and greenhouse after retirement, Donna’s servant heart led her to a volunteer position as a docent at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. She was a member of a small group who nightly raised the chimps that had been abandoned by their mothers. Rosalie, the chimp she bottle fed, still resides at the Baltimore zoo and remains a favorite child. She traveled to zoos around the country and gave lectures on the development of the chimps. At the zoo she was instrumental in developing the polar bear exhibit and working with the registration for the Black Foot Penguins program including the installation of the island and establishment of the visitors center. She also worked on the poinsettia program and loved working with birds of prey as well. The Baltimore Zoo awarded her a lifetime membership for her five years of daily service.
Of all her titles and accolades there was nothing she loved more than her role as family matriarch. Just before she died, Donna was asked by a family member about what she was proudest of. Her written reply was swift and clear. “As a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister...the answer is obvious. My children who have both built successful, fulfilling lives. My grandchildren who are on the same path. My nieces, nephews and other extended family who remain connected when so many families do not. Any other successes I may have had pale by comparison to the pride I have in my family.”
As a woman with an analytical, scientific mind, Donna was not overtly emotional or demonstrative, but when she loved you she loved you completely and she never gave up on someone she loved. She expected nothing but your best. She believed that what you did to show your care for someone meant more than what you said. To know her was to be changed by her. Those of us who were lucky to have her as family, friend, teacher, or volunteer were sculpted by her loving and critical care. The world lost an incredible woman on Sunday, but her ripples still spread throughout the world because she lives on in so many of us.