Dona Mae Chiarella, 77, of Sunapee, N.H., died Nov. 17, 2012, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She died peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends.
She was born in Newburg, N.Y., April 6, 1935, to Mary and Mickey O'Dell. She graduated from Highland Falls High school, and attended Ladycliff College in New York. She married her beloved husband, John, on Nov. 14, 1953, and together they just celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
She is survived by her husband, John; sons, Michael (Susan) and John (Maureen) of Springfield; and daughters, Tamara of Wilmo, and Taryn (Robert) of Sunapee. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Michael, Sonya, Samantha and Holly; and her great-grandson, Roman.
John and Dona built a summer home on Lake Sunapee in 1957 and shared wonderful times with family and friends there over the years. Swimming, fishing, horseback riding, skiing and sailing were always a special part of their family life. During those years, she teamed with her husband as owners of a GM car dealership in Fort Montgomery, N.Y. She was involved in the early days of the Upper Valley Humane Society and served for many years as a board member of the Kearsarge Valley VNA. She was a longstanding member of the Lake Sunapee Yacht Club and the International Star Class Sailing Association.
She was a true animal lover, and was a passionate supporter of many animal and wildlife advocacy organizations including The World Wildlife Fund. In her later years she became a dedicated NASCAR follower. She was an avid reader, student of the world and taught her children early on to love animals and to respect all human beings without judgment.
A funeral was held Saturday, Nov. 24, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church (standrewsnl.org), Gould Road, New London, N.H.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Upper Valley Humane Society (UVHS.org), 300 Old Route 10, Enfield, NH 03748; Lake Sunapee Region VNA and Hospice (LakeSunapeeVNA.org), P.O. Box 2209, New London, NH 03257; or Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD.Dartmouth-Hitchock.org), One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756.
Chadwick Funeral Service, 235 Main Street, New London, N.H., was in charge of arrangements.