Donna Jean Johnson, 63, artist, Special Olympian and Downs Syndrome angel, died May 6, 2020 in Boston from Covid-19 pneumonia. Donna was a multiple gold medalist in Bowling and Track and Field and twentyfive years ago, found a haven at Gateway Arts in Brookline where she could explore her talents and develop into an acclaimed artist. Painting became her passion and jewelry was her joy. Donna learned to speak after receiving specialized hearing aids at age 42. She was a forever child and also a lady. Donna was born November 4, 1956 in Miami, FL. to Lee P. Johnson of Ackworth, NH. and Katherine R. McDonough Johnson of Norwood, who have predeceased her. She is survived by siblings Mary Ellen Johnson, Richard Johnson, Judith Keefe (William), Shirley O'Neil, Beverly Penzell, twin Ronald Johnson (Stephanie), John Johnson and Cynthia Magnole (Anthony); Nieces Tina Huron (Jon) and Jessica Bollhoefer (Andrew); nephew Michael Magnole (Kim) and great-nephews Logan Bollhoefer and Charles Bollhoefer. Spending early years with her Aunt Del, Delia Haldane, Donna sustained close relationships with cousin Beverly McMillan and her children: Todd, Peter, Cindy and Lisa. Donna and her eight siblings Cherished the several weeks a year she spent with each of them and their friends around the country. Weekends in Winthrop with her sister and protector, Shirley O'Neil, Donna was able to stay physically active and fully engaged in life, including nurturing her special friendship with Joyce Gourdoupi in Brookline, visiting cousins and attending Catholic mass. Donna was a sweet, happy and gentle soul, while maintaining a sense of mischief and humor. She loved music, dancing, singing, jacuzzis, popsicles, babies, party dinners and was always ready to go out. Her biggest pleasure was traveling, whether to Miami, Port St. Lucie, New York or Chicago. Donna was authentic, full of love, a gift with a strong constitution. Every day she gave her best effort, always ever present, a dependable best friend and an honor to know. A celebration of Donnas loving life will be held when appropriate (at Gateway Arts in the coming months). Family preference for memorial contributions for Donna Jean is to please support www.gatewayarts.org
in Brookline. The professionals, dedicated employees and the artists, Donna's colleagues, will make the most of much needed support at this time. We are also grateful to the Boston medical community for taking such good care of Donna Jean, particularly at the end of her life, helping us talk with her during this incredibly difficult time. Donna, we will forever miss you and the fun you brought to life.