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Donna Elise McGovern

July 11, 1952 ~ November 30, 2019 (age 67)


Donna McGovern, 67, of Fort Collins, passed away peacefully on November 30, 2019. She was surrounded by family and friends in her own bed in her own home.

In her last days, Donna had the opportunity to say goodbye to many of her family, old friends, new friends, and be told repeatedly how loved and how strong she is. Of course, her sly sense of humor never abandoned her. During one phone call with family members from the hospital, upon being asked how she was feeling, she deadpanned, “Oh, fabulous.” 

Donna was born on July 11, 1952, in Bay Shore, New York. Summers were spent with her parents and siblings on Fire Island. As a little girl, she watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the movie theater and, during the scene in which the Evil Queen tempts Snow White with the poisoned apple, she shouted, “Don’t eat the apple!”

That was indicative of Donna’s lively, ever-caring spirit. After marrying and moving to Livingston, New Jersey, she spent her career in health care billing. For two years in the mid-1990s, she volunteered to tend for a man who was dying of AIDS. Without fanfare, she often volunteered at food kitchens and homeless shelters, including on Christmas mornings.

In 2008, she relocated by herself to Fort Collins. The move provided her with a brilliant second act in her life, full of new adventure and bluer skies. 

After a cancer diagnosis and subsequent remission in 2010, Donna completed four half-marathons. She was the Team Hero for the local chapter of Team in Training, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Donna loved to travel and in her last decade, she was never more excited than on vacations with her companion Ken, family reunions, and trips to the East coast to see her kids and especially her grandkids. One month ago, in fact, she was in New York for her grandkids’ birthday, cooking and baking and smiling the whole time.

Donna is survived by her children, Joe McGovern of Brooklyn, NY, and Katy McGovern Bonesteel of Centerport, NY; her devoted companion Ken Witty; her son-in-law Rich Bonesteel and her beloved grandchildren Brody, 7, and Harper, 3; her father Joe Greenhalgh; her siblings Alan Greenhalgh, George Greenhalgh, and Debbie Randolph; seventeen nieces and nephews; the coolest gang of siblings-in-law, including Karen Greenhalgh, Barbara Greenhalgh, and Chris Randolph, as well as Moe Gieges, Kathleen Orenczak, Jim McGovern, Nance Chambers, and Ed McGovern; and her former husband Tom McGovern.

She shared so many laughs and fun times with her lifelong friends. They are too numerous to mention but include Ann Cole, Trisha and Mike White, Chris and Carl Vidal, Angie Davenport, Dave and Gina Austin, Kathy Kula, Nichole Camp, and Jason Witty.

Every few years, Donna would reunite with her college friends, the Bottom Floor Girls, from Stuebenville University: Mary Ann Gawelek, Marian Goliszewski, Nicki Jo Perfetti, Sue Griffin, Phyllis Bolton, and Carolyn Hardy. Ten years ago, the girls were all driving together to Pikes Peak, and someone told a story so funny and so dirty that the massive eruption of laughter in the van lifted it off the road. That was the magical, buoyant, cheeky spirit that Donna carried through her life. And that spirit will be a lighthouse for her loved ones forever.

In lieu of flowers, Donna requested that donations be made to the Family Housing Network of Fort Collins (970-484-3342; PO Box 1765, Fort Collins, CO 80522), a non-profit focused on providing food and shelter for those experiencing homelessness, where Donna frequently volunteered. 

Memorial services will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colorado on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. at 10:00 A.M.

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Memorial Service
December 4, 2019

10:00 AM
Trinity Lutheran Church
301 E. Stuart Street
Fort Collins, CO 80525

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