Doni at Rancho La Puerta
Doni James
  • 67 years old
  • Date of birth: Jul 2, 1943
  • Date of passing: Oct 15, 2010
Our "Star" is shining somewhere else...
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Doni James, 67, born on July 2, 1943 and passed away on October 15, 2010. We will remember her forever.
Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Wendy James on 15th October 2016

"Tomorrow we memorialize the lives of your parents. While preparing the handout for the event I found some great photos to add to your gallery. I wish you were here."

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 1st September 2016

"On your mother's and father's passing - I know how much you wanted to be there for Bernita as she aged and needed care and comfort. She was cared for admirably by many but most especially Bud and Marianne. You would have been surprised to know that Burl passed within hours of Bernita's passing. I have tried to do some of the things I know you would have wanted to do for her. It always feels like too little compared to what I think you would have done. We all still miss you."

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 5th July 2014

"Doni's mother sent this to me on her daughter's 71st birthday. From Bernita Shoemake

A precious, delightful, beautiful girl was born unto me,
years pass, challenges and pain is ours, but we hang on" for as Dorothy Morrison Strande said, "she is a Morrison, she is strong".
The strong becomes weak, though much help we seek,
Then comes the day we must say "good-bye"  (be strong, don't cry)
And here we are--some years later, but still we cry.
God sees and knows, but still we say "why?"

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 2nd July 2014

"Like trees in the forest
our lives are subject to the whims of nature

At any moment
our limbs may be severed
and our insides blackened
by a lightning strike

And then the rain falls to nurture

Droughts come
bringing pestilence and disease
maiming or destroying
some of our congregation

We feel the trials will never end
becoming more burdensome
with each passing day

And then the rain falls like a benediction

The winter storms whip at us
freeze the sap in our veins
and snows weigh on us
until we give

And then the sun shines
the birds sing
and we are reminded
we live"

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 14th November 2011

"It's hard to tell your mind to stop loving someone, when your heart still does.

- Mallory Jones"

This tribute was added by Earlene Chambers on 18th October 2011

"On Oct. 18th, I'm thinking about you and missing you Doni dear.  Thank you for allowing me the gift of visiting you through your long struggle for life while dying.  You were terrific!  You are precious to me.  Thank you, Wendy and Charlie  Love, Cousin Earlene"

This tribute was added by leah turner on 16th October 2011

"Thinking back on what brought us together, it was ALS from the begining I knew she was a very special Lady. She brought so much energy to her struggle, she was a fighter and I grew to love her."

This tribute was added by ROGER CONNOR on 15th October 2011

"Ah Doni, can it be a year since you left us.  I know that you are frolicking in the fields of heaven.  
Roger Connor"

This tribute was added by Maureen Higgins on 15th October 2011

"Our thoughts are with you today, and always. xxx"

This tribute was added by joe orourke on 5th July 2011

"Charlie, Wendy and Deke,
terry and I want to express our heartfelt wishes for peace and relief from your sorrow at Doni's passing. On this her birthday may you know that we are there for you! Much love, Joe and Terry"

This tribute was added by Earlene Chambers on 2nd July 2011

"Doni Dear,
I miss you so much.  And I treasure the many years of memories of our relationship as cousins.  You always ribbed me that I was OLDER than you, but in reality I was only 3 months older.  Thank you, Wendy & Charlie.  Earlene"

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 2nd July 2011

"Happy Birthday, Mom!
You gave me 3 or 4 cards-1 funny, 1 mushy & 1 that was special to us, about the spa or a Laurel Burch cat. You gave  thoughtful gifts, something I might not think I would use. I try to perpetuate that part of you. Love you."

This tribute was added by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on 2nd July 2011

"I think of you so often, Doni, but especially today, your 68th birthday. We miss you and love you. Ellen"

This tribute was added by Sandy Kelly on 2nd July 2011

"Happy Birthday, Doni.  We do so wish you would be here to enjoy it with us. Sandy"

This tribute was added by Shirley Steele on 2nd July 2011

"Dear Doni,
Happy birthday, we continue to miss you and your smile.  Our Salt Lake trip was just not the same, but you were with us in spirit.

