Donna Lee Young
— Donna Lee (nee Nebinger) Young died peacefully surrounded by family at the age of 86 on Sunday, August 2, 2020 following a short and unexpected illness. Born in Harrisburg Pennsylvania in 1934 to parents Richard
Wayne and Dorothy Nebinger, Donna was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Harry (Sleepy) Young; children Nancy D. Young, Wayne E. Young (Angie); beloved grandchildren, Michael Young (McKenzie), Amy Young, and Amanda Howard (Gary). She is also survived by sisters Janet Maynard and Debra Zimmerman as well as her husband’s siblings, James Young (Gay) and Kay Pukay (Jim). Beloved aunt to Stephen, Leanne, and Rick Nebinger; Nate, Gus and Kate Zimmerman; and Lynne Carleton and Jean Young; Chris Pukay, Scott Pukay, and Sharon McCormick; and, Paige Crump and Greg Young. Her legacy also lives on with great grandson Gary and many great nephews and nieces. She also leaves behind a host of friends who felt her love like family. Donna is predeceased by her parents Wayne and Dorothy Nebinger and brother, Dick Nebinger.
A proud graduate of Dundalk High School’s class of 1952, Donna was the first of her siblings to attend university, graduating from the University of Maryland College Park with a degree in biological sciences and a minor in theater. At a time when women were not encouraged to study sciences, Donna credited her father for believing that there were no limits to what she could achieve as a woman — a belief she later instilled in her daughter, granddaughters, and nieces. Services will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Jane Goodall Foundation, http://www.janegoodall. org .
Donna’s fervent passion for learning led to a fulfilling career as a high school advanced placement biology teacher and also horticultural teacher, where she was known equally for her high standards of excellence and her compassion for her students. She started her teaching career as one of the first female high school science teachers in Baltimore County first at Dundalk High School and then at Patapsco before moving to Loch Raven High school in the early 70’s. Her natural curiosity for the world inspired creative lessons in and out of the classroom, harboring a classroom full of insects, chickens, reptiles, and amphibians and often planning trips to favorite locations like Longwood Gardens and Calvert Cliffs to make sure her students experienced the things they were studying. Her teaching evaluations were consistent across the years: Donna was an unusually passionate teacher who believed in her students and found a way to challenge the most gifted, to engage the most reluctant, and to fight for her most disadvantaged students. She simply loved her students and believed education was critical to success in life.
Her passion for learning transcended the classroom, with adventurous trips in the family VW Bus. Favorite memories included a cross country camping trip to Alaska across the AlCan highway in the 60’s so her children could witness the northern lights, salmon runs, and the natural beauty of the Alaskan tundra before the development of the oil pipelines threatened pristine wilderness areas. This passion for learning, nature, and travel continued long after Donna retired from Loch Raven High School in 1994, taking both Donna and her husband Harry on whirlwind adventures abroad. The couple made countless friends on their adventures, but none as dear as Birthe Monrad and daughter Jeannet Borsdal-Hansen of Copenhagen, who remain close to the family to this day.
Eventually, Donna included her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews in her travels, with annual trips to St. Martin, Shenandoah, and Williamsburg marking the family’s calendar. North south, east or west, educational stops were a hallmark of Donna’s trips, much to her family’s chagrin at the time, though now some of their favorite family stories and memories. It was not unusual for her to stop the car and give a science lesson to her grandchildren along the road. She cherished the country’s national park system and remained an avid supporter of the National Park Trust fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams of hiking in Yellowstone National Park just a few years ago.
An avid reader, Donna believed that “reading was like breathing” — she just couldn’t live without it. She would rarely be seen without a library book close by. When she wasn’t reading, her hands were always busy. A talented baker, knitter, quilter, and craftswomen, there were few things Donna couldn’t make. She put her college theater experiences to good use. She sewed many school theater costumes, every child in her family treasured the elaborate
Halloween costumes she sewed for them each year, and her handknit sweaters continue to be passed to new generations. She loved to garden and her beautiful gardens became a sanctuary for both humans and feathered friends. No holiday was complete without her cookies and pies — or the unveiling of her latest molded butter creation.
After she married her husband, Harry (Sleepy) Young in 1956, they established the successful Dundalk Teen Center together as well as several other recreation programs for youth including a girls softball league and summer craft program. Even though the family moved to Baldwin in northern Baltimore County in 1970, Donna continued to give back to the community she grew up in. Along with her husband she was involved with the Dundalk Patapsco Neck Historical Society serving as Vice President. Her volunteer duties there included the Heritage Fair, the Defenders Day War of 1812 reenactment held yearly at Fort Howard Park, the annual Christmas trip to Washington, D.C. to the DAR building to see the Military Christmas show, and greeting children and families at the annual train garden. She was also an active member of the Dundalk High School Alumni Association, American Legion Post 38, and the “I Am An American Day Parades.” She served the YMCA program in Dundalk when it first started and was an active member of the Lions Club Women’s Auxiliary. She was politically active and served at the polls on election days.
Not content solely to travel or putter in her garden