Dona Marie Noel Jorgensen, the youngest of three children by Merle and Margaret Harmon, was born December 25, 1925 in Denair, California. After a sudden illness, she died January 6, 2016 in Valencia, California, at age 90.
When asked if she ever felt “shortchanged” being a Christmas baby when she was a child, she always replied, “Not at all. I would celebrate Christmas in the morning and my birthday on Christmas afternoon.”
Dona was a member of the Denair High School Class of 1943. While working as a waitress at a Turlock, California diner, she met the love of her life, Tilton (Slim) Jorgensen, a sergeant in the U.S. Army. They were married in 1944, shortly before he was deployed to the Battle of the Bulge in Europe where he eventually became a German prisoner of war. In 1949, Dona, along with Slim and her young family, relocated to Newhall, California, where they briefly lived before purchasing their first home in a new Saugus development called “Bonelli Tract,” the first housing tract in the Santa Clarita Valley.
At the same time she was raising three young sons and a daughter, Dona taught piano at her home. Her children would often go to sleep at night to the sound of live music from Dona honing her skills on the ivory keys. The personal highlights of her music career were playing piano for several musical productions at Hart High School in Newhall, attending a summer music internship at Ithaca College in New York, and of course, the accomplishments of her students, who were always required to practice their piano scales before they could play the fun stuff.
Subsequent chapters of Dona’s life included being a co-owner of Newhall Ambulance, Inc. with her husband, Slim, and working many years as a business office consultant for school districts in Newhall, Canyon Country, Pasadena and Ontario, California.
The last 3 ½ years of her life, Dona was a resident of Summerhill Villa in Santa Clarita, California, where she always raved about the caregivers and staff. She also continually worried about her weight while living at Summerhill because the food was so good.
Dona is survived by her son, Dennis (Kathie) Jorgensen, Santa Ynez, California, son, Terry (Phyllis) Jorgensen, Lodi, California, son, Tim Jorgensen, Acton, California, daughter, Sheree Stephens, Molalla, Oregon, grandchildren Erik, Michaelee, Rachel, Kraig, Kyle, Seth, Ronald, Joe, and great-grandchildren Tyler, Alex, Lucas, Zachary and Ryn. She was preceded in death by her husband, Slim, in 2006, brother Dale Harmon and sister Dorothy Brown.
Dona will be laid to rest in a graveside service in Molalla, Oregon on January 16. A celebration of her life will be held in Lodi, California in the coming weeks.
Donations in Dona’s memory can be made to the American Humane Association, 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 360, Washington, DC 20036.