Donna was born to Stanley and Mary Michalek on March 28, 1950 in Omaha, NE. She was little sister to Paul and Richard, and later, big sister to Carol and Robert. At the age of 16, the family relocated to San Diego, where they attended St. Mary Magdalene Church for decades. Donna graduated from Cathedral High School.
Her love of animals, and artistic flair led her to a career in dog grooming. After studying the art at Four Paws Grooming school in San Diego, she purchased Paw Alley in Clairemont in the 80s. She passionately ran her successful business for nearly three decades, until selling it around 2010. Finding she wasn’t ready for retirement yet, she then worked for Pacific Beach Veterinary Clinic until 2020, when she actually retired.
Donna was an avid reader, enjoying novels by Danielle Steel and mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell and Sue Grafton. Her last library visit included suspense from Jeff Abbott and Joy Fielding, Erma Bombeck’s “At Wit’s End,” and ironically, Mitch Albom’s “First Phone Call from Heaven” to name a few. She collected anything cats; statues, photos, clocks, music boxes, mugs, Garfield items, etc. Another hobby Donna enjoyed was photography, so much so, that finding photos of her without a camera in hand was quite the challenge. She liked TV vet shows including Heartland Vets and Dr Oakley, Yukon Vet. Her musical tastes included The Monkees in her teen years and most recently, Country. Donna’s favorite color was red and she almost always drove a red car, having her sights set on a new red Mazda sedan. She even owned red pets; a tabby cat and 2 vizslas, one of which was an agility champion. Donna was excited to watch Rosie compete in these events for many years and enjoyed traveling to the various locations and meeting other pets and their owners. Over the years, she was a devoted pet owner to MANY cats and dogs that lived to ripe old ages - including her 2 cats; 18 year old Buttercup and 9 year old Alvin - thanks to her love and tender care.
She had a heart of gold, was kinder than kind, selfless, generous, thoughtful, compassionate, caring and oh so helpful! Her laugh was contagious, and we still hear it today.
Donna passed away unexpectedly on November 30, leaving behind all 4 of her siblings, 10 nieces and nephews, MANY great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins. Although she never had children of her own, she loved, supported and inspired her nieces, nephews and cousins as her own, always encouraging them to follow their dreams. She is missed deeply but will live on in our hearts and memories until we are reunited.