Darlene Hazel Fulfer Donat
Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA
Darlene Hazel Fulfer Donat Darlene Hazel Fulfer Donat passed away on July 6, 2021 at the age of 80. She chose to spend the final stage of her life at her home in Oakmont, California, with her husband, children and grandchildren. She died while quail, goldfinch, and acorn woodpeckers visited outside her window, and zinnias, gardenias, and pansies thrived in her courtyard. She was born in 1941 to Glen Edward Fulfer and Elsie Rita Fulfer (nee Gibellini). She was the older sister of Carol Ann and Dennis. She correctly spelled "incongruous" and "incandescent" to win the 1954 Sonoma County Spelling Bee, earning her a place in the U.S. regional spelling bee in San Francisco. The first of her family to attend college, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Sociology. She was quietly proud of being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Her family couldn't be prouder. Darlene took a job with Pacific Bell after college. At a company-sponsored computer course, she met Richard Roy Donat, who she married in 1963. The newlyweds honeymooned at Donner Lake, Crater Lake, and Victoria, BC. This set the standard for future family car vacations and retirement excursions The word at PacBell was that if you needed help with a mainframe program you should call Dick, but ask for Darlene. They were married for 57 years. She gave birth to three children: Peter, Wendy and Chris. She read to them from Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Suess, and the World Book Encyclopedia (when she needed to look something up during dinner). She fed them, taught them to drive a manual transmission, and shuttled them and their teammates to dozens of games, swim meets, competitions and practices. The children turned out reasonably competent. Darlene was proud that her children were able to marry such gems as Jen, Sterling and Adrianna. She is also survived by five grandchildren: Samantha, Mitchell, Dean, Cole, and Henry. She played piano, guitar and accordion (honest). Her favorite venues were nursery schools, kindergartens, and campfires. She sang in choral groups in California and New Jersey. She volunteered as a nursery school aide, elementary class parent, library assistant, fundraiser, and high school PTA co-president. Darlene moved with her family to Summit, New Jersey in 1978. She embraced the East Coast, expanding her tennis repertoire to include paddle tennis in the winter, vacationing at historical sites, and delighting in Broadway musicals. As her children demonstrated signs of independence, she began to work outside the home, first at Bell Labs, then at an accounting firm, and finally as a legal assistant with an expertise in estates and trusts. She retired in 1998. In retirement, she volunteered at the Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, which dovetailed with her bird watching habit. She counted migratory birds, cared for adopted cats, and monitored glucose levels for a diabetic dog. Her favorite campgrounds were in Yosemite, Acadia, Paul Dimmick, Grand Teton and Camp Gold. She not only was a member of several book clubs, she also read the books. She returned to her native California with Dick in 2012. She served as board member for the Cal Alumni Club of Oakmont. Darlene could stand on her head well past middle age. She kept her own stats while watching high school and NBA basketball games, explained lacrosse penalties and offsides rules, and was a certified synchronized swimming judge in New Jersey. She enjoyed the whitewater of the Snake River and New River (where she explored the underside of a raft). She skied both downhill and cross country. She persuaded Dick to dance (albeit infrequently). She was competitive and mercilessly beat her children at tennis, ping pong, paddle, Boggle, and any test of coordination or intelligence. In lieu of flowers, Dick and her children ask that you go out and bird watch, hike, bike, play tennis or paddle (preferably doubles), sing a campfire song (ideally with a guitar and campfire), or correctly spell "incandescent" or "incongruous" (no peeking). Or if you wish to otherwise honor her memory, Darlene asked you to support the environmental, educational, or hospice program of your choice. A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 30 at 4:30 at the East Rec Center Club House, 7902 Oakmont Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95409. The family plans to host a second memorial service in the Summit NJ area in coming months.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Star-Ledger from Jul. 20 to Jul. 21, 2021.
Memorial service
East Rec Center Club House,
7902 Oakmont Drive, Santa Rosa, CA
Funeral services provided by:
Daniels Chapel of the Roses
Sponsored by The Family.
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3 Entries
Jeff & Willa Bruckner
July 23, 2021
What a wonderful tribute. Wish I could have known her! I'm sorry for your loss.
Jill Gerry
July 20, 2021
With much sympathy for your exceptional mom. Her kids seem to emulate her wonderful life.
Michael Ahern
July 19, 2021
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