Obituary for Donella Pearl Markham (Vosburgh)
Donella Pearl Markham
Following several years of medical challenges, always with a hopeful and positive attitude, Donella emphatically said “This ends here” when hearing a diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer several weeks ago. No more appointments, doctors, hospital stays, and taking multiple pills for her! She accepted reality as she went into decline, finally dying peacefully at home, surrounded by the love of family members.
She lived the first forty-five years of her life in Cheney, Kansas where she attended high school, became a farmer’s wife after graduating from college, raised four children, was an active church and community member and was a kindergarten teacher. In 1984, she followed her heart, leaving her community, profession, and friends and moved to Williamstown, MA where she married Richard Markham, her college sweetheart, with whom she enjoyed a long and joyful life. She managed the Mole Hole gift shop, Stationhouse Antiques, and the VNA Women’s Exchange during the 1980s and 1990s. She and her husband were active members of the First Congregational Church in Williamstown and, together, organized many fund-raising activities to support the renovation and expansion of the North Adams Public Library.
Her care for others was demonstrated by driving cancer patients to their treatments, by writing personal notes to those suffering a loss, by delivering Thanksgiving meals to shut-ins, and by volunteering for ABC and the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, for HelpLine in North Adams, for the North Adams Public Library, and for DIG, a non-profit established by her son to develop organic gardens near hospitals and orphanages in Africa.
Donella loved flowers, beach walks, plants and animals, and enjoyed the chickadees, cardinals, and other birds visiting the feeder. She was an avid antiquer, always on the lookout for the next treasure, and had her own booth at several locations. At different times, she collected baskets, bears, roosters, bunnies, shells, and always found fun ways to display them. Being creative, she gave life to things by finding ways to re-purpose them, for example once meticulously wrapping and tying tic-tac boxes in Christmas wrap so they would fit in a miniature sleigh. She enjoyed preparing for each season, especially Christmas for which she decorated the entire house around a different theme each year (santas, snowmen, reindeer, angels). She loved having a good time and planning surprises, sometimes spending weeks setting them up. Like most of us, she had a few flaws, among them mis-pronouncing words, often to the delight of her listeners. She never met a stranger because she reached out and connected with anyone she encountered.
Donella leaves her husband, her four children, two step-children, nine grandchildren, a sister, a brother, and countless friends with fond memories of her courage, strength, problem-solving ability, spontaneous sense of humor, and passion for living a colorful life. She had a vital presence wherever she went and will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to know her.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, May10, from 4-7, at the Flynn-Dagnoli Funeral home, 52 West Main Street, North Adams. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to Friends of the North Adams Public Library, Louison House, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. To add to the book of memories please visit, www.flynnanddagnolifuneralhomes.com.