DONNA MAE TUBBS June 26, 2016
Few of you were privileged to meet my mother. Mom lived in our community, with me, for only four short months. With Mom’s consent, my brother, sister, and I brought her to White Rock from Pennsylvania, where my siblings live and Mom lived her entire life. Our mutual goal was for Mom to have the best quality of life for as long as possible.
Over the thirty-six years I have lived here, Mom visited many times. We shared great adventures during her visits, throughout New Mexico, into Colorado, and as far west as the Grand Canyon. Mom admired the mission and work of Best Friends Animal Society, and so on our circuit of the southwest I took us to Kanab, Utah, too. Visiting Best Friends brought both of us a great deal of shared joy.
We all hoped that Mom’s familiarity with my home and our community would bring her peace and comfort. But I was her only family here. The isolation from her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and close friends was painful and confusing for Mom. She was growing very tired, and her health was failing.
Despite her hardships, Mom’s sense of humor and wish always to return a kindness with her smile never failed. Doctor Bridge told Mom a joke when she first visited his office in February. The joke began: How did the mathematician solve his constipation? Despite her exhaustion that day, to the point that her nose was almost in her lap, a great smile crossed Mom’s face and her shoulders shook in hearty laughter when Doctor Bridge delivered the punch line: He worked it out with a pencil.
My siblings came to White Rock in May so that we together could honor Mom on her 88th birthday. During their short visit, Mom’s world became familiar, peaceful, and joyful once again, as we celebrated Mom and cared for her as a family. Mom told us it was the best birthday she ever experienced.
In a quiet moment one night before sleep, Mom confided to my sister that she would like to return home. We honored Mom’s wish. We drove together, as a family, nonstop from White Rock to Pennsylvania. Mom was home when she died two weeks later, with her three children at her bedside throughout her final hours.
After returning Mom home, in a quiet moment alone before her final decline, as we sat together in a beautiful garden, I shared with her my deepest gratitude and respect for her profound courage to travel so very far to live with me. And I told Mom I believe this was our greatest adventure together. I looked up into Mom’s eyes as her tired shoulders bent forward, and she nodded yes, and smiled to me. The four short months that Mom lived with me are my treasure and extraordinary privilege. I lifted Mom, and held her, and protected her, and loved and cared for her in every way, just as she did for me a lifetime ago.
What follows in this remembrance of Mom is the obituary that my sister, brother, and I composed for her local newspapers in Pennsylvania. In sharing our words, I hope you might know Mom a wee bit better.
With sincere gratitude for your friendships with Mom and your kindness to her,
We, the children of Donna Mae Tubbs, are heartbroken to announce the death of our mother on Sunday 26 June 2016. Following a severe stroke in March of 2015, our mother’s final year was for her a difficult struggle of loss, rehabilitation, transition, and transformation, from which both her body and her spirit never truly recovered. Donna has found peace, at last. She has entered the Kingdom of God and is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On 19 May 1928, Donna was born the youngest of three children to Laura Mae and Samuel Cruikshank of Curwensville, Pennsylvania. Preceded in death by her parents, brother, and sister, our mother is the last in her family lineage.
Many times our mother recalled to us with deep fondness the magical childhood she experienced within a loving, nurturing family and a safe and sharing community. Among her most treasured memories was play with friends under the one, arc street-light on Bloomington Avenue. Our mother’s values, beliefs, and strength of character were first shaped within the safety and joys of her childhood. It is sweet to hope that she is running once again with her friends under the arc lamp.
Our mother and father, Dudley Tubbs, were married on 14 July 1949. Son David was born in 1951, daughter Debra in 1954, and son Dana in 1958. Donna’s four grandchildren are Scott and Steven, sons of Dana and wife Pamela, and Sarah and Joshua, children of Debra and husband Jeffrey Sykes. Donna’s great-grandchildren are Nicholas, Jaidyn, and Allianna, children of Sarah, and Sophia, Cecilia, and Greyson, children of Scott and Danielle Tubbs. Our mother’s pride in her lineage cannot be measured within this brief remembrance.
In the autumn of 1959, our father’s job location changed. We said goodbye to our special, little house on Pennsylvania Avenue, which our mother loved and never wanted to leave, and we moved to a farm south of Luthersburg. The remainder of Donna’s life was reshaped by this transition. She lived on the farm for 56 years, alone after our father’s death in 1973 and until her stroke. The isolation and loneliness were hardships for Donna as she aged, yet she would not leave.
For 28 years, Donna was employed by DuBois Middle School as Attendance Office Administrative Assistant. She was proud of her career, as the perfection of her contributions attested. She reached far beyond her responsibilities to help the students who passed her way and the colleagues with whom she worked. In so doing, she touched and enriched their lives in ways which many remember even today.
Family and faith were the focal points of our mother’s life. To both, she gave her devotion and greatest sacrifices. Our mother’s favorite day was Sunday. She loved to teach, most especially both young and adult Sunday schools, beginning as a teenager and continuing until her stroke. Combining her loves of public speaking and teaching, Donna trained and faithfully maintained her certification as a lay speaker within her church community. Donna was proud and honored following her stroke to be made Lay Speaker Emeritus within the United Methodist Church.
Donna was a self-taught musician, and she played both piano and organ for the Luthersburg Methodist Church. Our mother loved and was thoroughly knowledgeable in classical music.
Our mother’s sharp intellect and warm wit were paired with deeply emotional insight. She loved people. She loved animals. Our mother enriched not only the lives of many dogs and cats that she rescued and nurtured but also her own life by the companionship of the creatures she so loved.
Our mother strove to offend no one. To this purpose, she chose her words and behavior in the pursuit of kindness and forgiveness. Donna’s courage and determination were profound, and no more clearly revealed than in the final year of her life. She treasured her independence. She rarely asked others for help, yet she offered herself generously wherever possible to her family and throughout her community. Our mother was devastated to be robbed by stroke of this independence.
We, Donna’s children, ask that in lieu of flowers, family and friends make donations to serve both her community and her beloved causes. Most especially, please consider the following organizations: Brady Township Volunteer Fire, Rescue, and Ambulance Company, Inc (P.O. Box 157, Luthersburg, PA 15848); and Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill animal rescue and sanctuary (bestfriends.org, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741). Your kindness is all Donna would request, and in this way you perpetuate her kindness, her love and generosity, and the gentle grace of her soul.