Donna Ray (Lawhorn) Cermak passed away on Sunday, December 10, 2023, at Commonwealth Senior Living West in Richmond, Virginia. She had just celebrated her 80th birthday.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband, Gregory Connor on April 11, 2022; her father, William (Bill) Howard Lawhorn from Staunton, Virginia on January 1, 1963; her mother, Thelma Isabel (Newcomer) Mayer from Rockbridge Baths, Virginia on March 3, 1979. Donna was also preceded in death by her first husband Marvin R. Clemons of Stafford Virginia who passed September 24, 1976.
Donna is survived by her three children, Renée DeChristopher (son-in-law Robert) of Richmond, Beverly Ochs (son-in-law Michael) of Henrico and Philip Craig (daughter-in-law Diana) of Triangle; seven grandchildren, Lane (granddaughter-in-law Samantha) DeChristopher, Blake (granddaughter-in-law Carter) DeChristopher, Morgan Novotny, Tyler Watson, Leanna Craig, Philip Craig Jr. and Tristany Craig; seven great-grandchildren, Chase, Taylor, Landon, and Dunia DeChristopher (Baby DeChristopher due January 2024) and Liam and Lennon Blankenship; her sister, Ann (brother-in-law Grant) Smith of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Donna Ray was born on December 1, 1943, in Washington DC. Her parents, Thelma and Bill, soon moved Donna and her sister to Dumfries, Virginia, and opened a family business. Donna grew up in Dumfries and graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School where she was a majorette and had an active role in school and her church. Donna had a passion for people which led her to work in the service industry for decades including serving military members at the Mickey Finn Marine Corps League at Quantico where she met her husband Gregory Connor in 1988.
Donna’s zest for life was undeniable and infectious to anyone around her. She was a free spirit at heart; always quick to laugh and loved to dance and sing encouraging others to do the same; she never knew a stranger. She had a lively appreciation of music particularly classic R&B and she delighted in the music and dances of the disco era. It can be the little things in life that give one pleasure and some of Donna’s favorite pastimes with friends and loved ones were board games, cards, and Bingo. She was an enthusiast of word games, especially crossword puzzles. Donna also had a reverence for nature and the change of seasons and would spend time outside her home bird-watching and tending to her flower garden. After retirement age, Donna became a member of the Prince William Senior Center at Woodbridge where she was an active participant for many years relishing the fellowship and connection with friends. Donna also focused on traveling during that time in her life planning trips for her and Gregory – visiting many places like Niagara Falls, Canada, California, and Nevada, exploring up and down the East Coast, and making a dream destination to Alaska a reality.
Donna took great joy in supporting her children and grandchildren in their creative and sports endeavors over the years – always excited to cheer them on whatever the event. Her love of family is what motivated her throughout her life and she took pride in all of the generations. Donna’s light, laughter, and verve for the journey will be deeply missed.
A service will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2023, at Quantico National Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road, Triangle, VA. 22172