Mrs. Mildred Geraldine (Gerry) Robinson Donaldson of Smith Run Road, passed away peacefully at 10:45 a.m., at her home on December 14, 2017, surrounded by her family.
Mrs. Donaldson was born on March 16, 1930, in Ritchie County, WV.
At the age of 11, she moved with her family to Smith Run in Lewis County, where her father purchased and then operated Robinson’s Dairy. She lived on Smith Run, either with her parents or in her own home, for the next 76 years. During her last many years, she lived beside her daughter and son-in-law, Patty and Richard Smith, who lovingly assisted in her personal care and in the upkeep of her home and property.
Mrs. Donaldson was preceded in death by her husband, Gene Donaldson, who passed away on their 55th wedding anniversary (November 10, 2006). She was also preceded in death by her parents, Andrew Glenn and Goldie Robinson, her son Gregory Donaldson, and by her sister, Eloise Robinson McDougal.
Mrs. Donaldson is survived by three children: Peggy Donaldson Smith and husband Michael, Gary Donaldson and wife Gracie, and Patricia (Patty) Ann Smith and husband Richard, all of Weston.
She is also survived by nine grandchildren, including: Melissa Arbogast Riley, Robert Donaldson and wife Missy, Leslie Donaldson and fiance, Brian Keith Toothman, Marlea Donaldson, Jennifer McMillen, Lee Ann Whorton and husband Luke, Eric Smith and wife Britni, Latasha Donaldson, and Kara Jane Donaldson; and by 16 great-grandchildren, Victoria (Tori) Shea Riley, Jeremiah, Windy, Jasmine, Junior and Jozlyn Donaldson, Anna Basco-McMillen, Katie and Brady Smith, Kaleigh and Gavin Whorton, Leiliana and Aura Smith, Dylan Casto, and Ryder and Sawyer Toothman.
Her family was perpetually surrounded by her unconditional love and affirmation, and the void left by her absence can never be filled. Mrs. Donaldson was an A-student at Weston High School and graduated from there in 1947. She organized her Weston High School class reunions from the time of her high school graduation until her passing.
Mrs. Donaldson was a hard worker and she taught that work ethic to her children. As a child she worked daily on the family dairy farm. The Robinson family had a self-sustaining farm on Smith Run that included milk cows, large vegetable gardens, berries and orchards. While a student in high school she arose every morning at 4 a.m. to milk cows and then deliver milk to homes in Lewis County before she attended school. After school she worked in the office at the Weston City Hospital.
Following her high school graduation, she went to work in the office at the Colonial Glass Factory. It was there that she met her future husband, Gene Donaldson. After their marriage, Mrs. Donaldson was a stay-at-home mom until her children were all in school. She then began employment at the Weston State Hospital, where she worked as the executive assistant to the director of the hospital. She retired in 1990.
Mrs. Donaldson loved her co-workers from the Weston State Hospital and took great pleasure in seeing them after her retirement. Their universal response upon seeing Mrs. Donaldson was “She is one of the sweetest ladies I ever knew” and “she always has a smile on her face.”
Mrs. Donaldson took classes at West Virginia Wesleyan College when her children were in college there.
Mrs. Donaldson had been a member of the St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church for 62 years, and prior to that belonged to the Smith Run Methodist Church. She was a 60-year member of the Order of Eastern Star Chapter No. 40, Weston, WV and served as Worthy Matron. She was also a member of the Lewis County Democratic Women’s Group.
She was active as a leader and volunteer in a variety of activities with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including their academic, sporting, extracurricular and church activities. She assisted with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownie Scouts, Girl Scouts, and was the parent leader of the MYF at St. Matthew United Methodist Church for many years.
Mrs. Donaldson was a 4-H leader in Lewis County for many years. She and her husband were the founding leaders of the Smith Run Colts 4-H Club. When her children were in 4-H, she and her husband always took a week of their personal vacation time to stay at Jackson’s Mill with their children and other 4-Hers where they served as cottage counselors and instructional leaders at 4-H camp. With her children and grandchildren, she won many 4-H honors, such as the State Feeder Calf Championship and many other state awards at Jackson’s Mill and at the West Virginia State Fair. She was also a volunteer counselor at Lewis County High School band camp.
The farm that Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson owned on Smith Run was the Lewis County Farm Bureau Farm of the Year in 1966.
For many years following their respective retirements, Mrs. Donaldson and her husband traveled extensively throughout the United States in their motor home. They enjoyed traveling and camping with their many friends in the West Virginia Pioneer Travelers No. 200 Club. They were also avid Harley Davidson motorcycle riders.
Mrs. Donaldson and her husband, accompanied by their son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Gracie Donaldson, traveled several times to Scotland, England and Ireland and to many places in the United States.
After her husband’s death, Mrs. Donaldson became the manager for her daughter’s many campaigns for the West Virginia House of Delegates. After her daughter’s first election to the state legislature, Mrs. Donaldson worked daily as a volunteer legislative assistant in her daughter’s office at the state capitol. She accompanied her daughter to all official and political functions and was known affectionately by delegates, senators and by three governors as “Mom.” At one time her daughter fretted that one of her bills had passed through the Legislature but had not yet been signed into law by the governor. Mrs. Donaldson sought out the governor at a political function one evening and whispered to him: “Peggy just has that one little bill that hasn’t been signed into law yet.” The next morning when Mrs. Donaldson arrived at the capitol, the bill (The West Virginia Day of Prayer bill) had been signed by the governor and it is now the law of our state.
As a tribute to her service to our state, Mrs. Donaldson made a member of the West Virginia Order of the 35th Star in a ceremony conducted by Governor Joe Manchin on March 16, 2010 (on Mrs. Donaldson’s 80th birthday) in the rotunda of the West Virginia state capitol. The ceremony was attended by Governor Manchin and many members of his staff, the Speaker of the House, President of the State Senate, senators, delegates, other state officials and members of the public.
The family prayed for loving and professional care for Mrs. Donaldson during her final illness. They express deepest appreciation and love to God’s angels, including Sandra Rutherford, Judy Paugh, Maxine Cole, Pearl Lattea, Terry McCue and Betty Mitchell. There are no words that can adequate express the family’s feelings and their love for these fine Christian women.
Visitation will be held at the Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Rd. In Jane Lew from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, 2017. Visitation will also be held at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston from 10-11 a.m. on Monday, December 18, 2017. Funeral Services will follow at 11 a.m. with Reverend Tim Conrad officiating. Entombment will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Jane Lew.
The Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored and privileged to serve the family of Mildred Geraldine “Gerry” Robinson Donaldson. Online condolences may be expressed at www.patboylefuneralhome.com.