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Donna Irwin


1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Donna Irwin Obituary
Donna Irwin

AGE: 88 • Wilmington

Donna Howard Wattengel Irwin, 88 years old, passed away at her home in Wilmington, watched over by her younger son and daughter. Donna was born in Buffalo, NY, on January 24, 1928, to Emma Wattengel and Howard Ogden Wattengel, who died of pneumonia before her birth. Her older brother was Jerald A. Wattengel.

Donna had a love of animals from an early age. Her friends knew her as a fierce tennis and ping pong player, still winning at 85. Donna attended Alfred University and Boston's Katharine Gibbs secretarial school. She was hired by DuPont in Niagara Falls, NY, where she met and later married chemical engineer George J. Irwin.

Donna inherited artistic talent from both parents, and when her children were in school, she took up the folk art of tole painting. For 16 years, Donna laid out Delmarva PeaceWork, published by Delaware's ecumenical peace group, Pacem in Terris.

Asked about her achievements, Donna Irwin was likely to express pride above all in her children. Yet, at a celebration of her 80th birthday, the first two guests to speak insisted that they would not be alive, had it not been for Donna's generous listening, love, and steadfast encouragement.

She is also survived by two sons, Robert A. Irwin of Medford, Massachusetts, and John H. Irwin of Wilmington; a daughter, Salila Shen, of Wilmington; their respective spouses, Lynne Weiss, Nancy Wahler, and Mandy Tocco; two grandsons, David Russell Weiss-Irwin and Jamie Isaac Irwin; and her former husband, George J. Irwin.

The family thanks Vitas Hospice for providing around-the-clock staff to support Donna and the family during her final days. A memorial service will occur in late November; for details, email [email protected]
Published in The News Journal on Oct. 23, 2016
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