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Donna Potter Garcia
May 3rd 1943
October 18th 2012
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From the Center Park newsletter, November 2012
A Loss to Our Community…
As many people may have heard by now, we lost our long-time Council President, Donna Potter-Garcia, recently. Obviously, her passing surprised and saddened a lot of people here at Center Park and throughout the SHA community and the impact of it will be felt for some time.
To put things in perspective, Donna served Center Park for well over 20 years, being the president of the Residents’ Council for most of those years. Under her guidance, the Council functioned fairly well (okay, there are a few people who think it could have been more “open,” but that’s a whole different topic of discussion) and is still looked to for guidance by other SHA communities which are either forming new councils or finding ways to improve the operation of the ones they have.
While we’ll all miss Donna, we know the Council will continue to function—albeit in a different form. Tammi Bradford has been handling the delivery of oversized mail (the packages) and also coordinating the trip scheduling for our dedicated bus (at least until METRO “folds” that into the ACCESS paratransit scheduling system in February; please see our article elsewhere in this newsletter about the status of that).
We know people will have questions about who will replace Donna as President. As of October 19, Maymuna Haji-Eda, our current Vice President, became the Acting President and will serve in that capacity until December 31 of this year.
Our Officer Elections are scheduled for December 4th and Donna was listed as the only candidate for President—the “Board Elect” and the Full Council decided to reopen nominations for the position of President and also filled Donna’s position on the Board-Elect (although there are two months left on her current term on the Board, we decided not to fill that position; however, we chose Dean Williams to be the acting Vice President, completing Maymuna’s term in that position).
Who was nominated for the position of President? The following candidates have agreed to run for the position and will be on the December 4th ballot. Incidentally, the official announcement of the Officer Election, listing all of the candidates on the ballot, has been posted.
Maymuna Haji-Eds J M (Jim) Bush Julie Sahlberg
Also, a memorial service (and celebration of Donna’s life) will be held here at Center Park on November 19th. If you want to help with the planning, setup and cleanup for this event, please contact Maymuna or Marcia. Also, we are looking for people to talk about what Donna meant to this community. If you have any words you’d like to say or photographs of Donna you’d like to share, please let us know.
As for how other functions of the Council would continue (like staffing of the Council Office itself), we are working on getting the office open soon (several people will be working on getting it reorganized over the next few weeks, with an eye toward getting it operational as soon as possible). Since most of the current Board members were re-elected in September and will take office in January, we can be assured that there will be some consistency in how the Council will operate as a whole. There may be some “tweaks” in operational procedures, but the Council will still be an organization that every resident can be a part of—and we need everyone to be an ACTIVE participant for the organization to function. This is YOUR Residents’ Council—and it needs you more than ever right now.
From Donna's cousin Jim
Donna Louise Potter Garcia
May 3-1943-October 19, 2012 (I am unsure if this is the exact date of her passing)
Donna was the first child of Mansfield and Dorothy Potter and was born in San Diego, CA where her father was stationed during World War II. The family returned after the war to the Helena, Montana area where her dad was raised on a his father’s ranch about 12 miles east of town on Spokane Creek, which runs just below the Spokane bench area of the Spokane Hills. His father and mother moved to the area in 1916 where they raised seven children. Mansfield and Dot bought a ranch just to the east of the his family’s place where they raised their four children: Donna, Martin, John and Jane. Donna was preceded in death by her mother, brother Marty and sister Jane and by her husband Joe Garcia.
Donna contracted infantile paralysis when she was three years old. She grew up as a farm girl and attended at a two-room school through the 8th grade at Clasoil, MT, just a few miles west on Highway 12. This rural school was also attended by her aunts and uncles and several of her cousins. This wide spot in the road, which also had a store, no longer exists and the school building was relocated to Clancey, MT several years later.
Donna went by bus to Broadwater County High School in Townsend, Montana, about twenty miles to the east and graduated from it in 1961. Donna then attended secretarial school in Helena and worked in an insurance company for a short time.
She moved to Seattle in 1969 and lived with her first cousin at various points over several years. She worked and lived at Seattle University where she performed administrative duties for about three years. She then decided to further her education and attended and lived at the University of Washington where she received her degree in Psychology around 1979. She then lived independently until her relocation to Center Park in the early 1980s.
The above is but an outline of Donna’s life. The underlying story is one of intelligence, perseverance and courage throughout and against great odds. She had a wonderful sense of humor, loved to laugh, and was an integral part of any community in which she found herself. She was a teenager with a vengeance during the early years of rock and roll. She knew all the latest music, heart throbs and styles. Ricky Nelson-yes; Elvis, not so much with a little bit of country thrown in.
And, when she landed in Seattle, she became a much beloved and respected member of a wide group that gravitated towards the hippy movement, the gay community, Pike Place Market and arts and crafts. Her signature trademark during that period was her naturally curled hair which she teased into a magnificent Afro, and which sometimes drew askance glances from the African Americans. It is not surprising , with her wit and charm, that she could be a bit of a party animal.
As the 1970s and an era came to an end, she became a beloved member and leader of the Center Park Community where she lived from the 1980s on. She met and married Joe Garcia in that timeframe and they were together for almost 30 years at Center Park where she worked in the office and Joe served as a caretaker.
Donna’s 69 years held many successes along with the numerous challenges that many do not face. She lived with grace, humor and intelligence and touched many lives in the affirmative. She is sorely missed.
Check out this really fun contribution about Aging with Disabilities in the newest Agewise newsletter:
A Star is born Amid Technology
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