A story of life.
A very young girl at the age of 16 months standing along the edge
of the couch looking at her mom who was laying down and smiling at her.
Who knew then that was the last time she would ever stand on her own, polio struck her down. It was
very difficult for her parents making endless trips to the hospital to do everything they could for their daughter. When I
went to see her in the hospital sometimes she was in an iron lung with just her head sticking out, if they had her on her
stomach she would have to look into a mirror to see me. I did not know what to say as we were both at a very young age but
no matter what she always had that smile. The nurses always knew if they put Donna next to a crying kid she would calm them
right down in no time with her charm. After many operations she was able to stand with braces and crutches. At 7 she became
the poster child for United Way of Lake County. At age 10 she was the first of two patients to undergo the first spinal fusions
ever conducted. They had to remove bone chips from her hips to fuse her entire back together. In order to keep the spine straight
while it healed they put a halo on her head to kept it from moving. She did not mind the screws they put in her head but she
did get a little upset when they cut off all her hair without telling her. I always asked her if it hurt, of course she said
no. She had to keep that halo on for 6 months, and then a full body cast for another 6 month.
After this she continued to use crutches and braces but they were so heavy she finally
gave up and figured out getting around in a wheelchair was much easier on her.
Donna's Dad would drive Donna to school every day as there wasn't any handicap transport available
at the time. Whenever he bought any car he showed me how big the trunk was. Donna would always come out with him and check
it out beaming with her great smile every time.
was so good at playing board games in our youth with my brothers and I and every kid on the street, she was unbeatable. She
was so good at them all but her favorite was scrabble. She had so many friends as I can see from everyone being here. She
also had one special friend for 50 years. It was due to her brother Phil. Seems he sent in a letter to a teen magazine saying
he was a teen rock star and to write to him. The sisters of St. Marys tried to get all of us to find a pen pal but Phil put
a twist to it. Well he got plenty of letters from girls but only one from a guy. So he tosses it to Donna and she writes to
him. Her pen pal for a life time-Robert. Kirk had some competition maybe!!! Not! He is such a wonderful man he even drove
Donna to meet him in Boston as did her friend Margie as well.
Since Donna was 5 she went to Camp Harkness every summer but when she was 16 it was to be a fateful meeting.. Kirk,
then 15, volunteered as a counselor and met this cute camper. .Who knew at that time she would fall in love with him and nearly
20 years later marry. They have been married 28 years.
She had a very well trained supportive care her whole life through grade school and high school. When asked to go to
special events with no hesitation she went.
places and taking her was such a thrill we went drinking while she was at Kent. We all know what we learned in college not
much I’m going to say about that here in church. We took her to the dinner, movies, to weddings and down to beach in
Fairport. I know she had a great time at the beer tent in Fairport. The drive-in theater was the best. We still called every
time when we saw this one special movie, Kelleys Heroes playing anywhere..
She lived her life to the fullest she went to places, some of us haven’t even been there yet.
She worked hard at her job with the State of Ohio, and then for Lake County. She really enjoyed helping others as long as
the piles of paperwork did not get in the way. She worked as long as she could contribute to society, but her body could only
take so much but her mind was her strongest point. She was always kind to everyone and very quick to overcome differences
among friends. When it came to ploitics her saying was lets just agree to disagree.
Did you ever go for a ride with her yes she drove? I did! Not just once a couple of times. She had
her own car, her own apartment she strived for her independence. She wouldn’t even let me put her wheel chair in the
back seat, she did that on her own. But she was also a realist, so when Laketran came along she started using that instead
of taking 20 mins. To get her and her chair into the car- a five minute drive to work and then 20 mins. To reverse the process.
Now she is gone but there is still more. Close your eyes and listen
to this story
Imagine a meadow where she is standing
for the second time in her life bare foot, the soft grass feels funny kinds of tickle. She can run through the medow as fast
as anyone till she is out of breath. She gets to meet her father and brother who can both now hear her perfectly and is embraced
by her mother who is not anxious in the least but overjoyed at seeing her Daughter again. In the distance is Jesus our savior
his arms out stretched to come to him. Her family together at last.