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Barbara Ellen Donley

May 3, 1950 September 29, 2019
Barbara Ellen Donley
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Obituary for Barbara Ellen Donley

Barbara Ellen Donley
May 3, 1950 – September 29, 2019

Barbara Ellen Donley, age 69, of South Lyon, MI peacefully passed away at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ypsilanti, Michigan on September 29, 2019 surrounded by her loving family. Barbara successfully overcame breast cancer in 2017 and courageously battled lung cancer from 2018 until the time of her death. She was a warrior.
While growing up, Barbara was affectionately known around South Lyon as, “one of the Donley girls”. She was born on May 3, 1950 in Ann Arbor, Michigan the second of five daughters of Lee Oliver and Eleanor Elizabeth (Smith) Donley. Barbara attended South Lyon schools. She received a BS from Western Michigan University, an AMLS from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Virginia. Barbara was a librarian in Muskegon, Michigan schools and practiced labor and employment law in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas and in South Lyon, Michigan. She was an Assistant Vice President, Employee Relations at Banc One Corporation in Columbus, Ohio.
Barbara was adored by her nieces, Lillian Evans (Jason Carnevale) and Kristina Green and her nephew, Robert Evans. Barb was always up for the many adventures suggested by the “kids”, as we still refer to them today. From jet skiing to board games to hikes on the Michigan shoreline, Barb was always ready and willing for fun and excitement. Barbara instilled in and encouraged her nieces and nephews to: follow their dreams, ask questions, read, be kind, be considerate and to stand up for what is right. Most of all, she encouraged them to believe in themselves. All things Barbara held dear and expected of herself.
Barbara had a sharp mind, quick wit and a wicked sense of humor. Her intelligence was displayed in her work - where a Federal judge once declared that she presented the “best expert witness testimony that he’d ever heard”, her relationships and by her ability to complete any crossword puzzle - in ink. She was a voracious reader with an extraordinary vocabulary. She was the personification of a bibliophile. Barbara was competitive and loved to win. Barbara had a beautiful singing voice. She enjoyed make-up, perfume, lovely jewelry, expresso martinis and art.
We will miss Barb’s knowledge, wisdom and sound advice. She never met a stranger. Her outgoing personality and friendly nature opened many a conversation no matter where she ventured or whom she encountered. Her compassion for the underdog, the less fortunate and anyone in need is an example we all can learn from and strive to replicate.
One of Barbara’s favorite songs, written during the troubled times of the Vietnam war was Get Together, by the Youngbloods with a phrase that she held dear, “come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get-together, try to love one another, right now”.
Barbara is survived by four sisters: Diane (Bradley Evans), Denise, Mary (William Sisson) and Lisa (David Green); her nieces, nephew and nephew-in-law. Additionally, Barbara was thrilled to be the great aunt to June Violet Carnevale who joined our family November 18, 2018. Barbara is predeceased by her parents.
Her family wishes that you will join them on October 25, 2019 for a visitation and celebration of Barbara’s life at the First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon (205 East Lake Street) commencing at 11:00 a.m. Luncheon to follow in the church fellowship hall at 12:30 p.m. Barbara will be interred next to her parents in South Lyon Cemetery. Services will be officiated by Reverend Michael Horlocker of First Presbyterian Church South Lyon.
The family wishes to thank the many skilled professionals affiliated with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital who skillfully and compassionately cared for Barb until the end – with special thanks and appreciation to the staff of 11th floor East Tower. Barbara had great trust, respect, admiration and affection for her oncologist, Dr. Tareq Al Baghdadi, MD and her radiation oncologist, Dr. Samir Narayan, MD.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that honorariums in Barbara’s name be made to the Salem-South Lyon District Library, the First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon or to a charity or organization of your choice.


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Upcoming Events

Visitation

Friday

25

Oct

11:00 AM 10/25/2019 11:00:00 AM - 11:30 AM 10/25/2019 11:30:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon

205 E. Lake St.
South Lyon, MI 48178

First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon
205 E. Lake St. South Lyon 48178 MI
United States

Memorial Service

Friday

25

Oct

11:30 AM 10/25/2019 11:30:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon

205 E. Lake St.
South Lyon, MI 48178

First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon
205 E. Lake St. South Lyon 48178 MI
United States

Memorial Contribution

Salem-South Lyon District Library

9800 Pontiac Trail
South Lyon, MI 48178

First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon

205 E. Lake Street
South Lyon, MI 48178
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