This tribute was added by ROGER CONNOR on 2nd July 2011

"Happy Birthday, Doni dear.  I think of you a lot.  I will always remember you.  I liked the times we met at the San Diego Airport when you and your daughter were going to the spa in Mexico.  And it was funny to see you with all your dolls when Chirpy and I visited you and Charlie"

This tribute was added by Wray Brett on 15th December 2010

""Our sincere condolences to Charlie, Wendy, and family with the passing of Doni. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Wray Brett, Chaplain, Gaspar de Portola DAR Chapter"

This tribute was added by Uncle Guinn and Aunt Jo James on 29th October 2010

"Wendy dear, we are so sorry that your mother had to leave you while she was still so young. Bless her heart, she put up such a good fight, but now she walks with the angels and we know has a big smile on her face. Where ever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. With love from, Uncle Guinn and Aunt Jo"

This tribute was added by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on 29th October 2010

"Doni was AWON's DB Queen (DB for database). I was answering email and new-member applications. We emailed across the continent for years, sharing the workload and personal stories, recipes and photos. We were cyber-friends before we met in person. I will miss Doni more than I can say."

This tribute was added by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on 28th October 2010

"Dear Wendy and Charlie,

Doni was a vibrant, wry and witty woman. Whip smart and funny. She was a tireless advocate for AWON, and we loved her for that, but even more we loved her just for being herself. Doni's spirit will always be with me.

Ellen Jones Blackburn"

This tribute was added by Robert Macpherson on 28th October 2010

"Charlie, all of us who worked with Doni will never forget her good spirit, friendly smile and good work.  Doni will not be forgotten.  You and the family are certainly in our hearts and prayers."

This tribute was added by Diane Miller Lassitter on 27th October 2010

"My sincere condolences to Charlie, Wendy, and family with the passing of Doni. She certainly fought a most courageous battle and now is free of all suffering from ALS. There's a special place in my heart for the many contributions Doni made for our AWON organization. May she rest in peace."

This tribute was added by ROGER CONNOR on 27th October 2010


This tribute was added by Dianne Wiegand-Baczynski on 27th October 2010

"Our dear friend, John and I were so happy to have visited you a few months ago.  You are gone from us, but you have touched our hearts during our few years of friendship....You always had your bright smile even during your hard times, we will never forget you.
Dianne & John Baczynski"

This tribute was added by ROGER CONNOR on 26th October 2010

"Doni was a doll.  I said Doan-ee at first but she quickly straightened me out.  She also cautioned me for getting Proud Orphans and AWON mixed up.  A bright, funny, courageous, enormously talented woman has gone from our sight but not our hearts.  She was dedicated to AWON as only a few have been.  I trust that she is with the Lord -- no more disease, no more tears."

This tribute was added by Earlene Chambers on 26th October 2010

"With a heart full of memories and love for my winsome cousin, Doni, I thank Aunt Bernita, Charlie, Wendy, Deak, Leah, Brenda & Brandy for gifting her life with your love and support.  You enabled her life and death to be the best it could be.  She left this life knowing she was loved.  What a way to go!
Loveingly, Earlene Chambers"

This tribute was added by Walt Linne on 26th October 2010

"Wendy and Charlie and Family,

Thanks for sharing Doni with our American WWII Orphans Network(AWON) organization.  She has meant alot to so many of us and will be forever in our thoughts and prayers.  She was a courageous and beautiful war orphan.

In Their Memory."

This tribute was added by Nick and Darlene Mott on 26th October 2010

"Some people walk into your life and leave their footprints on your heart forever!  Doni was one of those people!   She was a polished gem. In appreciation for her many years of service to our Awon family, while Doni is basking in the loving arms of her father, we speak their names!  Thank you, DONI and 2LT DONALD SCHOENWETHER MORRISON, KIA 3-19-44."

This tribute was added by Sandy Wical on 25th October 2010

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of Doni's family and friends.  I never met Doni personally, but she was such an important part of our AWON family.  The pain and suffering is gone, and she is celebrating the reunion with family and friends who have gone before her.  Rest in peace, Doni!"

This tribute was added by Brenda Kightlinger on 25th October 2010

"I am so sorry for the pain of your loss. Doni gave so much to the lives she touched. Thank you for sharing her with us; her AWON siblings."

