Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Donna Goodell it is easy to see that she lived to love and serve others. Guided by an unwavering faith, the way she lived her life exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she served. Donna was deeply devoted to her family, and she was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include the grandchildren she adored. Life wasn’t always easy for her, but Donna’s strength, resilience, and gentle spirit helped her weather the storms of life as they came her way. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
The 1920s were exciting times in American history. Innovation brought us advancements like washing machines, refrigerators, cars that were mass produced on assembly lines, and motion pictures in both color and sound. These were exciting times when prosperity was largely felt nationwide. It was during this same time that Lawrence and Viola (Beardsley) Crawford were filled with great anticipation as they awaited the birth of their new baby as winter appeared on the horizon in February of 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their wait was finally over on February 4th when the baby girl they named Donna M. drew her first breath at 252 Palmer Street NW.
The only child in her family, Donna was raised in the family home that was just down the street from her grandparents. She enjoyed spending time hunting and fishing with her father. As a student Donna attended Palmer Elementary School from 1932 through 1939 and was then on to Creston High School. After graduating from high school in 1946, she worked as a typist at Michigan Bulb Company.
New and exciting changes were in store for Donna when she met the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Verlin Goodell, and he was working as an electrician at the time. They were introduced through her mother’s friend, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Donna and Verlin were married on May 29, 1948, at her grandparents’ house at 1853 Lafayette NE, in Grand Rapids.
After a honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula, the newlyweds were eager to begin their new life together as husband and wife. They settled into their first home on Cheney Avenue, NE, in Grand Rapids. Together they welcomed four children including Melvin, Barbara, Marilyn, and Chuck into their hearts and home. Although Donna was predominantly a wife, mother, and homemaker, she did work part-time at Pilgrim Manor retirement home and in the kitchen at Bill Knapp’s restaurant.
Donna made keeping things running at home effortless. She was clean to the point of being a bit fussy as she had great organizational skills. Cooking large meals was another specialty as she loved cooking and baking things like cookies, pies, and cakes. Donna was someone who always wanted what was right, and she expected nothing less from her kids. She was always fair, and what was done for one child was done for all of them. Donna had strong moral convictions that she passed on to her children, and she also taught them to have good manners. She was a great knitter, and she passed this skill on to her girls as they made sweaters, mittens, and plenty of doll clothes in addition to other things. There were family day trips to Port Sheldon beach on Lake Michigan as well as camping trips to Grand Haven State Park. Donna also organized two week camping trip vacations each summer to memorable places like out West, to the Upper Peninsula, and even down South. Their travels out West were quite extensive, and they started out in a pop-up camper but later moved to a motorhome. Oftentimes they were gone for months at a time. Later on, they went out to Seattle to visit their son, Melvin. Donna forever had a great appreciation for the outdoors, loved the mountains, and called out West “God’s country.” Donna always had a bond with her children, even when they didn't agree.
There were so many things that Donna enjoyed throughout her life, She liked reading, especially the Bible, and she also liked listening and singing to hymns. She insisted on going to church every Sunday, and her faith was always of the utmost importance. Donna was a longtime member of Plainfield United Methodist Church where she volunteered for a number of years. She also volunteered at the Home For the Blind and with the PTA. A talented singer, Donna was in a singing group for 39 years. She always loved her dogs, beginning from the time she was a young girl and her dog “Snooky” kept her out of trouble. More recently, her dogs, Princess, Freddy, and Zack, were her true companions. Even her grand-dogs were significant in Donna’s life as she dog sat for her daughter in her own home while her daughter was at work. She cooked at home most times, but Donna loved Lanning’s Restaurant.
All who knew Donna Goodell would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was kind, compassionate, and selfless with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. A loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Donna just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a great-grandmother later in life. Although she will be deeply missed, Donna leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.