Roma I. Donais W’27

Roma I. Donais, 100, of Easthampton, MA passed away Sunday, May 13, 2018 in her home with her family at her side. She was born in South Hadley, MA on August 13, 1917, the daughter of Hector and Clemencia Isabelle Huot. Roma attended schools in South Hadley and pursued a profession as a Registered Nurse. She was the widow of Dr. Henry E. Donais ‘27, a well-respected physician in Easthampton, who died in 1997. Roma was active in Easthampton as a member of the former Town of Easthampton Finance Committee, member and Corporator of Emily Williston Memorial Library, member of Tuesday Afternoon Club, Helping Hand Society, Garden Club and a former President of the Easthampton Historical Society.

Roma is survived by son Paul C. Donais and daughter Harriet E. Tatro ‘57, both of Easthampton, two grandchildren Harriet A. DeVerry ‘81 and John H. Tatro ‘87, and one great-grandson Devin DeVerry ’17. She was predeceased by her son Henry E. (Hank) Donais, Jr. ’59.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, May 17, from 4pm to 6pm at Mitchell Funeral Home, 15 Park Street, Easthampton.

In lieu of flowers’s, a gift in Roma’s memory may be given to the Williston Northampton School, Donais Scholarship Fund.

10 thoughts on “Roma I. Donais W’27”

  1. Dr. Donais cared for me in September, 1962, my first month @ Williston as a freshman, after an appendicitis attack. They were a wonderful couple.

  2. My deepest condolences to the Donais-Tatro-DeVerry families. One of the joys of attending Williston was being part of the many families that made Easthampton and the school their home for generations. Dr. and Mrs. Donais were grandparents as much to all the students as they were to Harriet and John. They leave a legacy of care and kindness from their own lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren.

  3. I am saddened by the death of Roma Donais. She and Dr. Donais were very supportive of faculty and students at Williston. Her son Hank and I were close friends and colleagues at Williston during the mid 60s. We taught french together with Alain Weber and Tom Evens from the mid 60s through June 1972. Hank and I often spent out free time hunting and fishing in Easthampton and on Cape Cod. Hank showed me how to turn fishing lures on a lathe in the school shop. I will always cherish the times I shared with the Donais family while at Williston.
    John M. Wilson, Former Faculty

  4. Hank was a classmate and fellow swimmer. We had a strong friendship. He was a strong swimmer in the days of Babcock’s swimming dynasty.

    I always smile when I see him in the varsity swimming team picture now in the basement of the gym.

  5. I remember her as Hank’s mother and an important member of Williston’s supportive environment. My sympathies.
    Roy Weiner, ’59

  6. My best wishes and sympathy to Harriet and the rest of Donais’ extended family.
    I have fond memories of Harriet and Hank, and I remember Roma as a very kind and compassionate lady.

  7. For many of us with an interest in Easthampton or Williston history, Roma Donais was an inexhaustible source of local lore. There were no short answers, or isolated events: a Roma story would reminder her of another, and another – an eloquent reminder that history is much more a mosaic of relationships than anything linear. For many of us “faculty brats” from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Roma’s kitchen was our surrogate grandmother’s house. Above all, she was a woman of grace, warmth, and wit, a lifelong friend whom I shall miss terribly. My heart goes out to her family.

  8. So sorry to hear of the loss of Roma Donais. She was a delightful neighbor and supporter of Williston during my years as Headmaster. She knew everyone in Easthampton, and we shared many enjoyable times as Corporators for the Emily Williston Library. We traveled to Cape Cod for Reunions and fundraisers and, as Rick Teller mentions, she was a wonderful source of stories about her days working with her husband. Our fondest sympathies to Harriet and Paul who have also been such an important part of Williston. Roma will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her and was blessed by her kindness, generosity and warmth.

  9. One of my fondest memories of Mrs. Donais is when she opened her backyard to us for a pre-prom party for her beautiful granddaughter (and our wonderful classmate) Harriet and friends. It was a picture-perfect setting, and Mrs. Donais was so sweet and proud. For all of us boarders, it gave us a feeling of home. She lived an amazingly full and long life, and gave so much to others. That is a life well-lived!

  10. We have extraordinary memories of Roma Donais, indeed of her whole family: Doc, who was doctor to the town and to a generation of Williston students and faculty families, made house calls, often arriving on foot, and never sent a bill; Roma, was the leavening nurse by his side, a woman of energy and good humor right to the end of her nearly 101 years; Hank, Harriet, and Paul, all deeply involved with Williston on many levels … Hank, who was especially close to us, whose loss in a car crash was profound, Harriet, our colleague for years, and Paul, beloved mascot to many Williston teams. Theirs was a Williston family of extraordinary depth and tenure. Roma and Barbara’s mother, Marylou Curtis, were co-workers in their later years bringing order to the Easthampton Historical Society so that all in the Town could enjoy the Town’s history. Doc saw our babies into the world and ensured their good health … and how we all enjoyed cold beer from the Donais’ basement frig with its keg always at the ready! There was a neighborhood surrounding their brick house on the corner of Payson Lane that involved faculty families, neighborhood families, such as Barbara’s family, including her two brothers, Dick ’63 and Jeff Curtis and, indeed, the entire Williston community for decades. The Donais’ run was a good run, one that embraced many of us from our young years to the present. Roma, with her ever present smile, was a welcoming sight to generations of Williston students, her entire family having been at the Williston core for decades, the stuff of legends. We miss her. — Barbara Curtis Baker ’61 and Ellis Baker ’51

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