This tribute was added by Chickie Shields Berry on 25th October 2010

"Doni was an AWON little sister. I remember the first time I saw a picture of her daddy, I thought she looked just like him. Charlie...Wendy and family, may you find peace in knowing that your dear one is at peace and no longer encumbered with a body that held her down for a time. She is now rejoicing with her daddy. God bless , Chickie"

This tribute was added by Nancy Sue Johnson on 25th October 2010

"To all of Doni's family,
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.  I know your mother, wife,daughter and friend will be sorely missed.  May she Rest in Peace with her father.  Thank you Doni for all the friendship and help you gave to so many.  I know you gave me a lot of personal help that help my mother live an easier life through the Widow's Compensation she got because of you. Nancy Sue"

This tribute was added by Robert Meek JR on 25th October 2010

"Dear Doni,
You were my AWON(American World War II Orphans) big sister.  You were one of the first members I met. Somewhere I have a picture of all the BOD piled on the bed during our meeting in DC.  You will always be a special person to me and I will miss you.  May God hold you in the palm of his hand and we all rejoice in your reunion with your Dad.  Until we meet again your AWON brother Bob"

This tribute was added by Brigitt Caito on 25th October 2010

"I never had the pleasure of meeting Doni in person, but I would read all the time from my AWON list about Doni and what she meant to that organization.  She must have been one very terrific human being!  She shared with  us the life-changing loss of our fathers, and she showed in her life how you always can choose to rise above some of the things life deals you.  She is with her dad now."

This tribute was added by mario capocefalo on 25th October 2010

"Cerignola oct.11th  1999 Doni & Charlie came here searching the place where  the father Dani never saw was staioned before crashed with his crew the 19th march 1944.Since then easy we became fraternally friends in love each other.
Forget DONI?   Very impossible! ,Her smile,personality,and love for the life.Only one thing relief my sadness: Now you are with your Daddy you searched for such long time.
For ever in my heart and prayers.
Mario Capocefalo"

This tribute was added by Robert Higgs on 24th October 2010

"I did not know Doni personally but have heard wonderful things about her,her reverence for life and inspiring courage in adversity. Also I infer from her biography that we have a mutual friend in Henry David Thoreau, a fact which speaks volumes about her spirit. With deepest sympathy.Robert J.(Jack) Higgs"

This tribute was added by carol eichman on 24th October 2010

"It is with much conpassion that I send my sincere condolences. I feel fortunate to call Doni my friend through the years. Oh those were the days...Doni dragging me out of bed at 5:30 am to run.And the time she encouraged me to join her at Rancho La Puerta for some relaxation. We had a grand time but hardly relaxing.Soooo sore, could hardly make it to the plane. She will always be with me."

This tribute was added by Sandra Frey on 23rd October 2010

"I will always remember Doni for her infectious smile and for her acceptance of whatever life gave her and using it to her advantage. She was strong person and will be missed by all who knew her. My condolences to you and your family Wendy."

This tribute was added by Sandy Kelly on 22nd October 2010

"What an inspiring lady Doni was. Her fortitude, acceptance, courage, strength in adversity all are things to strive for. Thank you for showing us the way, Doni."

This tribute was added by R Kerr on 22nd October 2010

"Doni was a vital part of the Los Altos NSDAR Chapter. She had been an officer of our Chapter. We will always miss her. Our Chapter will donate a book in her memory. She was a good genealogist. Now she is a good ancestor.
Roberta Kerr, Regent, Los Altos Chapter NSDAR"

This tribute was added by mary ellis on 21st October 2010

"I had known Doni for only a few days two years ago in Salt Lake City and her wonderful spirit has stayed with me. I will miss her in this world. Thank you for letting me know.

This tribute was added by joe orourke on 21st October 2010

"Charlie, Wendy and Deke our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Although we are sad on Doni's passing we also remember the happy times at work, on our Mediterranean cruise, parties, etc. May the days get better for all of you and please call on us if there is anything we can do.

Love, Joe and Terry O'Rourke"

This tribute was added by Palmer Dyal on 21st October 2010

"Doni brought sunshine into our lives. Thank you Wendy for helping her during the ending period. She has gently touched our hearts in an unforgetable way."

This tribute was added by Jean Heinz on 21st October 2010

"Doni, Doni, ----> remembered forever!"

This tribute was added by Sheila Mahler on 20th October 2010

"Doni was a great inspiration to all of us.  She always had a great smile and only good things to say about life and everyone.  At all times she was positive.  May I be more like her.
May God bless all of you."

This tribute was added by Shirley Steele on 20th October 2010

"Shirley Steele
Doni was such a dear friend and will be missed by all who knew her.  She was in our genealogy and memoirs classes and contributed so much.  We all loved her spirit and positive attitude.  Always a smile on her face.  Wendy and Charlie we will miss her always."

This tribute was added by Diane Olsen on 20th October 2010

"Hopefully, we can include some of Doni's intelligence, compassion, sense of humor and common sense and incorporate it into our own lives and be richer for it.
Stan Redkey"

This tribute was added by Diane Olsen on 20th October 2010

"Doni was never without a smile or a word of encouragement. She always brought the best out of everyone and saw the best in everyone."

