ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Doni James, 67 years old, born on July 2, 1943, and passed away on October 15, 2010. We will remember her forever.
Posted by Wendy James on July 7, 2019
Hi Mom, Jared and I just returned from the Morrison reunion and a visit with your Aunt Dorothy. How lucky we are that you pursued your roots and introduced us to that wonderful family. Dorothy reminds me of you in her stubborn independence and determinedly sunny outlook. You continue to be an influence in our lives. The loss of our friend, Ray brings back the pain of permanent separation. I hope if we do in fact come back around, you and I are friends again.
Posted by Wendy James on July 2, 2018
Happy Birthday, Mom. Charlie's little girl is a constant reminder of some of your quirkiness. Whenever someone new meets Bella, Charlie tells the story of you taking Gabby to the hairdresser and saying you wanted your hair to have all of the colors of her coat. You are part of our stories and always will be. Love you.
Posted by Wendy James on October 15, 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.
Posted by Wendy James on September 1, 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.
Posted by Wendy James on July 5, 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?
Posted by Wendy James on July 2, 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
Posted by Wendy James on November 14, 2011
It's hard to tell your mind to stop loving someone, when your heart still does.

- Mallory Jones
Posted by Earlene Chambers on October 18, 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
Posted by leah turner on October 16, 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.
Posted by ROGER CONNOR on October 15, 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
Posted by Maureen Higgins on October 15, 2011
Our thoughts are with you today, and always. xxx
Posted by joe orourke on July 5, 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
Posted by Earlene Chambers on July 2, 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
Posted by Wendy James on July 2, 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.
Posted by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on July 2, 2011
I think of you so often, Doni, but especially today, your 68th birthday. We miss you and love you. Ellen
Posted by Sandy Kelly on July 2, 2011
Happy Birthday, Doni. We do so wish you would be here to enjoy it with us. Sandy
Posted by Shirley Steele on July 2, 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.
Shirley
Posted by ROGER CONNOR on July 2, 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
Posted by Wray Brett on December 15, 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
Posted by Uncle Guinn and Aunt Jo J... on October 29, 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
Posted by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on October 29, 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.
Posted by Ellen Jones-Blackburn on October 28, 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
Posted by Robert Macpherson on October 28, 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.
Posted by Diane Miller Lassitter on October 27, 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.
Posted by ROGER CONNOR on October 27, 2010
SHARON AND I VISITED DONI AND CHARLIE AND THEY WERE SUCH GRACIOUS HOSTS. EVEN TOOK US TO A YUPPIE SILICON VALLEY RESTAURANT. WHEN DONI WAS EDITOR OF THE STAR AND SHARON WAS HER ASSISTANT, SHE CALLED SHARON "ELFIE," AS IN HELPER. SHE WAS FUNNY! DONI LOVED AWON. GOD, GIVE US MORE PEOPLE LIKE DONI.
Posted by Dianne Wiegand-Baczynski on October 27, 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
Posted by ROGER CONNOR on October 26, 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.
Posted by Earlene Chambers on October 26, 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
Posted by Walt Linne on October 26, 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.
Posted by Nick and Darlene Mott on October 26, 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.
Posted by Sandy Wical on October 25, 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!
Posted by mario capocefalo on October 25, 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
Posted by Brigitt Caito on October 25, 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.
Posted by Robert Meek JR on October 25, 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
Posted by Nancy Sue Johnson on October 25, 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
Posted by Chickie Shields Berry on October 25, 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
Posted by Brenda Kightlinger on October 25, 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.
Posted by Robert Higgs on October 24, 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
Posted by carol eichman on October 24, 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.
Posted by Sandra Frey on October 23, 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.
Posted by Sandy Kelly on October 22, 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.
Posted by R Kerr on October 22, 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
Posted by mary ellis on October 21, 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.
Mary
Posted by joe orourke on October 21, 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
Posted by Palmer Dyal on October 21, 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.
Posted by Jean Heinz on October 21, 2010
Doni, Doni, ----> remembered forever!
Posted by Kristin Bengyel on October 20, 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
Posted by Chris McDaniel on October 20, 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!
Posted by Patty Redkey on October 20, 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.
Posted by leah turner on October 20, 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
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Posted by Wendy James on July 7, 2019
Hi Mom, Jared and I just returned from the Morrison reunion and a visit with your Aunt Dorothy. How lucky we are that you pursued your roots and introduced us to that wonderful family. Dorothy reminds me of you in her stubborn independence and determinedly sunny outlook. You continue to be an influence in our lives. The loss of our friend, Ray brings back the pain of permanent separation. I hope if we do in fact come back around, you and I are friends again.
Posted by Wendy James on July 2, 2018
Happy Birthday, Mom. Charlie's little girl is a constant reminder of some of your quirkiness. Whenever someone new meets Bella, Charlie tells the story of you taking Gabby to the hairdresser and saying you wanted your hair to have all of the colors of her coat. You are part of our stories and always will be. Love you.
Posted by Wendy James on October 15, 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.
Recent stories

