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Donna (Marie Lane) White, 66, beloved mother, wife, sister, and grandmother, passed away peacefully at her home in Natick on December 25, 2022, surrounded by her loving family.
Donna was known for her kindness, warmth, wit, and most of all, devotion to family. She was equally known for her tenacity as she heroically battled numerous health issues for many years.
Born in Natick, Massachusetts, to Jean and Bob Lane, she grew up on Woodland Street, graduated from Natick High School, and raised her children in Holliston, Massachusetts. She attended Wheelock College, earning a degree in early childhood education, and later wrote a children’s book, Heaven’s Path.
She was an early childhood educator for many years, and was always at her best when surrounded by small children. She built and managed several childcare centers and touched innumerable young people’s lives. Her greatest joy in recent years was being “Grammy” to her grandchildren.
Despite her many health challenges, Donna was well-traveled. She and Frank had the good fortune to travel internationally to England, Italy, France, and Canada, as well as visiting Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Her favorite place in the world was Cape Cod, where she enjoyed many getaway weekends with Frank as well as numerous family vacations.
Anyone who knows the Lane family knows how much the family means to its members, and Donna epitomized that spirit. She was the hub of her “extended, blended” family, seamlessly incorporating all the different personalities brought to the fold by her biological children and stepchildren, as well as their spouses and all of her grandchildren. She was highly gifted at connecting with others and listening to everyone’s story, always ensuring that with each interaction, the other person felt important, special, and most of all, seen and heard.
Donna always had a kind word, a hug, and a smile for anyone who crossed her path. Even during her later years, when hospitalizations were frequent and many people would have turned bitter, she would joke with nurses and caretakers, ask about their children, and even buy them presents.
Because of the season when her passing occurred, everyone was aware of angels encircling Donna even more than usual. In fact, at one point she commented, “I’m surprised I’m still here; I would have thought I’d be with the angels now,” to which a family member responded, “Well, the angels are pretty busy, because it’s Christmas.” Her retort was, “I would have thought I’d be a higher priority for them,” with a huge smile on her face. She kept us laughing her whole life, and the end was no exception.
To her last day, Donna was feisty, making wisecracks even as she moved onto Heaven’s Path. She handled her transition with humor, grace, and dignity. Those who had the honor to spend time with Donna in her final days were blessed to be in her presence during a time when she taught everyone a final lesson in how to love and laugh even while fighting life’s most painful battles.
Surviving Donna are her loving husband of 27 years, William Frank White of Natick; her daughters Elizabeth Ferullo and her husband Dan of Natick; Nikki Neal and her husband Jay of Warren, VT; and Jennifer Vale and her husband Chris of Hopkinton; her stepchildren Ruth Platt and husband Jonathan of Cambridge, England; and Josh White and his wife Maureen of Sedona, AZ; her grandchildren Alexandra, Jack, Brody, Daisy, Wilder, Layla, Wesley, Jessica, Madeline, and Hunter; her siblings Denise Wright of Hoschton, GA; Bill Lane and his wife Vickie of Oxford, MA; Elizabeth Stilwell and her husband David of King Ferry, NY; and Barbara Walsh and her husband Bill of Natick; many other nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends; and her beloved Maltipoo, Maisie Dobbs.
Donna’s life was an inspiration to all who knew her. She will be forever missed and will live on in the hearts of her family and friends, and in Heaven.
Donna’s family would like to extend their gratitude to all of the amazing medical professionals who helped her in her journey. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Donna may be made to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org
Visiting hours will be held in the parish hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 39 East Central Street, Natick, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm ET on Thursday, January 5. A funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s at 10:00 am on Friday, January 6.
The service on January 6 will be live streamed at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89130572492
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