This tribute was added by leah turner on 20th October 2010

"During the last moments of her life I held her hand and asured her that she wasn't alone that we were all holding her deep in our hearts and that soon she could run again. this brought a smile to her face. I also told her that she was loved and she would not die alone...... Her passing was peaceful.
I wish the passing of time to ease the pain that Wendy and Charlie are feeling"

This tribute was added by Kristin Bengyel on 20th October 2010

"I met Doni late in her journey and was impressed with the love and devotion of all that knew her. Seldom are people that devoted, without exception, unless that person is ever so special. Alan and I are sorry for your loss Wendy and offer our support and thoughts in your time of sorrow.
Kristin and Alan"

This tribute was added by Patty Redkey on 20th October 2010

"Doni was an inspiration every time I saw her during the past few years.  At every stage she saw it as a challenge.  She was always positive and peaceful. I will miss her. Wendy-thank you for putting this site together.  I loved the Albert Einstein quote.  Your a wonderful daughter!  My thoughts are with you and your family."

This tribute was added by Chris McDaniel on 20th October 2010

"I am so sorry for your loss of your precious daughter. I also know, by what you have told me, that she enjoyed life and lived it to the end. Thank the Lord, she doesn't have to suffer anymore!"

This tribute was added by Billie Chandler on 19th October 2010

"Charlie and Family,  I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you."

This tribute was added by peggy wickman on 19th October 2010

"I had always heard wonderful stories about Donita from grandmother Morrison.   The work she did on the family geneology was outstanding.  It gave me a wonderful insite into a cousin that was my age and looked like the picture that hung in grandma's apartment in Glasgow Montana.  It was the picture of her father. I will always be grateful to have known a special person that was my first cousin."

This tribute was added by Alice Bunker on 19th October 2010

"Wendy, Deek and Charlie,
I will never forget when we first met in Colorado at the Morrison reunion!  Doni and you were just really good sports at meeting all of us crazy Morrisons!  We can all be very overwhelming!  I am so glad that I finally got to meet my cousin Doni, Mom always talked about Doni hoping that we all could meet sometime.  Well it happened and I was so grateful that it did! Love"

This tribute was added by Nellie Chambers on 19th October 2010

"There is no way that I, in a few words, can say what is in my heart as I think of my dear niece, Donita.  Bernita was at home with Mom and me when Donita entered this world 67 years ago.  She was always very special to me, and I was to her 'uncle Bobbin'.  Thanks to Wendy, Charlie, and caregivers for all you did to make her last days in this world as comfortable as possible.  Bob Chamber"

This tribute was added by suzann goodhue on 19th October 2010

"I have so many fond memories of Doni and the times I spent with her and Charlie at their home.  I especially remember our wonderful walks.   My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends who are missing her."

This tribute was added by Barbara and Dennis Musante on 19th October 2010

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Doni's family.  Doni will be sadly missed by all who knew her.  Charlie, we are thinking of you and are so very sorry to hear the news.  Dennis and Barb Musante"

This tribute was added by Gail & Skip Harris on 18th October 2010

"Your mother raised a wonderful daughter!  The two of you had incredible strength during her battle with ALS. Doni is at peace and pain free now...The memories of your travels and laughter together will be with you forever.  
Skipper has a big hug waiting for you Wendy.
We love you-  Gail & Skipper"

This tribute was added by Jody Aldrich on 18th October 2010

"Altho' I believe Doni enjoyed having visitors during the final stages of ALS, no one could make her eyes light up like you, Wendy; not only recently while she was ill, but long before ... everytime she mentioned your name!  You were always so precious to her!  Jody"

This tribute was added by Jody Aldrich on 18th October 2010

"I just looked back in my photo albums and the pictures brought back memories of our day at her uncle's place in SD, when I crashed the Chambers reunion in 2003, and the times I visited her in California. We had fun buying baby dolls on Ebay too, & used to email each other late at night when we couldn't sleep.  Jody"

This tribute was added by Dorcy Chambers-Kaplan on 18th October 2010

"Wendy - Your mom was absolutely amazing.  I hope it gives you peace knowing she's now your guardian angel.  Much love!  Dorcy Chambers-Kaplan."

This tribute was added by Jeannie Parish on 17th October 2010

"Dear Wendy and family,
We are so sorry for your loss.  May the God of all comfort be with you at this time.  We have sweet memories from visiting with your Mama ~ Hugs across the miles.  Much love, Erma Chambers and Jeannie Parish"

This tribute was added by Marty Welsh on 17th October 2010

I only knew about your mom because we had a mutual caregiver - - Leah Turner.  I have ALS also.  My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Doni's family and friends.  I am glad her suffering is ended.

