By story submitted on June 15, 2021
On December 10, 1948, a comet crossed the skies, scorched our atmosphere, and landed in Charleston, WV. Donna Hanna-Walker was born. Growing up on the West Side, she graduated from Morris Harvey College with a BA in History, followed by an MA in History at WVU. Even in college, she embraced a life at large, volunteering in the summers with the underprivileged in Alaska, Florida, an Arizona reservation, and San Francisco. Refusing to pursue her doctorate, she began her professional life and over the years has been a model, paralegal, modeling trainer, wine retailer, assistant commissioner of insurance and therapist for children with autism. After retiring from the state, she returned to college and obtained her Masters certificate in Behavioral Therapy which she used to teach children with dyslexia and those on the spectrum. She and her soul mate Bruce have traveled the world hiding memories, from the tip of South Africa to the top of Alaska, most of Europe and South America and even Russia, when it was still the Soviet Union, and where she almost put her and Bruce under Lubyanka by knocking over an AK-47 carrying Russian Red Guards harassing her. No one could recall a time when she allowed someone to bully her. The flip side was that she loved people and became the topic of conversation in every room she walked in, at the table she sat at, or at the meeting she attended. After moving full time to the OBX, she became even more active. She was already a master gardener, DAR officer and volunteer in many charities in Charleston and has become the same there. She also became an artist and took part in several different competitions at the national and local levels in the fields of painting, crafts, horticulture, salsa and even Mac and Cheese. Just days before her death, on May 25, 2021, she placed second in the Dare County Silver Arts in Visual Arts and qualified for the state finals. Additionally, she was a well-known actress in community theater in Charleston. She has played many leading roles which have received rave reviews on shows such as Broadway favorites “Rumors”, “Moon Over Buffalo”, “A Man for All Seasons”, “The Owl and the Pussycat” , “Mame”, “Misalliance” and “Love Letters” with her husband.
He was left with a small immediate family of blood but left a huge family of heart.
She loved animals and in her memory a fund was established to encourage people to adopt older, abandoned animals by paying their adoption fees and medical bills. Donations can be made to the Donna Hanna-Walker Fund, Outer Banks SPCA, PO Box 2477, Manteo, NC, 27954. She refused to live a small life and wished to live a big one. And my God, has she experienced one!