MECHANICSVILLE—Donna Jean Aronson Donelan died November 20, 2020, after battling Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19. She was born on October 4, 1936, in Blair, Nebraska.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Chester C. and Florence McDonald Aronson; her husband, Paul Michael Donelan; her sister, Lila Aronson Rapier; and brother, Bill Aronson.
She is survived by her children, Suzanne Donelan Taylor (George) of Henrico, and Thomas Andrew Donelan (Donna Lee) of Whippany, New Jersey; her grandchildren, Kristopher and Michael Martin, Ryan and Austin Taylor (Leah) and Sophia Donelan; great-grandson, Denver Taylor; brother, Bob Aronson (Mabel); sister, Joan Aronson Connealy (Neil, deceased); and several nieces and nephews and many friends.
The youngest of five children, Donna was raised in Tekamah, Nebraska. She graduated from Tekamah Senior High School in 1954 and the Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans School of Nursing in 1958. Donna worked as a Registered Nurse in Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa and Virginia, and began and ended her nursing career in the operating room; she also worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift for a few years in the emergency room. She also served as president of the local chapter of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN) in Lynchburg, in 1992-1993. If asked about her long nursing career, she proudly said she “helped repair hearts and heads.”
Donna also created lovely sewing and needlepoint projects for the home and her family. Over her lifetime, she made clothing for her daughter, granddaughter and herself and her beautiful needlepoint Christmas stockings are proudly displayed by her family every year. She was a voracious reader, Scrabble player and crossword puzzler and a wonderful cook, gardener and homemaker.
Donna was a gifted singer, and after retirement she and husband, Mike, sang with the Jefferson Choral Society in Lynchburg, as well as church choirs at Quaker Memorial Presbyterian in Lynchburg and Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock.
Their participation in the Jefferson Choral Society provided them an opportunity to tour internationally with the choir throughout many European Union countries and also to England and Scotland. Donna’s beautiful soprano voice could also be heard singing during concerts and church services at her memory care facilities in Kilmarnock and Mechanicsville.
Donna was also a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood for over 50 years and enjoyed participating in chapter meetings and fundraisers in Nebraska, Iowa and Virginia.
The family of Donna wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the amazing staff at Heritage Green Assisted Living in Mechanicsville and At Home Care Hospice for caring for Donna during the end stages of her journey with Alzheimer’s and for their loving work and sacrifice during the terrible COVID-19 pandemic.
Memorial donations would be appreciated to: AORN Foundation (The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses), 2170 S. Parker Road, Suite 400 Denver, Colorado 80231; foundation.aorn.org. or the American Nurses Foundation, P.O. Box 504342, St. Louis, Missouri 63150-4342; nursingworld.org.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Online guestbook is available at affinityfuneralservice.com.
To A Nurse – Author unknown
To be a Nurse is to walk with God, along the path that our Master trod,
To sooth the achings of human pain, to faithfully serve for little gain;
To lovingly do the kindly deed, a cup of water to one in need;
A tender hand on a fevered brow; a word of cheer in the living now;
To reach the soul thru Its body’s woe, Ah! this is the way that Jesus would go.
Oh, white capped girls in Service true, our great Physician’s working thru you!