Donna Lou Reel

Date of Passing:

December 2, 2021

Donna Lou Reel, 85, devoted nurse and loyal friend, died peacefully on December 2, 2021 under the care of the dedicated staff at Grace Barker Nursing Center in Warren, RI. Donna was born in Wheatland, Indiana but was a long time resident of Rhode Island. She was predeceased by her Mother- Mildred Theriac, her father- Luther Reel, her brother, Ron, her beloved friend- Kate Maher and her Step-Father, Bill Greenwell. She is survived by her cherished friend Liz McGrath, as well as, Dr. Virginia Parker, Sally Ewalt, her dear niece- Diana Wilz of Indiana, many relatives she deeply cared about in Indiana, her treasured friends in Ireland and kind neighbors and friends here in Rhode Island.

Donna was a devoted nurse at Rhode Island Hospital for decades and before that at hospitals in other states. She graduated from St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Indianapolis; received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from R.I. College and her Master’s degree in Nursing from Salve Regina University. She was formerly a Little Sister of the Poor and thoughtfully practiced her religious beliefs throughout her lifetime. Donna found personal renewal in spiritual events, listening to opera, reading histories and mysteries, an avid sports fan and in wide ranging travel with her friend Kate. Donna had an enthusiastic interest in gardening and a deep empathy for rescuing cats. She was a generous benefactor to religious groups and humanitarian causes. She was particularly helpful to the work of the All-Volunteer service for the struggling and homeless guests who are part of the Better Lives RI (Formerly PICA) Soup Kitchen program who is deeply grateful to Donna and Kate for their decades of kind-hearted support.

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday December 7, 2021 from the W. RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside with Calling Hours from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Martha’s Church, Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Flowers are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, it would be greatly appreciated that donations be made to the RI Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, 186 Amaral Street, Riverside, RI, 02915 or Better Lives RI, (Formerly PICA) P.O. Box 5639, Providence, RI, 02903-0639.

Online Condolences


  1. I did not ever meet Donna Lou although she was my 1st cousin, once removed. Her life story was shared with me as I listened to my mother, Shirley Reel, and my Grandmother, Anna Reel, talk about family. I wish I had met her. It is sad to hear that she has passed.

  2. i am so sorry to hear of donna’s passing, donna trained me as a nigh rn years ago, she was consistant, kind, funny, after she retired she set out to paint her home always busy, independent and amazing,

  3. Rip Donna, it is with great sadness to hear of Donna’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with Donna and she was a dedicated, caring person. Prayers to all those who loved her. Heaven has truly gained a beautiful angel ?

  4. It was with great sadness that Paddy and I learned of Donna’s passing but it was good to know that her suffering, that she bore with great dignity, had come to an end. Our friendship with Donna began many years ago when she came to Ireland on vacation with Kate, I found her to be kind, caring and good fun. It didn’t take her long to become one of the family. The children loved her and called her Auntie Donna, I will always be grateful to her for generosity to my family. Donna had a strong bond with Kate, they were kind to so many people on so many different levels, I would like to think they are now re-united in Heaven. Finally a word of thanks to Liz and Sally who took care of them both with love and kindness. May Donna’s gentle soul rest in peace, home at last.

  5. We were very saddened to hear of Aunt Donna’s passing and would like to extend condolences to her many friends, her family, her niece Diana and in particular Liz and Sally who took such great care of her and Aunt Kate in their later years. As others have so eloquently said Donna was simply a wonderful person and anyone who was fortunate to have her in their lives was indeed very blessed.

  6. It was with real sadness that we learnt of Donna’s passing last week. Both she and Kate were amazing aunts to have as children growing up in Ireland. The timing of Donna’s passing is very poignant for my sisters, brother and I. Every Christmas when we were kids, we would always look forward with great excitement towards the many generous presents, clothes, sneakers and candy that Donna and Kate would send over to us. It always felt amazingly special to receive gifts which were not always available in Ireland, and will forever remain one of my treasured memories of them both, and they will always be in our hearts. Love and prayers to Liz, Sally, Gal and all her friends in the US.

  7. I guess Heaven, now has their beautiful Angel back .❤️ Aunt Donna was a beautiful lady with a beautiful kind spirit. ?I have lots of memories of her in my life that are filled with love and laughter ?. I will always remember my beautiful Aunt Donna with love in her eyes and a mischievous smile.?❤️ I take confert knowing she and Lovely Aunt Kate are now back together again ?❤️

  8. We were so saddened to hear of the passing of Donna. Donna was one of the kindest, most genuine and nicest person you could meet. She always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. We have many good memories of holidays we spent with herself and Kate in RI and when they came over to Dublin for our wedding. We were so grateful we could finally get over to the States to visit Donna only a few short weeks ago and we were able to spent some time with her which we will always cherish.
    Our deepest sympathies to Liz, Sal and her many close friends

  9. I worked with Donna for 15 years. She was a fabulous nurse! She lived her life with loving compassion and kindness towards everyone. I’m grateful for her friendship, as she made me a better person for knowing her.

  10. Donna took me, a VERY green intern at Rhode Island Hospital, under her (guardian angel) “wing” in 1976 and lovingly watched over the Parker family ever since. She was our children’s “local aunt”. Christmas certainly was her season, and I rejoice that she is with Kate and her own family in heaven to celebrate it this year. Donna was the personification of joy and love. She was the best nurse that I ever worked with.

  11. Donna most certainly left the world a better place though her compassion, patience, dedication to those less fortunate, and the gift of her smile. I am sure she will shine brightly among God’s angels.

  12. Donna is the perfect personification of the best traits of mankind. I first knew her years ago when as an intern she would CHEERFULLY and EMPATHETICALLY help in any way she could. She could place an IV in a patient with no veins and leave both the intern and patient smiling. She was always positive, upbeat, intelligent, and the consummate professional. The last time I saw Donna she was enjoying this time of year at a Carol fest. Christmas is her season as it represents peace, hope, love, and giving. The world needs more like her.

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