Obituary of Donna Lou Traver Smith
Donna Lou Gury Traver Smith passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 3, 2023. Donna Lou was born October 6, 1934 in Watertown, Wisconsin to the Reverend Canon Don M. Gury and Lucile Lickly Gury, who predeceased her.
Donna Lou moved to Hastings, Michigan with her parents in 1937 where her father was the rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church for thirty years. Being the child of a clergyman, she shared many stories of her antics to have fun while trying to be a “PK,” or “Preacher’s Kid” with her little brother David. She graduated from Hastings High School in 1952 and married Donald K. Traver, her high school sweetheart on September 12, 1953 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the very same day John F. Kennedy married Jackie Kennedy.
Following their wedding, Don and Donna Lou lived in El Paso, Texas where Don was stationed in the Army. There, she made lifelong friends and enjoyed frequent jaunts to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She and Don moved back to Michigan where he became an established businessman, and she was a homemaker. After ten years of marriage, she and Don welcomed their two children, first their son Michael followed by their daughter Lisa. They primarily lived in Charlotte, Michigan and spent summers making memories at the family’s summer cottage on Duck Lake.
Donna Lou and her family moved to Sarasota in 1971 where she later worked alongside her husband in their dry-cleaning business and other family businesses while enjoying the weather, the beach, boating, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She also enjoyed her involvement in church activities such as being on the altar guild and teaching Sunday school at St. Wilfred’s Episcopal Church and attending other area Episcopal churches.
Donna Lou will be remembered for her strong and enduring faith, unwavering work ethic, love of family, and fondness for socializing (including her love of social media) which she actively participated in throughout her eighties. She was always engaged, always curious and cared deeply for others. This engagement was most recently demonstrated at her condominium community of Village in the Pines.
Donna Lou was preceded in death by her first husband Donald in 2013; she later married and enjoyed the last ten years with Ray L. Smith, who survives her.
Donna Lou is also survived by her son, Michael Traver (Lynne) of Sarasota; daughter Lisa Traver Etheridge (Jeffery) of Tallahassee; her brother David Gury (Elias Baez) of Boca Raton; and her much beloved grandchildren Anna Traver (Ehren); Eric Traver (Cherlinda); Rachael Etheridge; Evan Etheridge (Maria); and Natalie Etheridge Abbott (Will). She is further survived several nieces and nephews and many others who claimed her as their “second mom,” including the Morse children.
Services will be held on Friday, November 24th at 11:30 at Jennings Funeral Home in Sarasota followed by a 1:30 service at Sarasota National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family asks you make a donation in her name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the ASPCA.