Obituary of Donna Jean Smolenski
Donna Jean Smolenski, 82, of Venice, FL, passed away on January 2, 2023. She was born in Oneida, NY on Sept. 10, 1940 to John Janovsky and Ludmilla (Kolar) Janovsky and grew up on a dairy farm. Donna was salutatorian at Morrisville-Eaton Central School in 1958 and graduated magna cum laude from Springfield College in 1962. After graduation, she became a physical education teacher and later worked for many years with the YMCA.
In her freshman year of college, Donna was introduced to her husband John by their mutual, life-long friend Sally Johnson. Donna and John were married on August 24, 1963 and had three children: Mary, Don (wife Karen) & Nancy.
Travel has been an important theme in Donna’s life. Donna and John moved 9 times while they were married, living in 6 states (PA, NY, KS, IL, TX & FL). Favorite travel destinations included the YMCA camp in Estes Park, CO; their relative’s cottage on Rideau Lake in Ontario, the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, volunteer service in Moscow and Sarajevo, cruises with their daughters, and the Super Bowl in 2018.
Donna was always physically active. A cheerleader and field hockey player in high school, she took up swimming in college and tennis and golf later in life. In retirement, she swam almost every day, no matter how cold the weather, and shared her love of movement by teaching water aerobics. She was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan.
Donna was an active volunteer throughout her life. In Venice, she volunteered with The Venice Foundation, Tidewell Hospice and Venice Meals on Wheels. She was also active in PEO, rising to president of the FL state chapter in 2010.
Donna will be remembered as a loving wife, mother and grandmother who always made an effort to assist those in need. She had a ready smile and kind words for everyone she met.
She is predeceased by her parents John & Ludmilla Janovsky, brothers Carl (wife Joanne) and John, sisters Ann Devitt (husband Bill) and Betty Pearl (husband Richard).
She is survived by her husband of 59 years John, sister Jan Argentine (husband Tony), sister-in-law Annette Janovsky, daughters Mary and Nancy, son Don, daughter-in-law Karen Cosentino, grandsons Jake and Shane and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass at Epiphany Cathedral and a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Tidewell Hospice or Venice Area Meals on Wheels. To leave a condolence for the family, please visit www.farleyfuneralhome.com.