Donna Roe

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Roe, Donna Jensen
Long time Phoenix resident Donna Jensen Roe, 83, died Thursday, March 14th from respiratory complications. Born Donna Lou Miller in Akron, Ohio, she was graduated from Central High School before going on to study and work at Kent State University. She was an accomplished dancer, and at age 11 began working at the Jean Shepherd School of Dance & Performing Arts Studio in Akron. Donna moved to Arizona in 1957 with her husband, William T. Hixson, and began working at Sperry Flight Systems (now Honeywell) in 1957 as a secretary in personnel. She attained her CPS (Certified Professional Secretary) in 1962, and later worked as Director of Employee Communications/Community Relations. She continued her business education at both Arizona State University and Phoenix College where she earned her A.A. 1974. (Later, in her retirement, she returned to Phoenix College to study writing, a lifelong passion.) In 1975, she married Robert B. Roe, President of Sperry Flights Systems, and lived in Carefree. After Bob's unexpected death in November of 1976, she returned to Central Phoenix and was tapped to be Appointments Secretary to Governor Wesley Bolin, and later also served as the Correspondence Secretary for Governor Bruce Babbitt. Other professional accomplishments included Executive Assistant to the Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security, and Assistant Executive Director, Samaritan Medical Foundation. In 1982, while working on a function being held at Marriott's Camelback Inn Resort, Donna so impressed then General Manager Jim Buckley that he offered her the job of Catering Sales Manager, which she accepted. It was to be her 9th career, and one she loved. As a long-time "foodie" and "connector" to the Greater Phoenix community, Donna approached every event with a passion and attention to detail that became her trademark. Whether it was a wedding, a debutant party, an anniversary, or a community benefit, (such as Phoenix Memorial Hospital's Dream Game), she lent her "special touch" to each event. When she retired in 1997, her colleagues at the Camelback Inn threw her a five- star party reflective of the many she had planned for others. In retirement, Donna continued to support and volunteer with several community organizations including GAMA at Arizona State University, The Phoenix Art Museum, and the Phoenix Chapter of Les Dames d' Escoffier International. As a member of the Historical League, Donna co-authored the cookbook "Arizona Tastes and Treasures," with noted culinary writer Gaye Ingram. She also wrote a number of short biographies from the oral histories of Historymaker honorees.
Donna loved to travel and to entertain. Her special interest included arts, antiques, Arizona and Akron, Ohio Memorabilia, and cook book collecting. She was a gifted writer, an avid reader, and cherished her feline companions. "Books and Cats" were always her two favorite things.
Donna is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Pamela Roe Ehlers and Howard Ehlers, and her son, Christopher Hixson. Condolences and remembrances can be shared at The family has also arranged for donations to be made in Donna's memory with both the Arizona Humane Society (Attn: Development/1521 W Dobbins Rd/ Phoenix, AZ 85041) and the Historical League (Donna Jensen Roe Memorial/1300 N College Ave/Tempe, AZ 85281). No services are planned.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 23, 2014
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