Moeller Funeral Home
104 Roosevelt Road
Valparaiso, IN  46383
(219) 462-0535
 Kosanke Funeral Home
105 East Indiana Avenue
Kouts, IN  46347
(219) 766-2224
Wanatah Funeral Chapel
309 North Main Street
Wanatah, IN  46390
(219) 733-2313
Angelcrest Cemetery
and Mausoleum

Highway 49 and 600 North
Valparaiso, IN  46383
(219) 531-8690

Donna Ruth Kavanaugh, 81, of Chesterton, Indiana, and formerly Palatine, Illinois, passed away Wednesday, October 6, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was born June 21, 1940, at home in Genoa, Ohio to Leslie Amler and Lucile Elizabeth (Tepper) Jones. Donna was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend who will be greatly missed.
Donna grew up on her family farm in Ohio and loved to share stories of riding her beloved horse, Babe, to school. She was proud to be a Big Walnut High School cheerleader and loved taking her children back to visit her childhood home.
In the early 1960’s, Donna began working for North Central Airlines. She spoke wistfully of her travels to Australia, Europe, Mexico, and almost all 50 states (she never made it to Montana) and loved telling stories about her interactions with people at the airport. Capitol City Airport in Lansing, Michigan touched Donna’s life in another manner, as that is how she met John, her husband of 54 years.
Donna married John V. Kavanaugh on August 26, 1967. They spent the early years of their marriage in Rosemont, Illinois, where they welcomed their first daughter, Kari Ann. They returned to Columbus, Ohio, where their second daughter, Kathleen (Kati) Elizabeth, was born.
A new job brought them back to Illinois, where William “Patrick” was born. They eventually settled into their adored English Tudor home that they lovingly restored over the next 40 years in Palatine, Illinois.
At her home in Palatine, Donna was in her element as a loving homemaker, master chocolate chip cookie maker, gardener, seamstress, and furniture restorer. She was creative and resourceful when it came to making her house a home.
Donna was active in the Palatine Historical Society and was long interested in Jones, Tepper, and Kavanaugh genealogy, spending many hours researching and documenting the family that came before us.
In 1991, Donna began working for Bullen & Associates, supporting the Bullen family who sold products that went into ice cream. Donna was always happy to help them test new flavors! Donna enjoyed her time with Bullen & Associates and retired in 2015.
Most of all, Donna loved spending time with her family, friends, and neighbors. She was a doting grandmother, “Nana,” to her four grandchildren and shared her love of books, flowers, fishpond, and cookies with them.
Donna is survived by her loving husband and rock, John V. Kavanaugh, along with their children, Kari (John) Pechous, Kati (Jonathan) McGinty, and Patrick Kavanaugh; grandchildren, Ainslee McGinty, Rori McGinty, Jack Pechous, and Maggie Mae McGinty; brother, Sam (Nancy) Jones; and nieces and nephews, Dana Herron, Bo Williams, Bill Jones, Lorenz Sollmann, Jennifer Stanger, Terrence Kavanaugh, Jon Dennis Kavanaugh, Molly Zmuda, and Bridget Hagerman.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Leslie and Lucile, brother, James “Jimmy” Chapin, sister, Martha Williams, niece, Hope Williams, and nephew, Thomas Sollmann.
Private family services were held with cremation at Angelcrest Crematory, Valparaiso, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to Heart to Heart Hospice, 402 Wall Street, Suite 12, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, who provided kind and loving support to Donna and John this past year.

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