firefighter was being mourned in a funeral service.

And in some ways, that was true.

Actor Tim Donnelly, who played easygoing firefighter Chet Kelly on the 1970s series Emergency!, was being laid to rest. The city of Santa Fe Fire Department sent a truck, jacket and helmet to pay tribute to a man who helped raise awareness of their work.

Donnelly, who lived in Santa Fe starting in 2003, died at 77 of complications following a recent surgery, his brother and former director, Dennis Donnelly, said by phone Sunday.

An engaging mix of save-the-day action, humor and soap opera, Emergency! revolved around the emergency medical response crew of the fictional Station 51 in Southern California. The show proved immensely popular with viewers weaned on similar on-the-street action shows like Adam-12 and Dragnet and is credited with drawing attention to the work of first responders. Emergency! ran six seasons, from 1972-1978.

Donnelly’s character could be expected to infuse any scene with comedy, and his brother Dennis, who directed some of the shows, said Tim “understood the part he was doing and played it well.”

Donnelly’s daughter, Ashley Horne, said in a telephone interview her father “was the role. He kind of lived the life of Chet. He was a prankster and had a little glint in his eye. Deep down he was a soft-hearted, really gracious friend.”

Donnelly often evinced a puppy dog face in the role and, not surprisingly, he became the actor most connected with the show’s basset hound mascot, Henry.

Dennis Donnelly said with a laugh that his brother knew a good thing when he saw it. “Nobody wanted to work with the dog except Tim,” he said. “He realized how much air time he was going to get working with that dog. He was going to be in a lot of shots with the dog.”

Marco Lopez, one of Tim Donnelly’s costars in the show, wrote on the Emergency! Facebook page that Donnelly “was like Harry Morgan on Dragnet, they both had this flare of coming on set with a joke or funny saying that would crack up everyone on set and would start our day.”

Timothy Donnelly was born Sept. 3, 1944, in Los Angeles. His father, Paul Donnelly, was a production executive at Universal Studios in Hollywood for decades and collaborated with Jack Webb on many projects. Tim Donnelly moved into the film business as a child and teen actor with the help of noted cult film director Don Siegel, Dennis Donnelly said.

“Don Siegel put us in every movie in those days, including Baby Face Nelson, because he was Tim’s godfather,” Dennis Donnelly said.

Tim Donnelly began steady work in television in the 1960s, appearing in such programs as DragnetAdam-12 and Hawaii Five-0.

When acting roles dried up following the cancellation of Emergency! in the late 1970s, he switched gears and began a lengthy career as a painter of film sets, his brother said.

Santa Fe resident Edward Khmara, a childhood friend of the Donnellys in the 1940s and 1950s who reconnected with him in Santa Fe decades later, said Donnelly loved Santa Fe and quickly became known for his love of errant and often helpless animals. Donnelly took to caring for a number of feral cats and a family of skunks, who lived under his porch but sometimes wandered into the house.

“I asked him, ‘Don’t they stink up the house?’ and he said, ‘Not my place. I feed ‘em!’ “ Khmara recalled with a laugh.

During the Emergency!’s heyday, Tim Donnelly was often recognized and sought out by fans for autographs, said lifelong friend Keith Ehlert of Santa Fe.

Ehlert said there was a time when it seemed as if Donnelly’s sense of celebrity was universal. The two men took a drive in Ehlert’s four-wheel drive vehicle into the remote and dry Salinas Valley of California. After a sudden thunderstorm covered the road out in mud, the two men headed out, only to encounter a family of four whose vehicle had been stalled by a mudslide.

When Donnelly jumped out of the vehicle to see if he could help, the little boy of the family turned to his mother and said, “Mom, it’s Emergency! We’re saved!”

Tim Donnelly was planning to attend a 50th cast and crew reunion of the Emergency! show in Los Angeles in January, his brother said. “Tim was raring to go,” Dennis Donnelly said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Museum exhibits much of the memorabilia from Emergency! and continues to honor the show. Dennis Donnelly said officials from the museum reached out to the Santa Fe Fire Department to ask if if it could send a fire truck to his brother’s funeral.

Ashley Horne said if her father had seen the truck pull up at his service Saturday, “he would have been smiling from ear to ear.”

From left to right Dennis Donnelly younger sister Kathy and Tim

St. Elisabeth Elementary School, Van Nuys, California

Tim is in row 2 far right, next to Paul Campbell. Ed Flynn is also in row 2, 2nd from left.

Center of Attention at St Elisabeth
Here's Tim with pals Chuck Dow, Ed Flynn, Dave Kuhner Claude Roy, (Nice briefcase), and Dennis Donnelly. 
"I know I left my cash here somewhere"

Tim lived in Waikiki in the late 60's and early 70's. at 2244 Aloha Drive, 
Just a 7 iron away from the famous International Market Place.
Other residents of this 10 unit wooden apartment building at that time were Dennis Watson, Fred Coultas, Paul Atkinson, Tom Campbell, and Gene Meyer. What a great time together.
Gene and Tim flank their hippie surfer neighbors Kendog and Buddy.
Rent was $100 per month.

Tim prepares his headshots for future employment on
Aloha Drive, Waikiki, 1970
Photo by next-door neighbor Paul Atkinson.

Doing one of his favorite things:
Fishing in Mexico

Fisherman's Warf, Honolulu. 

Tim poses with Dennis at the presentation of the Official Caribou Poster.
Is it really a Caribou? Who cares?

Jeff, Gene, Tim, Tom, and Paul relax at one of many
Caribou Campouts we had in Ventura

Terry and Tim discuss why there's no fish for this occasion

Deceased pal Skip Gentry, Veda Meyer, (Very much alive), and Tim
hanging out at the Caribou Campout.
I'm sure Veda asked these guys many questions.

Clockwise from Tim: Gene Meyer, Patrick Meyer's wife Alessandrea,  

Paul Atkinson, and Tom Campbell Camping in Ventura

Gene...I told Tim that when I die, I wanted him to deliver my eulogy,     which, at the conclusion, he would fall forward over the lectern, turning the entire service into pandemonium. 

Well, for one of our Caribou Campouts, when we delivered a truckload of campfire wood in the afternoon, we needed a way strategy so that no one would steal the firewood. So Tim came up with this idea. Nobody messed with it. Mission accomplished.  

Tim aboard Terry's boat, "Perfect," 

giving the full Caribou salute while showing off his 

Caribou logo products. 

One of many annual Caribou Poker Parties, held each Veterans Day weekend. Everyone played to win the money, but more important, to get our names engraved on the perpetual trophy. Tim was the winner this particular year.

The moment of truth. 

"Read 'em and weep," says Tim

Guess who won the Caribou Poker Trophy? 

The Morning After his last poker party. 
So long, Tim. 
We'll miss your cantankerous Irish rants.