Donna Marie Eckels Gautier, 90, of Salem died on Monday, October 18, 2021, at her son and daughter-in-law's home with Good Samaritan Hospice attending to her medical needs, and family by her side to care for her. Donna wanted to see her 90th birthday, and she did just that, as she passed the next morning. She was preceded in death by her husband Elmer "Bill" Gautier, Jr., and an infant granddaughter, Julie Gautier (Paul's daughter)
Donna was born at home on October 17, 1931 in a small community of Bridgeport, near Mt. Peasant, Pennsylvania. She was the youngest of six children born to the late Frank and Anna Clausner Eckels. She missed all of those who had gone before her: both parents, brothers: Amos, Franklin (Erma), Vernon (Dorothy), Robert (Betty Lou), and sister Florence. She often expressed her gratitude for the precious gift of memories.
Surviving family are her son, Paul Matthew Gautier and daughter-in-law, Jamie Lynn Gautier; and Paul's and ex-wife, Christy Burnett's sons, Ben Gautier, Trevor Gautier, Justin Gautier, and Parker Gautier; Jamie's children: Angel Pruitt, John Pruitt, Jackie Pruitt, and Caleb Pruitt, as well as a great grandson, Lucas Darter; daughter, Nancy Lynn Gautier Wood and husband Keith Wood, and son Kyle Martin. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews and many friends, as well as a few very close friends, Bertha Rossen, Jerry Bowen, Laura Poole, Bonnie Beckner, and Carole McCulloch.
She valued her faith, family, and friends. She was the happiest at helping others. A lifetime learner, she was a graduate of Allegheny General Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa., Roanoke College, and Hollins University, among other studies. Donna retired from Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, VA after a very long career in Nursing and leadership. Her childhood was infused with a love of nature that appeared in many of her poems. Toward the end of her journey, she loved music, being with family, sweets, the family cat, and her great grandson. These all brought smiles to her face, tears to her eyes, and comfort to her heart. Something that brought her much joy and to us that survive her in the belief "we will see her again in heaven's glory land".
A memorial service will be conducted Noon Saturday, October 23, 2021 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church 42 East Main Street Salem by the Rev. Dr. David Compton. Inurnment will follow in the church columbarium. Any floral arrangements being sent to the family may be delivered to Simpson Funeral Home 5160 Peters Creek Road. Arrangements by Simpson Funeral Home 366-0707