It is with heavy hearts that we as a family announce the passing of our beloved “Aunt Dee”.
Ms. Dolores C. “Dee” (Morris) Donnelly, a former resident of Wilkes-Barre, until moving to the Metuchen/Edison, New Jersey area in 1956, and a current resident of Naples, Florida, since 1994, entered into Eternal Life early the morning of Tuesday, July 11, 2023 surrounded by her adoring family. This occurred following a lengthy illness she endured with grace and dignity.
Born in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, July 17, 1924, she would have realized her ninety-ninth birthday this coming week. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Mary V. (France) Morris.
Ms. Donnelly was a graduate of the former Saint Ann’s Academy, Wilkes-Barre, the College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, New York, and attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Until her retirement, Ms. Donnelly was an English teacher for the Edison Township, New Jersey Board of Education, at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School for fourteen years and at the J.P. Stevens High School, Edison, for six years. Prior to that, she had taught at Saint Ann’s Academy Wilkes-Barre, for three years.
While in Wilkes-Barre, Ms. Donnelly was also employed by the Wyoming Valley Girls Scout Council as field executive and Camp Director for several years. In New Jersey, she was employed by the Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council also as a field executive and Camp Director. Upon retiring from volunteer services to the New Jersey Council, she was awarded the “Thanks Badge”, (the highest award received in Girl Scouting for volunteers), for her efforts.
Again during her time in Wilkes-Barre, Aunt Dee was very active with the Little Theater Ensemble of Wilkes-Barre in various activities. She was a former member of the Slovak Women’s Club of Luzerne County, and the Catholic Daughters of America, Court St. Anne, Branch #1294. In New Jersey, she was involved with the Community Theater, and then was a volunteer for George Street Playhouse, where she was a member of the Board of Directors, and active as President of the Volunteer Guild.
Ms. Donnelly was a member of Kappa Gamma Pi, a national Catholic Honor Society, where she served as president of its Wilkes-Barre Chapter, and also served as president of the Alumni Association of the College of New Rochelle, and was a member of the Alumni Council of the college. She was a member of Who’s Who among American Colleges and Universities. In 1990, she was awarded the URSULA LAURS Award from the College of New Rochelle, awarded to Alumni who are living to the ideals of service to church and community. She was a member of the National Education Association, the New Jersey State Education Association, and the Edison Township Education Association, where she served as a delegate to the National Conventions, as well as Publicity Chairperson, and she also represented the Edison Association to the Midlesex County Education Association.
While in New Jersey, she was a member of St. Nicholas Byzantine Rite Catholic Church, in Fords, New Jersey, where she taught religious education for seven years, and was a member of its Rosary Society. She was a volunteer for the Haven-Hospice at J.F.K. Community Hospital, Edison, New Jersey and held membership in the Midlessex County Retired Teachers Association.
Ms. Donnelly is currently a member of the Naples Byzantine Mission, and Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, both of Naples, Florida. She was a member of the “50 plus” club of Saint John the Evangelist Church, a volunteer for the Naples Philharmonic Art League. She was very active in the Ecumenical Council in Collier County, where they annually take part in a global “March for Jesus” which began in 1993.
Besides her parents, Aunt Dee was preceded in death by brothers, Joseph T. Morris, who died March 25, 1944 and John V. Morris Sr. on May 4, 2003; Sister-in-Law, Cecilia I. (Kalafut) Morris on March 14, 2015; Niece, Mary Elizabeth (Morris) Mickulik on May 23, 2017; Nephew, John V. Morris Jr. on August 28, 2019, and most recently by niece, Paula M. (Morris) Nicely on April 28, 2023.
Left to cherish the wonderful memories they keep of her are her beloved husband, Mr. William McGrath, Naples; Her daughters, our cousins, Miss Mary K. Donnelly of Vermont; Mrs. Stephen (Suzanne) Nicholas, Jacksonville, Florida; Ms. Dorothy “Dottie” Brienza, of both New Jersey and Naples; and Ms. Ruth Karaczun, also of Naples, Florida; Seventeen grandchildren; Twelve Great-Grandchildren; several step-children and step-grandchildren; Several generations of nieces and nephews and countless friends in both Naples and the northeast.
Her presence leaves a void in the hearts of all whom she touched in this life. She was that “one-in-a-million” lady as a mother, caregiver, community volunteer and friend.
Memorial funeral services will be held on Friday, July 14th with a Funeral Mass at 12 noon in Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 625 111th Avenue North, Naples, Florida 34108. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to join the family for a time of visitation and shared remembrances directly at church from 11:15 a.m. until the time of her Funeral Mass which will be live-streamed by visiting www.sjecc.org. Interment will immediately follow in the gardens next to church. There will also be a celebration of Aunt Dee’s life held on Saturday, July 22nd, from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the clubhouse of Emerald Lakes, where she recently resided on Emerald Lakes Drive, just off of Airport-Pulling Road, Naples.
In lieu of floral tributes, the family would be honored if those wishing to make a monetary donation in Aunt Dee’s memory, kindly give consideration to the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, 500 West Main Street; Uniontown, PA 15401 or at www.sistersofstbasil.org.
Those wishing to share online words of comfort or a fond memory with the family are encouraged to do so here on her memorial page. Rest now in the Peace of the Risen Christ Aunt Dee! Until we meet again, we love you.
Sisters of Saint Basil the Great
500 West Main Street, Uniontown PA 15401