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Donna Durgan Weller

Donna Durgan Weller passed just shy of her 95th birthday, from dementia at Horizon House (HH), Seattle, surrounded by her three children, family and holding her husband Jim’s hand. They were married 73 years.

Raised in Vancouver, WA she was the eldest daughter of three. Donna often shared memories of riding the bus into Portland where she played violin in the Portland Youth Symphony. Her summers included beach time in Ocean Park, WA where her family had a small cabin. 

At Washington State College she majored in music education. Delta Gamma sorority was her home on campus and created many lifelong friendships. She first met Jim Weller while he attended a church service, with his Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity brothers, and Jim made silly faces at her as she sang in the choir! 

Married in 1951, they started in Tacoma before settling in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood throughout their three children's school years. Donna taught music lessons, was involved in Ladies Musical Club, Mu Phi Epsilon, Seattle Philharmonic, Broadway Chamber Orchestra and the Magnolia Congregational Church. Winter weekends the family skied at Crystal Mountain. Summers always involved time at Priest Lake, ID.

A breast cancer survivor at 45 years old, Donna went on to volunteer for the American Cancer Society's Reach To Recovery and was honored several times for her efforts. She & Jim were avid supporters of WSU and attended every home football game while their three kids attended and for years after they graduated!  She was awarded WSU Mother of the Year in 1981. 

Retirement years they enjoyed traveling with friends, including hiking in Switzerland and Germany. A sorority sister’s connection to snow leopards and the Woodland Park Zoo took them to India!  They enjoyed the Elderhostel program. Learning about Bourbon distilling in Kentucky, Blueberries fields in Maine and kayaking the Everglades in Florida made for fun explorations together.

Winters were always spent in Kihei on the island of Maui. Donna loved to walk the beaches, read, play tennis and pickleball. 

Donna and Jim intentionally entered HH in their early 70’s, to build community, be active in the programs offered and volunteer their unique talents/generosity to others.

The ease of living small opened up all downtown had to offer. Short walks to the Seattle Symphony, ACT Theater, movies, their favorite restaurants, and Plymouth UCC. Locally, their Harstine Island beach cabin was a regular get-a-way.
Donna attended HH's music programs or offered her violin and piano skills. She volunteered with the chaplain, and cared for residents in Assisted Living (AL) and Memory Care (MC). 

Transitioning to AL and MC, six years ago, Donna stabilized in an even smaller environment and its care. She relished all the Life Enrichment Staff offered; Sing-a-longs, crafts projects, all while continuing to care for those around her. As her words decreased, with advancing dementia, Donna's eyes, smile and hands spoke for her. Those that knew her were truly touched. 

In her final hours she welcomed all who she held dearly to say goodbye. Her three children Bob, John and Patty were honored to hear HH staff share how she’d touched their lives. What a gift Donna was to everyone. 

Donna is survived by her beloved husband Jim, who lives at Horizon House in Seattle. Their three children Bob (Monica), John (Julie) and Patty (Dan) all live in WA. Donna was grandma to ten grandchildren: Amy, Ben, Max, Peter, Henry, Lexi, Louis, Nate, Tucker & Maddie plus one great grandchild Theo. Donna has one surviving sibling Carol Durgan Thornton (Portland) and nieces Molly Heckbert Henderson (Olympia) and Jackie Siegfried (Seattle). 

Family will gather, at a later date, for a memorial weekend.

Memorial gifts can be sent to:
School of Music Excellence fund link: 
(simply type the fund name in the search field)  
Donors may include “In Memory of Donna Weller” in the comments section. 

or Checks can be mailed to: 
WSU Foundation
 PO Box 641927
 Pullman, WA 99164-1927
Memo line: For the Music Excellence Fund


A beautifully written memorial that reflects a Life well lived. Our hearts and prayers are with Donna's family. Love from all the Kelly family

Tracey Kelly

Thank you for a beautiful summary of Donna’s wonderful life. Love, Beverly

Donna (Mrs. Weller to me) was my violin teacher when I was a kid. She was so energetic, fun, kind and a really good teacher. I’m so fortunate to have studied with her. I use many of her teaching strategies with my own violin students. She donated her beautiful violin and two bows to the WSU string program while I was teaching there. She was a major part of my life, and I’m so grateful.
My deepest condolences go to Jim and her kids.
Meredith Arksey

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