Donna Mae Teresa Cole Jones (71) of Marcy, New York peacefully passed away at home on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 while surrounded by family after battling COPD.
Donna Mae was born on February 17, 1949 to Doris Teresa Waite and Edwin Leroy Cole in Rome, New York. Her elder sister, Lynda was 2 years her senior (now of Durhamville). Thereafter, she welcomed three more sisters: Bonnie in 1951 (now Gerwig, of Rome), Barbara in 1952 (now Cutrie, of Verona), and Karen in 1960 (now Snyder, of Canastota) who christened her “Gaah” at a young age because she couldn’t pronounce Donna. The family settled in Oneida where Donna graduated from Oneida High School in 1967.
Donna worked for a year after high school at Oneida Limited, Die Molding, and Rome State School before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps at the height of the Vietnam War, serving in communications and intelligence from May 1968 until her honorable discharge in May 1970. She remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until May 1974.
While in the Marines, she met and fell in love with John L. Jones, whom she would marry on June 3, 1972 against her parents’ wishes (he was Black, after all). Nonetheless, Barbara and Bonnie were there by her side. On September 16, they welcomed Danette Yvonne Colette, their first daughter whose birth healed the wounds with her parents. They made a home with John’s parents, Bernice and Fraymond Jones, in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Nicole Marie Teresa followed on April 17, 1975; Tanya Lynn Martha on June 23, 1978; Jonathan Paul Anthony on April 24, 1979; and finally Jason Christopher Charles on June 25, 1980. Along the way, Tanya Regine Victor (Tanya’s childhood best friend) became like a surrogate daughter.
By this time, the family had relocated to Central Islip, New York on Long Island—ideally a place where the family would thrive. For a time, they did just that. The family was active in the Catholic Church at St. John of God, where most of the children attended elementary and middle school. Donna was a member of Christian Mothers, she volunteered for Bingo and other church activities, taught religious instruction at CCD, and served as a Girl Scout troop leader. She enjoyed needlepoint, crochet, chatting on the phone with family and friends, making holiday magnets and ornaments, singing along to her favorite songs, road trips, cooking out, going to concerts, and attending Broadway musicals.
Donna returned to work in the mid-1980s for longtime friends Pat and John Blunnie in custodial services, then for Waldbaum’s, a credit union at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital, and Suffolk County Transportation. In 1996, Donna separated from John and relocated the family to Marcy. There, she was employed at Nice-n-Easy, Fastrac, and finally as a home healthcare aid at Upstate Cerebral Palsy, from where she retired in 2016.
Upon her passing, Donna leaves behind an unending legacy of love. Barb Cutrie was her lifelong best-friend. Danette has three children: Ian James (2004), Steve Grady (2011), and Maeve Kate (2017). Nicole shares parenting with her partner, Rob Souza de Lima. Her three children are Zachary Cole (1994), Joshua David (2002), and Jasmyn Mae (2006). Tanya and her husband, Anthony Baffa, have six children: Anthony Nicholas (2009), Tobias Francesco (2010), Luciano Irving (2011), Barnaby Carmine (2012), Genovese Willoughby (2014), and Phoebe Louisa (2016); Grandpa Chuck, Anthony’s father, is a welcome addition. Jonathan shares his life with Juan Urosa; Jason shares his with Denise (formerly Clark); and Regine with her wife Jessica and their daughter Jamison Grey (2013). Her Aunt Joyce and Uncle Phil reside in Seal Beach, CA. Her in-laws include the late Douglas Cutrie, Henry Gerwig, the late Alan Snyder, Lorraine Anderson, Kashaf Haq and Margaret Jones, and Harriett and the late Irving Harrison. Her nieces and nephews include Rebecca, Tara, and Todd Cutrie, Henry and Patrick Gerwig, Brad Snyder and Jennifer (Beaulac), Stefan Jones, Roger McCain, Sabrina Hampton, Daryl and Barcina Jones, Marumba Jones-Davis, Kali Harrison and Kyma Ganzer, and numerous grand nieces and nephews.
When asked one important thing she learned from having Doris as her mom, Donna replied, “Family and God go hand and hand.” She will be laid to rest beside her parents at Crown Hill Memorial Park in Clinton, NY.
Coolican-McSweeney Funeral Home.
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