Donna Marie Jones, beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and dear friend,
entered into rest on Monday, June 1, 2020, at the age of 64 in Manhattan Beach, California. These pictures exemplify her contagious enthusiasm for life.
Donna was born in New Haven, Connecticut on June 21, 1955, to Jean Pascarella Jones and the late Thomas Gray Jones. She is survived by her mother Jean Jones (Hamden), brothers James & Elizabeth Jones (Arizona), Thomas G. Jones, Jr. (Hamden), and sister, Carolyn Jones Papa (Wallingford). She also leaves her Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Terry in Virginia who loved her very much, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends, most especially Melinda, Michelle, and Nancy and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
Donna received her bachelor's degree from Boston College and immediately began her career with Kodak, moving to Rochester, New York, as a trainee. She remained with Kodak as a proud and high performing sales rep in California, winning many awards for outstanding sales. Her career was cut short when she sustained a traumatic brain injury in 1985 while riding a snowmobile.
Donna met the challenge of recovery the same way she faced life - with courage, determination, and optimism. Her motto was "Never give up". Her mentor and dear friend of 37 years, Jim Connelly inspired Donna and dedicated himself to her recovery. Her determination combined with Jim's relentless pursuit in seeking to improve Donna's life, was key to her recovery. One of the true highlights for Donna and the story she loved to tell, was when she was announced as the winner of a trip to Las Vegas for two, all expenses paid at an Eastman Kodak sales meeting. While in Las Vegas enjoying dinner with her girlfriend at the The Sands Restaurant, she met Jim. Jim spotted them at their table and generously offered glasses of Dom Perignon and to join him for dinner. Donna mentioned Frank Sinatra was playing at Caesar's Palace and much to her surprise, Jim replied, "Francis is in town? He's an old friend of mine; I've known him for years. Come on, I'll have your elbows on the stage to see the show." Donna and her girlfriend got to sit stage-side. When Sinatra came out on stage, he immediately acknowledged his good friend, Jim. It was a high point in Donna's life, opening her world to new friendships and experiences.
She built a new life in Manhattan Beach, California, where she has lived for the past 35 years. She was an active member of the community, made many new friends, participated in the annual 4th of July 10K, attended Mass at American Martyrs Church, 6:00 a.m. swimming at the Manhattan Beach Pier and daily exercise with Joe's Boot Camp. Donna was a frequent guest at the restaurant The Kettle and thoroughly enjoyed Paradise Bowl for fresh fruit and yogurt.
Never one to sit still for long, Donna took advantage of every opportunity to expand her horizons. She was a great world traveler, and it was one of her greatest joys. She was curious, ambitious, and adventurous and wanted to see as much of the world as she could. She traveled to 49 states missing only Alaska. She made many trips all across the US and many times with the seniors in Manhattan Beach. Her international traveling took her to countries such as Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the Philippines. Of all the places she visited, Paris was her favorite.
Donna looked forward to visits from her cousin, Rick Perrone every time he was in California. It was always a very special time for her. Her visits to Connecticut always included a special night spent with her best girlfriends from high school Nancy Clement Ceballos, Terry Katzman Connellan, Mary Jane Johnson Koczak, Pam Barry Maher, and Cherylann Mellilo Tarutis.
Donna was always up for a new adventure. She was a beautiful, positive person with a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for life. She was truly blessed to be surrounded by extraordinary friends. Donna had a joyous, youthful spirit and her smile lit up the room like sunshine. She will be deeply missed.
Donations may be made to the Brain Injury Alliance Association of Connecticut in lieu of flowers.
To send condolences please visit www.northhavenfuneral.com.