When Life Gives You Lemons - Make Lemonade!

Shared by Wendy James on November 5, 2011

That was a poster on the wall at the home of my mother’s cousin when I was young. Earlene has always had one of these sunny dispositions. That is not a trait I associated with Doni until now. When I was visiting with Earlene recently, she commented on the fact that Doni stayed so upbeat throughout her illness. Looking back, I realize that she was right.

Doni maintained a quick and quirky, often ribald, sense of humor that made people believe that she didn’t take herself or anything else too seriously. This was one of the characteristics that endeared her to the caregivers that came into her life. When she needed help but wanted to maintain her independence, the nurses were willing to accommodate her, coming for short periods at odd hours. When the caregivers needed to be there for more hours, she could get them laughing with her, semi-hysterically at times. She stayed active and involved in whatever ways were open to her instead of withdrawing into herself. She went out to dinner with friends, ate with gusto, shopped on eBay and emailed with her friends for as long as she was able. She read the news and current events daily and the latest fiction thrillers on her computer.

When her AWON siblings came to present her with an award, though she couldn’t lift a hand to accept it, she dictated a very specific acceptance letter for me to type and smiled for the pictures. And, even if she wasn’t smiling, Doni wasn’t crying. She remained stoic through most everything and even those who saw her in all circumstances, seldom saw her cry. Although her demands sometimes seemed unreasonable, setting goals and persisting until she obtained them gave her a positive focus. Her other dodge was to discuss trivialities, like the various ingredients lava lamps were composed of, to avoid dwelling on the difficulties and losses she dealt with each day. And since tears were unacceptable, she refused to have contact with those who cried every time they spoke with her. 

More than anyone I have ever known, Doni could fit her environment to her wishes. Rather than complaining that life wasn’t what she wanted, she used the skills she’d learned over a varied and sometimes difficult lifetime to adjust people to her point of view. She had a sharp intellect and had lived so many lifestyles that she could converse with anyone. She was a keen observer of people with a background in clinical psychology, allowing her to hone in on what was important to each individual. This made her quite successful as a real estate broker and later working for the State acquiring property rights from landowners. It also gave her a knack for giving gifts of true significance. Though she was a loner in many ways, she valued her friendships and family. 

I still miss her and think of her everyday.

Dichotomy

Shared by Wendy James on November 10, 2010

Generous and Demanding

Thoughtful and Selfish

 

Adventuresome and Habitual

Social and Solitary

 

Independent and Needy

Keen-minded and Confused

 

I love you.

I miss you.

You drove me crazy.

You taught me so much.

I wish I could have made things better.

Shared by Doylanne Wade on October 23, 2010

Doni was the "big" sister that I could look up to for her sharp mind, positive attitude and generous spirit.  Wendy, you are the epitome of a loving, gracious daughter.  Charlie, you added happiness to Doni's life.  Mom, Doni knew and appreciated your unconditional love.  I can't thank each of you enough for your love and care for Doni, especially these past three years.  May you be blessed for giving of yourselves to aid in Doni's care and comfort.  You all are in my thoughts and prayers.  Love, Doylanne