Virginia, Donna’s birthplace and home for much of her life, is reflected in the soft southern mellowness of her speech and her gracious hospitality in inviting a stranger into her only recently occupied and partially furnished apartment, proffering a steaming mug of coffee and a readiness to chat.
Spending much of her early life with a caring uncle and aunt because of her parents’ divorce, Donna also grew very close to her adored grandmother whose loving guidance influenced her early commitment to her church and the deep satisfaction and inspiration she derived from her personal involvement. That sense of wonder, joy, and fulfillment is clearly evident in her book, “The Message of the Cameo,” published in 2000 and still available today.
After an initial false start, typical of young college freshmen, Donna settled into the role of student, majored in psychology, and graduated from Radford College with a B.S. with honors. She subsequently felt she wanted a more hands-on career, returned to Vanderbilt University where she earned a second B.S. in nursing. This more rewarding profession she practiced for many years, in a variety of situations and with an ever-increasing level of responsibility, including teaching nursing at East Tennessee State University, serving as a sought-after nurse recruiter for several hospitals, and as a public relations director for a hospital. She then opened her own marketing and consulting business, and was elected the first female member of the local Rotary Club. She retired in 2000, but remains a life member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Her husband, Bob, a physician specializing in radiology, retired about the same time and they began splitting their time between Tennessee and Longboat Key.
Donna’s only son, a commercial airline pilot, a sturdy, supportive source of joy and closeness, died suddenly of a ruptured blood vessel in 2007 — at the age of 42. Bob’s solidity and love along with her deep, abiding faith, helped her deal with the shock and anguish of their loss. So, life continued, including long-range plans to move to Plymouth Harbor; they had joined the Harbor Club and visited events. Bob developed a serious illness culminating in his death in 2014.
Having sold her home in Tennessee, but continuing with Longboat Key, Donna is now eager to be more involved with Plymouth Harbor activities — physical, social, and artistic.