Laurel “Laura” Donner was a devoted, loving mother who was always willing to go the extra mile for her daughters — sometimes, literally.
Courtney Donner celebrated her 21st birthday while she was living in New York.
“Not only did she make me a cake, but she and dad drove to New York to give it to me and to take me out to dinner,” she said. “That was not uncommon. She was always present for us.”
Rachel Donner said her mother was easy to talk to, and was a best friend to her and to her sister.
“I talked to her every night, even if I was a thousand miles away,” she said. “She always encouraged me to try new things.”
Laura Donner, 56, of Valparaiso, died in a car accident Feb. 16. She is survived by her husband of 32 years, John Donner, and her daughters, Courtney and Rachel, as well as numerous other family and friends.
John Donner said his wife was relentlessly curious, interested in everything and anything. Once she got interested in something, he said, she would devote herself to learning about it.
In one instance, she decided to completely rehabilitate a staircase in the family home.
“When she was done, it was beautiful,” he said. “Once she decided on a goal, she would stay with it.”
She was an avid reader, and loved to trade books with friends and neighbors. She also was always willing to help those in need, and never waited to be asked, her husband said.
“She saw opportunities to help, and she jumped in,” he said. “She never let people think they were imposing on her.”
She loved animals, and would always help animals in need, whether it be a sparrow that had flown into a window or a turtle that needed help across a street.
John Donner said his wife kept everyone around her young.
“She was very animated, and very full of life,” he said.