Donna B. Reisner of Niantic, a former longtime resident of Westport, died Feb. 19. She was 88.
Donna Reisner: longtime Westport resident. Contributed photo
Born Sept. 18, 1930, Donna Mae Birmingham, the cherished daughter of John and Violet Birmingham, was raised in the Toledo, Ohio area.
She attended Clay High School and graduated from the University of Toledo in 1952 with a degree in art history. She married Air Force 2d Lt. Emil A. Reisner on Dec. 16, 1952 after meeting on campus and enjoying a fun-filled courtship.
They lived in Scott Air Force Base, Illinois after marriage and in various places with IBM including: Endicott, New York, Sacramento, California, and Stamford.
They settled in Westport in 1971 and spent 25 years living on Yankee Hill Road raising their children, surrounded by lifelong friends. Donna spent another 21 years living independently on Edgewater Commons Lane.
A proud and active member of the Westport community, she at one time was president of Friends of the Westport Library, managing director of the Levitt Pavilion, PTA co-president, board member of Westport-Weston United Way, headed the Westport Bicentennial Committee and Project Return House, was a regular volunteer at the Westport Arts Center, and an active member of Greens Farms Church for over 45 years.
She also worked at Westport Resources and was a valued employee until she retired and a client and friend there until her death.
Her love of art, music, and history shinned through. An avid reader and crossword puzzle enthusiast, The New York Times was never far from her side.
She loved visiting New York City museums and taking in Broadway shows, gazing at Compo Beach enjoying a picnic or taking a walk where she would often connect with old friends and new acquaintances along the way. She spent many years singing in the church choir.
Her love of cooking brought her joy as well as treasured time spent around the table, dining with friends and family. Her creativity, dedicated letter writing, and list making abilities are remarkable traits her family will always admire.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Violet Birmingham and her husband, Emil A. Reisner. She is survived by her children; Ann Bonney, Eric Reisner, Jennifer Butler, son-in-law Joe Butler, and her five grandchildren; Anna Butler, Julia Butler, Haydn Reisner, Samantha Reisner, and Cooper Reisner.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at Greens Farms Church, 71 Hillandale Road.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Greens Farms Church, Westport Library, or Westport Arts Center – specifically children’s educational programs – in her name.
We will forever carry the loving memory of Donna in our hearts. Our greatest hope is that like us, you too will be inspired by the simple and gentle gifts of our dear mother, grandmother, friend, vibrant community/church member – a hug genuinely given; a quiet walk on the beach; a meal with friends/family; a song before God; an appreciation of art, story, and poetry.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.“ – Kahlil Gibran