Donna Helen (Potter) Hutchinson of Exeter Township, passed away peacefully on July 21, 2023 surrounded by close friends and family at home. She died at the age of 80, although regularly told everyone she was 39 and holding.
She was born on October 30, 1942 in Old Forge, PA to the late Miles Buttles and Helen Rose (Bocci) Potter. Donna was also the daughter-in-law of the late Mona M. Hutchinson (Davis) and step-daughter of the late Freddy Potter (Wasserman).
Donna grew up in Bryn Mawr, PA and graduated from Haverford High School (class of 1960). She achieved her bachelor’s degree from Lycoming College and her master’s degree from Villanova. She began her career in 1964 teaching math at Southwest Junior High School. Donna retired after 22 years of devoted service as a school counselor at Daniel Boone High School.
Donna was a philanthropist, led by her innate generosity and steadfast belief in the goodness and potential of others. She was fiercely passionate about education, dedicating 59 years to schools within Berks County, most recently at Schwarzwald UCC Preschool. Donna sincerely believed in the power of education. Her ardor for learning was contagious. She helped thousands of youths navigate post-high school education, and sparked a love of knowledge for hundreds of preschool children.
She had a tireless work ethic and volunteered her time starting at an early age. Despite being a single working mother she always found time to engage with her daughters’ activities. She served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and created the first line of spirit wear for Exeter Girls Soccer. Through her actions, Donna taught her girls to bravely meet every moment. Her unwavering integrity fueled her resilience.
Donna derived joy from gardening, birdwatching, puzzling, watching sports (go Phillies!), lunching with friends, and above all spending time at the beach (her happy place). A treasured summer tradition for her was beach vacations with family in Avalon, NJ and Ocean City, MD. She also enjoyed her trips to visit her brother in Tucson, Arizona.
First and foremost she was a mother who cherished her relationships with her two daughters, Julie and Zoë. She especially loved her role as Nonna to her four grandchildren, Tyler, Damon, Kari, and Kendall; and sister to her four siblings. Donna relished being their cheerleader by supporting their passions and talents. She gained such happiness and pride from sharing every milestone and celebrating every triumph.
Her heart was so big, she seemed to have endless love and energy for everyone. She was a great advocate for her friends' health and well-being. Donna was always ready to help family, both given and chosen, and her community members. A friend recently paid tribute to her by saying, “Her kindness billowing like clouds, her determination is strong and constant like ocean waves, her generosity showers you like rain, her faith rooted like sequoias, when she’s fighting for what she believes in it’s like lighting striking, her presence and involvement like a mountain, solid and grand, her impact like grains of sand~it’s everywhere and gets in everything!”.
Donna was so good to us all, she made friends everywhere she went and will be forever celebrated. If love alone could have kept her here, she would have lived forever.
She is survived by: Her daughters Julia Jolen (Hutchinson), wife of Justin B. Shaffer of Exeter Township and Zoë May Hutchinson, partner of Fred Prussack of Brooklyn, New York. The light of her eyes, her grandchildren: Tyler M. Lamon, Damon B. Shaffer, Kari M. Shaffer and Kendall J. Shaffer.
She is additionally survived by her fiercely loved siblings: Patricia C. (Potter), widow of Andrew F. Lawless III; Barbara A. (Potter), wife of John “Jack” Thomas; Miles M. “Jerry” Potter, husband of Martha “Marti” (Wines), Howard R. Zveitel, husband of Linda K. (Shaw) and sister-in-law: Margaret L. (Hutchinson), wife of Dale C. Eisenhut.
She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, whom she loved deeply, and is reunited with her beloved Angel Rachel.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2023. The family will receive friends and family beginning at 11:30am at Friedens UCC, 337 Main Street, Oley, PA 19547. Services will begin at 12:30pm with luncheon to follow. The inurnment will be private. In lieu of flowers, guests attending services may bring 12-15oz cans of corn, green beans or peas to benefit the Oley Valley Food Pantry and/or contributions may be made to Exeter Community Education Foundation, please memo “Outreach” mail checks to: 200 Elm Street Reading, PA 19606 or donate online using this hyperlink Foundation Donation
Stitzel Family Funeral Homes & Crematory, Inc., Oley is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences can be signed at www.StitzelFamilyFuneralHomes.com