Obituary

Donna
Mary
Harper
Wadsworth

 

On Sunday, June 2, 2024, Donna Mary Harper passed peacefully in the home her grandparents built in Wadsworth, Ohio. Donna was a woman of faith, and her family takes comfort in the thought that she is now in heaven, rejoicing with her Savior.

Donna was born on December 8, 1952, in Lexington, Kentucky. Her father was an Army officer, and she travelled widely in her early childhood, including in Japan, but she grew up in Cleveland and grew to love all things Cleveland, including the Browns (“well, better luck next game!” she would say). Even in high school, Donna wanted to be a nurse-to take care of people. She studied nursing at The Ohio State University, received her Master’s Degree in Nursing at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, and practiced for forty-five years. In addition to practice, she also taught, spending twenty years on faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University and eighteen years working as a Staff Development Educator at Summa Health System.

Donna raised five daughters, modeling grace, humility, joy, selflessness, and hard work. She taught her children to glorify God in their service to others, and to praise God through music and dancing. She used her time on earth pouring all that she had into caring for others, and her bright smiles and warm hugs brought joy to many hearts, particularly children. During her years as a labor and delivery nurse, and volunteering at her church nursery, she held and cared for thousands of infants and young children, filling their ears with praise and love.

Donna never met a stranger, and she effortlessly struck-up conversation wherever she went. Her smile and open charm put people at ease, even in line at the post office or bank. And if you knew Donna, you know that she was a doer, perpetually gardening and remodeling her home. But not content to stay at home during her retirement, Donna was actively involved in several community organizations, including: Faith Wellness & Pregnancy Center, Rahab Ministries, Bible Study Fellowship, and at her beloved church home, Covenant of Grace. She was particularly proud of her volunteer work at Live Inspired, where she read to young children to help instill a love for reading. Through her kindness to others, she has left a legacy of love that will go on for generations.

Donna is survived by her daughters Shelah (Aaron) Radke, Katherine (Michael) Turner, Paula (Matthew) Berg, Miranda-Emily (Patrick) Ryan, and Nikki-Shari Moore; her grandchildren Ember, Sebastian, Gwyneth, Claire, Colin, Xavier, Alex, Connor, Stella, Rory, Bridget, Grayson and Elizabeth; her brother William “Doug” Harper; her former spouse Martin Rote; her sister-in-law Girlyn and nephew Donn; her best friend Cyndy Harper-Jackson; and her dog Beau. She was preceded in death by her parents, Donn and Margaret Harper; her brothers John “Pete” Harper and Herbert “Chris” Harper; and her grandson, Joshua.

The family will hold a visiting hour at noon on Friday, June 14, 2024, at the Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home (174 N. Lyman Street, Wadsworth, Ohio 44281, with a Celebration of Life immediately following at 1pm. There will be an opportunity during the service for those who feel led to briefly share what Donna meant to them. The committal will take place afterwards at Woodlawn Cemetery. All who loved Donna are welcome to join us at her home for a reception after the services. And if you would like to send flowers to her memorial and burial service, her absolute favorite were tulips.