Donna Lois Benitez

Donna BenitezAfter a long battle with cancer, Donna Lois Benitez, 61, of Tonasket, Wash., passed away at home with family by her side on April 22, 2013. She was born June 25, 1951 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Donna was a long time resident of Tonasket. She found meaning and purpose serving as a member of the Oroville Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For many years her focus was on helping families and children realize their potential as an early childhood educator and parent advocate for Head Start. She also enjoyed her work as a member of the Okanogan Family Faire and the Tonasket Farmer’s Market.

Her children often came to her for advice and as the perpetual optimist she was, her favorite piece to give out was, “It always works out.” With a gift for always seeing the best in every person and situation, Donna approached life with gentleness and kindness. One of Donna’s favorite quotes was “People won’t remember what you said or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou; and she lived by this; she always made people feel loved, respected and cherished.

She was an avid reader with an adventurous spirit who loved spending time with her family and friends. She often traveled to the Oregon Coast and California’s Beaches with her family. Last summer, as her battle with cancer drew closer to the end, she rallied for a final trip to Seaside, Ore. It was a last time for her children, grandchildren, and extended family to come together to honor her and enjoy each other in a setting that carried special meaning and memories for her.

She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Tony Benitez; five daughters, Renee Moser and husband Ted of Moses Lake, Wash., Christina Britts and husband Bill of Issaquah, Wash., Cynthia Benitez of Tonasket, Rachel Benitez of Culver City, Calif. and Jessica Benitez of Tonasket; one son, Jeremy Cranford and wife Kendra of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; nine grandchildren, Tyler, Elijah, Abi, Lacey, Torie, Eva, Eden, Camille and Piper; two sisters, Gayla Smith of California, Debbie Burke of Oklahoma; one brother, David Gravely of California and a large extended family.

A public memorial service will be held Friday May 3rd at 11 a.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, 32501 U.S. 97, Oroville, Wash.

A reception will be held following the service at the Community Cultural Center, 411 Western Ave, Tonasket.

The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Omak Hospice, her community and congregation for their support during her final days and throughout her illness.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Donna’s name to the LeioMyoSarcoma Direct Research Foundation –

For Donna, friend of mine

Bless the friend who will never leave you, / this permanent resident of your heart / whose example of how to touch / is a picture that will never fade; / whose voice you hear on a silent night / when you have lost some faith in love; / she brings you back to where you were / when she listened so well and understood. / Bless the friend who will never leave you, / whose life itself is proof enough / that goodness wins / no matter how unjust the fight.