On January 14, 2017 Donna Marie Harrison Bennett passed peacefully in her home from complications of Multiple System Atrophy.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 14th, 1945 to Theresa and Richard Harrison, who at the time, was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Donna was raised in North Canton, Ohio where she graduated from Hoover High School in 1963. She then went on to graduate from Kent State with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences. Later in life, Donna earned her PhD in Education from The University of Akron. She pursued her first teaching position at Cuyahoga Community College, then took a break after Trista was born to spend time with her family, and then open and run a flower and macramé shop, Ferns & Fringe. Several years later, she pursued her Doctorate in Education, while teaching at Wayne College and Kent State Tusc. After receiving her Degree, she accepted a position at Stark State where she rose to Professor and assumed a leadership position in the faculty. In addition to her teaching, she was also actively involved in her daughter’s sports and other school activities.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter Christine Jeanette Hoel. She is survived by her devoted husband David, her loving daughters Trista Marie Hoel Hughes (Martyn), Danell Bennett (Chris Quicci) and Lesia Bennett. Also survived by her grandchildren, Ady and Rhys Hughes, Autumn and Dominic Greco and Nico Quicci. Surviving siblings include Richard “Bill” Harrison (Kathy), Keith Harrison (Sue), Pamela McManus (John), Brian Harrison (Jacalyn), Monica Smith (Forrest), and Mary Harrison (Doug Hettinger). Donna is also survived by Trista and Christine’s father, Steve Hoel, and her long time Flamingo Girlfriends, High School Girlfriends (Junior Birdmen), as well as countless relatives and friends from all over the world.
Donna’s interests included nature, education, art, music, gardening, books, crossword puzzles and most of all travel. During their 20 years together, Donna and Dave traveled to all 50 states and many countries including Madagascar where they saw a Total Solar Eclipse, The Galapagos Islands, and Slovenia. Tahiti and the Rhine River Cruise in France and Germany were Road Scholar Trips, a memorable Dinosaur Dig Elder Hostel in Wyoming and countless Road Trek rallies all over the country kept Donna and Dave busy! After a turbulent adventure in the Grand Canyon, Donna was rewarded with five trips to Paris! 2016 included “The Summer of Joy” with a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina and Donna’s Best Christmas Ever.
Donna was an inspiration to all and taught us about life, living, and dying with dignity and joy. The family would like to thank the compassionate and caring staffs of Community Hospice of Tuscarawas County and Foster Bridge of New Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, a contribution in Donna’s memory may be made to Brain Support Network, through which Donna worked diligently to make sure that her brain was donated. In her words, “It is important to me to make sense of the hideous disease I am afflicted with. I have decided to donate my brain for scientific research.” Other organizations for donations include The MSA Coalition and Community Hospice.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 19th at 3:00 pm in the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home and Crematory at Dover with Deacon Lyn Houze officiating. Friends may call at the funeral home one hour prior to the service on Thursday. Those wishing to express their fondest memories of Donna may do so by visiting the online obituaries and flowers link on the funeral homes website at www.tolandherzig.com