Donna Rae (Dernovich) McAvoy
|Posted 2021-04-05 by mhenderson|
|Published in The Arizona Republic from Apr. 2 to Apr. 4, 2021 -|
Phoenix, Arizona -
Donna Rae Dernovich McAvoy 87, passed away peacefully with family who
loved her by her side on January 4, 2021. Donna, born in Chariton,
Iowa, moved often as a coal miner's daughter, throughout Iowa, Wyoming
and Utah. After returning to Iowa, she attended and graduated from
Charition High School in 1951 and attended Eastern Illinois State
In 1955, she moved to Arizona. In 1959, Donna joined Epsilon Sigma
Alpha a philanthropic organization as a Beta Gamma. During her 62 year
membership, she held many offices, within the local chapter, and on
the Arizona Council, including State President, and was dubbed,
several times, Woman of the Year. She was a strong supporter of St
Jude's Childrens Research Hospital and Easter Seals. She organized
walks, golf tournaments, radio-thons and numerous other events to
support these organizations and was proud that ESA was the largest 3rd
party donor to St Jude's. She also served as Legal Secretary to local
attorney Marvin Johnson for 60 years.
Donna was extraordinary in everything she did - she demonstrated a
love and passion for life, like none other. Always up for a new
adventure, she even went on a snorkeling trip, off the coast of Kauai,
and she didn't even know how to swim!! An avid golfer and member of
Women's Golf Clubs, at both Shalimar and Mesa Country Club, Donna was
a dedicated sports fan. There wasn't a player or coach, who wore the
uniform of the Arizona DiamondBacks or Arizona Cardinals, that she
didn't know everything about them. However, her true love, was the
Arizona State Sun Devils, for whom she was a season ticket holder for
many years. And you could tell how many games had been on TV the day
before, by the level of Donna's laryngitis. Her hobbies were many. In
addition to golf, she found great pleasure in sewing, bowling,
painting, knitting, reading and her daily crossword puzzle. And she
even earned her "Right Seat" pilot's license.
She had incredible faith and a strong commitment to family. And her
proudest accomplishment, was that of being the Mom to Kimberly and
Michael. With the zeal and pride of a lioness, as a single mom, she
provided a life of wondrous experiences and down-to-earth values, to
With all of her interests, she got the biggest smile, spending time
with her grandkids and great grandkids. A remarkable woman, who
brought joy & light to everyone she met. All who knew her, loved her,
and were better because of it.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents Vance & Louise Dernovich
and brother Vance Dernovich. Donna is survived by her brother Rex
Dernovich(Shirley), her daughter Kimberly Guariglio(George), son
Michael McAvoy (Cheryl), grandchildren Jennifer, Justin, Britni,
Taylor, Nicholas, Austin, Collin and Kaylee, great grandchildren
Dalyn, Carson, Jaxson, Easton, Sutton, Clark and Huxton.
A Celebration of Life Service will be scheduled for April 10, 2021 at
2:00 at First United Methodist Church 15 E First Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210
In lieu of flowers, family is asking donations be made to the Donna
McAvoy Memorial Endowment Foundation for scholarships at ESA
Foundation 363 West Drake Road, Ft Collins, CO 80526
To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Note: These obituaries are transcribed as published and are submitted by volunteers who have no connection to the families. They do not write the obituaries and have no further information other than what is posted within the obituaries. We do not do personal research. For this you would have to find a volunteer who does this or hire a professional researcher.
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