CARTHAGE, NY – Donna M. Ross, 88, passed peacefully in the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, at the Carthage Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, where she had been a resident for several years.
Born Jan. 9, 1933, in Carthage, she was the second of 4 children born to Deforest Lansing (DL) and Marion Reed.
Donna’s teenage years were selflessly spent caring for her sick mother, but she was still able to earn her high school diploma from Carthage Central School. Sadly, her mother passed away on graduation day, leaving her as the caretaker for her 2 younger sisters, one of whom was only 7 years old. This was the beginning to her acting as a mother to all in many ways throughout the remainder of her life.
Donna met her first husband, Jack while he was in the military, headed for Korea and stationed at Camp Drum. They met in a local soda shop and it was love at first sight. The couple later moved to Carthage and had 2 children, before relocating to Jack’s hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1958. There, the couple had 3 more children, Shelli, Jackie and Holly. During her time there, she worked as an executive secretary for IBM and the Thomas Jefferson Hospital, all while keeping the fires burning at home.
In 1967, she returned to the Carthage area with her family in tow. Here, she concentrated on raising her five children and getting back in touch with her extended family. She worked for the Village of West Carthage and drove a school bus for the Carthage Central School District for 12 years. Donna loved the north country and appreciated the beauty and serenity it provided.
In 1996, her beloved husband, Jack Ross passed away. By this time, Donna was a grandmother, devoting herself to the next generation. She worked at the Rite Aid in West Carthage during this period. She married again in 2008 to Herbert Craft of Carthage. Herbert predeceased her in 2010.
Donna was the adoring mother to Jeffrey, John, Shelli, Jacqueline and Holly. She also had nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her husbands, John (Jack) T. Ross and Herbert Craft; a daughter Holly Ross Newton who died unexpectedly in 2016; a brother, Francis Reed; and two sisters, Karen Getman and Joann Zando.
Survivors include four children, Jeffrey (Denise) Ross of Scarsdale, NY; John Ross of Syracuse, NY; Shelli (Dennis) McIlroy of West Carthage, NY; and Jacqueline (Thomas) Harper of Carthage, NY; four half-siblings, Lance Reed of Carthage, NY; Linda (Mark) Stackel of Rutland, NY, David Reed of Carthage, NY; and Wayne (Marion) Reed of Natural Bridge, NY.
Donna had a joyful spirit, was a lover of people and they, in turn loved her. She always had a kind word for everyone. Her house, especially the kitchen, was the center of all family functions. Holidays and special events were spent there with Donna as the head cook, host and event coordinator all rolled into one. She was a ball of energy and never stopped feeding and taking care of others. She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren and was always willing to keep an eye on (and spoil) them. Donna and her late daughter Holly shared a great love of cats and between them had half a dozen around the house. Donna also loved to drive and travel when she could, in fact she raced a stock car in Powder Puff Derby’s in her late teen years.
Her indomitable, hearty spirit, unending kindness and unconditional love will be missed by all who knew her.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held once the pandemic subsides at a date, time and location to be announced. Burial will be held in the Spring in Fairview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Carthage Food Pantry (carthagefoodpantry.org) or the charity of one’s choice in Donna’s memory.
Arrangements are with Lundy Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Inc.
condolences can be made online at www.lundyfuneralhome.com.