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 17th October 2010

"I know I didn't begin to get site invitations out to all the people who should know. Please forward to anyone you think of. I don't have e-dresses for lots of her friends/family. I think most people would prefer to have duplicate invitations over no invitation."

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 17th October 2010

"Each time I come back to this site to add things, I realize that I have made grammatical errors (like it's for its) & detail errors (like Outstanding for Distinguished). Those are the things Mom always noticed and corrected. It made her a great newsletter editor. Even when she was down to spelling words with her eyes, she never used a $2 word when a $5 word was more descriptive of her thoughts."

This tribute was added by Jody Aldrich on 17th October 2010

"Doni & I became 2nd generation friends, after our parents had been friends many years ago.  This made our friendship more like family. We went to Portugal together in April of 1999, a time of sharing.  I cherish la dolce vita of this time, and all the other (too few) times we spent together, and all those late night emails. May God bless your soul, Dear One.   Jody"

This tribute was added by Sue Hepworth on 17th October 2010

"Your Mom was one of the first people I met in Sutter Creek and I always enjoyed being around her. I know how close you were to your Mom, Wendy, and am so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you will remember what a loving, caring daughter you have been to her and how proud she was of you.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time, Wendy.

Love, Sue"

This tribute was added by Nancy Felton on 16th October 2010

"Our prayers and thoughts are with all who loved Doni and will miss her. Thank God her suffering is over.  Love you Bernita. Dale and I are thinking of you."

This tribute was added by B & G Vadnais on 16th October 2010

"We are all praying for the beloved family and friends of Donita.  May the Lord comfort and strengthen all of you in your loss and grief.  You have been such blessings in Donita's life! Bernita, we miss you and Burl, and love you very much.
Central church of Christ, Jackson CA"

This tribute was added by B & G Vadnais on 16th October 2010

"Our hearts go out to Bernita, Wendy, and Donita's entire family.  We know that Donita was a wonderful daughter, sister, and mother.  May the Lord comfort you with the comfort and peace only He can give.  God bless you, B & G Vadnais"

This tribute was added by Marlene Brandt on 16th October 2010

"Wendy, I am so sorry.  I wish I had gone to see her but I didn't bother to call you and find out if it was okay.  We put off so much we wish we had done.  Your Mom was a terrific lady.  It is good she does not have to suffer anymore tho. Love to you and the family."

This tribute was added by Wendy James on 16th October 2010

"Thank you to everyone who has left a tribute here, emailed or called. I appreciate every touch from my friends.
To answer some questions, I am putting more information on a page in the stories section that gives more space."

This tribute was added by Maureen Higgins on 16th October 2010

"Wendy, I am so sorry to learn of your mums passing. She was a lovely lady, although I wished I had known her for longer. She was a true 'fighter' and now is at peace. It goes without saying that if you need any help with anything you know where we are. Truly a beautiful lady..."

This tribute was added by Chet Allen on 16th October 2010

"Doni made a huge difference in my life.  We explored many roads together, and my love for her will always remain.  She lived a very full and exceptional life, and brought growth to all of us fortunate enough to have her in our lives. I miss you, Doni.  With love, Chet"

This tribute was added by Terry Santoro on 15th October 2010

"Our dear friend Wendy - Sometimes the greatest legacy a person can leave, is the ones that are left behind.  "You are the epitome of what a mother would want for a child and one she must have been so proud of."  May your mothers spirit & memories live on with you.  All our love, Jim & Terry"

This tribute was added by Eileen M Sullivan on 15th October 2010

"Doni was so cool and full of energy.  When I roomed with Doni for a while at her Sutter Creek house, my only complaint was that she wasn't there much!  I enjoyed her company; she always had interesting perspectives and experiences.  In these last few years, Doni's positive attitude in dealing with the ALS was amazing and inspirational.  Doni was always like that."

This tribute was added by roxanne doherty on 15th October 2010

"What a Great Tribute Wendy!!!

Yes, I see the love of life your Mom, Doni so beautifully shared - all of you who knew her are truly Blessed - Godspeed,


This tribute was added by Wendy James on 15th October 2010

"No matter how many words and pictures you use, you can never do justice to the breadth of a life. All of us touch so many people in so many ways. My apologies for my oversights and omissions. I have tried to give everyone a forum to show who Doni really was to those who may only have known her from one direction. Wendy"

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Wendy James


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