Donna Lee McDaniel Skovlin, 84, of Cove, passed away Aug. 14, 2015 in La Grande. For three years she had been treated for multiple myeloma. She was born on July 10, 1931 to Lawton Emerson and Florence (Coleman) McDaniel in Wallowa.
Donna was raised in Wallowa and graduated from Wallowa High (1949) and Oregon State College (1953) where she was a Kappa Alpha Theta. While in college she met Jon Matthew Skovlin, of Enterprise, and they were married in Wallowa on June 22, 1952 and enjoyed 61 years together.
Donna had a life marked by adventure. She and Jon started their journey together as wilderness guards and fire lookouts in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains. Together they had four children who they took to live in Kenya for three years and immersed herself in the culture. Donna was a great organizer; orchestrating travel to 55 countries where she developed a keen interest in cultures and natural history, and a special love of birds.
Proud to be from Wallowa County, Donna enjoyed it often. Just 6 weeks before she passed away she hiked 9 miles with her family into the Minam. She loved camping, hiking, huckleberrying, mushrooming, and birding. She passed the love and concern for the natural world as her legacy to her children and grandchildren.
She and Jon enjoyed researching and compiling regional history. They wrote four books about people, places and events that shaped local history. She also wrote multiple chronicles of her family’s history.
A lover of life, people, and family her humble strength, courage, and compassion was the glue that held together so many people. She made many people feel loved and she connected to their world.
Donna is survived by her son, Kirk and wife Laura, Enterprise; and daughters, Lisa Eriksen and husband Tom, Elko, Nev.; Meleah Ashford and husband Scott, Corvallis; and Kelly Skovlin and husband Don McAllister, La Grande. She is also survived by ten grandchildren, and brothers, Richard McDaniel and wife Nan, La Grande, Doug McDaniel and wife Gail, Lostine, and sister-in-law Noma, Lostine. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister Dagget “Dee” Hays, and her brother Keith McDaniel.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, Sept. 13, at 11 a.m. in Founders Hall at the Cove Ascension School, 1006 Church St., Cove, OR. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Wallowa History Center or Habitat for Humanity.