Camille Lutfy Donaldson
Camille Lutfy Donaldson, 88, passed away peacefully at home Jan. 7, 2021 surrounded by the love of her family. Camille was born June 16, 1932 in Phoenix, the second of 3 children, to Edna and William Lutfy. She enjoyed growing up in the large, extended Basha and Lutfy families, where frequent gatherings were filled with love, laughter and wonderful Lebanese and Mexican food. Her trailblazing life was characterized by her love and dedication to her family, her determined and lifelong work ethic, and the positivity and vibrancy she brought to all aspects of life.
Camille learned the importance of hard work and applying her intellectual gifts from her parents. For years she worked alongside her mom at Bashas' grocery and was the dutiful assistant to her blind dad, a successful attorney, reading his nightly legal briefs to prepare for the next day. Camille discovered early that there was nothing she couldn't do with determination, hard work and applying her talents to any situation. And apply them she did!
She was a proud member of Xavier High School's second graduating class, and in 1953 she graduated with a chemistry degree from Mount St. Mary's College. Motorola then hired Camille as Arizona's first female chemical engineer. In the 1950s, she enjoyed her private pilot's license by flying planes around Arizona and California. After getting married and having 3 children, she became a licensed contractor and broker who built and owned commercial real estate. She rounded out her career as she started it, working alongside her family at Bashas in Human Resources.
Camille's center of gravity was her family. As a gracious and loving mother, she created a warm, welcoming and loving home, where there was always room for friends to sit and eat around the famously long dining room table. She continued the family tradition of delicious Lebanese and Mexican feasts by hosting countless gatherings. In later years, she relished her role of grandmother by doting on her 9 grandchildren. She focused on creating memories through shared summer vacations in Coronado or by shopping for dresses for 'her girls.' She passed on her love of music to her grandchildren by driving them to weekly piano lessons where they would take turns playing pieces, and equally as important, visit with Grandma and the cousins. Camille loved being an integral part of daily family life.
Camille exuded an unparalleled vibrancy and positivity with her signature smile and bright sing-song voice that entered a room before she did. She lived her famous saying, "You are in charge of your own happiness," every day by radiating warmth and love to all she encountered.
Camille is preceded in death by her brother Bill, sister Elaine and daughter Camille. She is survived by her children Pat (Shannon) and Ann-Marie (DJ) and by her 9 grandchildren Thomas, Katie, Josephine, Elizabeth, Sophia, Camille, John, Chris and Lainey.
We will celebrate Camille's life with a Rosary at 1:30 and Funeral Mass at 2:00 on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 at St. Francis Xavier Church 4715 N Central Ave, Phoenix. The funeral will also be available via live stream.
To honor Camille's memory, please donate to organizations dear to her heart: Camille Lutfy Donaldson '49 Memorial Scholarship at the Xavier College Preparatory Foundation or to St. Vincent de Paul.