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GALLAGHER, Donna M. (Jewell) Lindley, age 84, died peacefully under hospice care at her home in Darrtown on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.
The second daughter of Paul Morton and Myrtle Christine (Gault) Jewell; Donna was the middle child of five, born on July 13, 1939. She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers Paul Leo “Pete” Jewell and George Kenneth “Georgie” Jewell, and two sisters, JoAnn (Jewell) Coombs and Melva Kay (Jewell) Ward, sister-in-law Barbara (Spivey) Jewell, and two brothers-in-law, Charles “Charlie” Ward and William “Bill” Coombs.
Donna attended The McGuffey School in Oxford throughout her childhood and was a member of the first graduating class of Talawanda High School in 1957. While at school, she played sports and was captain of the girls’ basketball team, having been taught how to play competitively by her brother Pete while living on their farm on Oxford-Milford Rd. It was family knowledge that up into her mid-70’s Donna could still outshoot younger players in a game of H.O.R.S.E. basketball.
A lifelong member of Darrtown United Methodist Church, Donna began piano lessons in 1945 at age 6 and began playing the piano and organ in church services at the age of 14. In August of 2022, the church recognized Donna for her dedication and faithfulness in playing the church organ and piano for nearly 70 years.
Donna worked for The Apothecary Shop in Oxford as a young person and joined the staff of Home Federal Bank after high school graduation.
In 1959 she married Fred A. Lindley at Western College in Oxford, and they had three children who attended Marie Schmidt Elementary School in Collinsville and Stewart Junior High School, before graduating from Talawanda High School in 1979, 1981, and 1985.
In the early 1970’s Donna was employed by the Talawanda School District to be the assistant principal’s secretary at Talawanda High School (THS), a position she enjoyed and held for 27.5 years before retiring to care for her aging parents.
While at THS, Donna recruited and trained many high school students to be her office workers, many of whom still speak of her patience and kindness toward them as she encouraged them to reach high levels of professionalism in the school office. Donna’s smile and sense of humor was often appreciated by teachers, staff, and the three generations of students she served.
She was an encouragement to young people and her home was always open to the friends of her three children. Donna rarely missed watching them play sports or perform in plays or concerts.
Following her retirement, Talawanda recognized Donna by selecting her to be a Grand Marshal for a Homecoming Parade in 1998 through the streets of Oxford, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
During her life, Donna was a member of Darrtown United Methodist Women, the Talawanda Garden Club, the Seven Mile Chapter of the Pythian Sisters, various bowling teams, and part of a group of Talawanda School District secretaries who met for monthly lunches when school was out.
On Saturdays and during summers Donna helped her parents in their clothing business, The Workingman’s Store on Heaton St. in Hamilton. In the 1970’s as a single mother, she also took in ironing and typed dissertation papers for Miami University doctoral students.
On Oct. 12, 1985, Donna and THS industrial arts teacher and driving instructor Shawn M. Gallagher married at Darrtown Methodist Church, and they continued their life together in Darrtown for the next 38 years.
In addition to their employment with Talawanda School District, the couple built a home business called Gallagher’s Wooden Crafts and enjoyed traveling across several states with the thriving business for many years. They were also both Life Benefactor members of the conservation organization, the Izaak Walton League of America.
In their retirement years, Donna and Shawn enjoyed spending part of their winter in Ellenton Garden Resort in Florida, where they made many friendships and helped with organizing special events for the residents in the RV Park.
Late in her life Donna’s talent was developed for writing poetry that celebrated people within the Darrtown community and among her family, which was expanded to include many who were not related by blood or marriage to her. She was often called upon to write something and used her wit and love for others to convey her feelings of gratitude.
Donna was known for her humor, kindness, and remarkable generosity, which was especially expressed in baking for others. She had a collection of tins in which she would place a dozen or two of someone’s favorite homemade cookies or fudge and would deliver them with the reminder that if they returned the tin to her then they could receive another batch later.
Greatly missed by her family and friends, Donna is survived by her husband Shawn Gallagher of Darrtown, her three children and their spouses, daughter Lori Ann (Lindley) and husband John Clendinning of Brandon, Mississippi, son Scott and wife Maria (Garafalo) Lindley of Hamilton, Ohio, and son Michael “Mike” and wife Pam (Shearer) Lindley of Hamilton, Ohio.
Donna enjoyed her eight grandchildren and their spouses: Corey John Clendinning of Brandon, Mississippi; Jenna Christine (Clendinning) and husband Randy Nathan Rodgers of Fulton, Mississippi; Patrick David and wife Megan (Sams) Clendinning of Hamilton, Ohio; Carmen Marisa Lindley of Hamilton; Francesca Elizabeth Lindley of Oxford, Ohio; and Gabriella Claire Lindley of Charlotte, No. Carolina; Ryan Tucker Lindley of Athens, Ohio; and Reese Nicole Lindley of Cleveland, Ohio.
She is missed by her five great-grandchildren: Naomi Alizah, Miriam Ruth, Selah Grace, Elijah Elliott, and Charlotte Elizabeth “Lottie Beth” Rodgers, of Fulton, Mississippi, as well as her brother-in-law and his wife, Gordon and Leah Gallagher of Red Lodge, Montana, and former sister-in-law and husband Betty and Jack Daniels of Hamilton, Ohio.
Donna adored her nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, as well as cousins and second cousins from both of the Jewell and Gault families.
She is missed by the many children, young adults, life-long friends, and neighbors that she loved through the years, many of whom she counted as “adopted children” or additional brothers or sisters. Among these are her “sister” Myra Krauth, and “daughters” Kim Ogle and Della Rumpler.
A celebration of Donna Gallagher’s life will be held on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at Darrtown United Methodist Church, beginning with visitation at 10 a.m., and the service led by Pastor Chris Trumbull at noon. A brief graveside service will be held immediately following at Darrtown Cemetery, followed by a meal lovingly offered by Donna’s friends at Darrtown United Methodist Church.
The family especially thanks the nursing staff of Summit Home Health Care and Crossroads Hospice Care for their kindness to Donna, Shawn, and the rest of the family as she came to the end of her life.
Memorial gifts may be offered to either:
Darrtown United Methodist Church, 4309 Walnut St., Oxford, OH 45056, or the Milford Township Fire Association, P.O. Box 55, Collinsville, OH 45004.