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Donna Jean Hamilton

Donna Jean Hamilton Obituary
Donna Jean Hamilton, 74, of Davis, California, died at the University Retirement Community on May 16, 2019, of ovarian cancer. She is survived by her husband, John; her two daughters, Kathryn Hamilton Warren (James) and Erin Randle Hamilton (David Brice); her three grandchildren, Eleanor Hamilton Warren, Kai Robins Hamilton-Brice, and Anne Kathryn Hamilton-Brice; and her sister, Diane Elizabeth Ferderer (Renny), and her family. Donna was born at Fort Lewis, Washington, on March 12, 1945, to the late Betty Ann Downard. She graduated from Olympia High School and Washington State University before going on to earn a Master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Donna joined the US Department of State's Foreign Service in 1970. It was in her entering Foreign Service training class in Washington, DC, that she met John. When the training was over, she was off to her first assignment in Bogotá, Colombia, and he to Madrid, Spain, but their love and commitment grew despite the distance, and they married in 1972 in Alexandria, Virginia. Donna and John were one of the first "tandem couples" in the Foreign Service, pursuing parallel careers that took them to Mexico City; Thessaloniki, Greece; Washington, DC; Lima, Perú (twice); San José, Costa Rica; and Guatemala City, Guatemala. As a Washington-based official she traveled to dozens of other places, from Argentina to Bali to China, from which she always returned with treasures that delighted her young daughters. Donna's career was as meaningful as it was varied and exciting. Over 31 years, with creative problem solving and visionary leadership, Donna served American citizens overseas and helped foreign citizens visit and immigrate into the United States. A principled and devoted public servant, Donna reached the very highest levels of the State Department, her last position before retirement being Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs. When Donna and John retired, they moved to Harstine Island, two hours southwest of Seattle, living there from 2006-2018 in a waterfront house Donna helped design. During her time on Harstine, Donna served as President of the Olympia World Affairs Council and as a member of the advisory board of the Washington State University Honors College. She was also active in the League of Women Voters, participated in the Harstine Island's Women's Club and a community book club, and tutored English language learners in nearby Shelton. An excellent cook, she and John and their extended family enjoyed many delicious meals on the deck, occasionally spotting orcas and seals in the Puget Sound while taking in the beauty of the natural world. Donna and John moved to Davis, California, in 2018, where they joined the University Retirement Community. They have been moved by the friendship, kindness, and support shown them by so many of the URC residents and staff over the past year. The Hamilton family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Sutter Medical Foundation, the URC's Health Care Center, and Yolo Hospice for their excellent care. They are also grateful to Dr. Joseph Ye, of Vista Oncology, in Olympia. A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 3, at 2:30 at the Harstine Island Community Club Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Olympia World Affairs Council or to the Washington State University Honors College.
Published in The Olympian on May 26, 2019
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