Donna M WatkinsJuly 28, 1956 ~ August 5, 2017 (age 61)
Donna Marie Watkins (Nee Fiebelkorn), 61, of Millersville, MD passed on Saturday, August 5 at home surrounded by family after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She is survived by her husband Andrew; children Nicole, Zachary and Daniel; siblings Debbie (and Thomas) Madill, David (and Mary) Fiebelkorn of Buffalo, NY and Douglas (and Andrew Hall) Fiebelkorn of Boston, MA.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Donna was born in Williamsville, NY, the third child of Mary Zehler and Kenneth R. Fiebelkorn. She grew up working in her parent’s dry cleaner and she graduated from Nardin Academy in Buffalo. She received her BA in French from the University of Colorado Boulder after having previously attended SUNY Cortland, International Exchange at Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the University of Buffalo, and a Semester at Sea.
She married Hervè Aymond of Bordeaux, France, in 1983 and lived in Saarbrücken (Germany), Bordeaux, Luxemburg and Brussels until 1989. She moved to Boston, MA when her marriage ended. She received a Certificate of Study in Business from Harvard University where she met and, in 1992, married, Andrew Watkins, in her brother Doug’s historic home on the common in Salem, MA. Donna and Andrew moved frequently early in their marriage. Nicole, 24, was born in Boston; Zachary, 22, was born in Chicago; and Daniel, 20 was born in Paris, France. (All three children were born with midwifes; Nicole in a birthing center, Zachary and Daniel at home. Donna refused any medications.) Upon return to the United States, Donna and her family moved to Natick, MA for 2 years.
Donna moved to the Severna Park area in 2002 and she graciously welcomed her late Mother-in-Law into her home (for 11 years) as she became involved in her three children’s activities as a Girl Scout cookie mom, Boy Scout chaperone and “soccer mom.” Her two adult sons (and husband) are routinely seen officiating competitive soccer matches throughout the region. She and her family are active members of the Grachur Club in Pasadena.
Donna was an ardent Francophone and shared a deep love of French wine and food with her husband Andrew. She was also a fan of live theatre. Donna and Andrew began their love affair with theatre with student productions when they were at Harvard and have continued a love of Shakespeare as subscribers to the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC., as well as stops at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, VA on their way to visit their son Zach at Virginia Tech. Donna was a “collector.” She believed a woman could never have too much jewelry. And that applied to clothes, shoes and hand bags as well.
Donna became an avid gardener and transformed her sterile yard into an extensive floral landscape. She accomplished all this while working as a certified Health Assistant at Glen Burnie Park Elementary School and as a Jewelry Associate at Kohl’s in Severna Park.
Throughout her life, Donna traveled extensively; having visited every continent except South America and Antarctica. She was an enthusiastic photographer documenting her travels. She was especially close to her brother Doug, with whom she traveled often. In the words of one of her good friends and another frequent travel partner, (Mitzi who she met while on exchange in Switzerland), “Donna knew no distance.” Regardless of where she lived or traveled, she always made friends and kept in life-long contact with those people. She was one of the rare people that actually hand-wrote letters on a regular and frequent basis. Whether it be the very special friendship she developed with the girl she met when she was 12 years old on a youth bowling team, (MaryKay—who would serve over 20 years later as her Matron of Honor in her wedding to Andrew), or exchanging Christmas gifts, 40 years later, with the girl she met as a Campfire girl (Pam), or visiting, 40 years later, the girl she worked with in her parents’ dry cleaner (Linda), or visiting, just 2 weeks ago, with a friend from high school (Marilyn), or visiting in Virginia, the expatriate wife she met as an expatriate wife at a playground in Paris (Shudba), or hosting visitors from Europe years after she’d left (Patricia, and her daughter, Sarah), or making a “side trip” (from Venice) to see her friend in Portugal (Claude), or inviting a long-time friend from Brussels to accompany her on part of her 60th birthday trip (Karen—who traveled regularly from Europe to visit her), Donna was unique.
“Knew no distance.” No matter where she was living or traveling, or how her health may have declined, Donna always returned to Buffalo for what mattered most: family and friends. At each visit, she made sure to see those lifelong friends; and there were plenty of opportunities. In addition to the bi-annual trips for the holidays and family reunions, through the years they included the christening of her niece and god-daughter, April Madill Woodford, and later her wedding; niece Candace Madill Freyberger’s weddings, nephew Eric Fiebelkorn’s wedding; niece Dawn Madill Plumb’s wedding; niece Tina Fiebelkorn Day’s wedding; niece Robyn Fiebelkorn DiPaola’s wedding; and friends MaryKay’s and Marilyn’s weddings. She traveled to New York for Mitzi’s daughter’s bat mitzvah and regularly to Boston and Provincetown to visit her brother Doug.
Despite the debilitating effects of her illness over the last several years, Donna continued to work part-time, garden and travel. She cruised to Alaska with 28 of her family members; cruised the Mediterranean with her immediate family and her siblings and their spouses; and she completed a Danube River Cruise with her husband, her siblings and their spouses just weeks prior to her death. She had been working diligently with Nicole planning her daughter’s upcoming fall wedding and even managed to travel to Buffalo for Nicole’s wedding shower and a family reunion the weekend prior to her passing. Donna was a fighter. Donna was loyal.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather at the family owned and operated MCCULLY-POLYNIAK FUNERAL HOME, P.A. 3204 Mountain Road PASADENA on Sunday, August 13 from 3PM-5PM and 7PM-9PM. A Funeral Service will be celebrated there Monday, August 14 at 11 AM with a luncheon to immediately follow at the Grachur Club in Pasadena (directions will be provided at the service). No Committal; cremation services to follow. The family requests donations to Leslie’s Week (lesliesweek.org) or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (nationalmssociety.org) in lieu of flowers.