Charlotte Dondero

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On Jan 2, 2014, Charlotte Elizabeth Dondero, a respected woman and resident of Chattanooga, Tenn., for the last 10 years went home to be with the Lord and her beloved husband of 73 years.

During her life she earned the respect of those who came to know her, and her passing is mourned by friends and family who drew upon her strength and the wisdom she shared from her own life's experiences.

Charlotte was born in Auburn, Nebraska on Aug. 15, 1917. She was the only child of Thomas Albert Smith and Elizabeth (Lily) Schoenbucher, and was preceded in death by her husband Louis Dondero, and daughter Samantha Dondero. She is survived by her daughters Charlotte Houldsworth, and Kennie Hardee, as well as sons Louis Dondero and Cort Dondero. Her greatest legacy is her nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Charlotte lost her mother at the age of 4 and was subsequently raised by her Aunt Gussie (Schoenbucher) Froemke in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Due to her academic achievements she was awarded a scholarship to attend Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist. Upon graduation from Cathedral she was employed by the local telephone company in Milwaukee as a switchboard operator.

Those who were acquainted with Charlotte in her later years would describe her as a kind, pretty, petite, well-mannered woman who was much disciplined in her life. The discipline was a bi-product of her education and strict German heritage. Not many knew that in her youth she was very athletic and enjoyed many outdoor activities such as target shooting, fishing, boating, golf, and cross country snow skiing. Charlotte took her first motorcycle ride on a Harley Davidson at the age of 77. She was very fond of the family dogs, and referred to them as "the boys."

At the age of 19 she married the love of her life (Louis Dondero) which resulted in a marriage that lasted 73 years. Charlotte can best be described as a very loving and caring person who consistently put the needs of others ahead of her own. While her husband was building his career, she was the glue that held the family together.

During their time in Sidney, Ohio, she was recognized for the time she volunteered at Wilson Memorial Hospital as well as her personal blood donations. While living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Charlotte donated hand crocheted baby blankets to the local Catholic charities for unwed mothers. At the age of 95 she was recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the lap blankets she hand crocheted for soldiers confined to wheelchairs.

She will truly be missed by those who lives she touched.

Published in Sidney Daily News from Jan. 7 to Jan. 8, 2014