In memory of Donna Lee Powell Watkins (Sept. 3, 1950 – Nov. 11, 2016)
Dr. Jane Goodall: “Forest peace, sharing vision, always optimistic.”

Donna was one to take on many challenges whether she had any knowledge about it or not, such as homeschooling our only child, Benjamin. Starting a business by accident after earning a degree in alternative medicine, since she had health issues that were not getting resolved in the drug approach. She wanted natural foods for less cost than the health food store, so she began a natural foods co-op buying in bulk, securing a small building at a church for delivery and recruiting a few homeschoolers to help with the monthly task.

She took on the challenges of many health problems: allergies (pollen, cat chemical, and 54 foods) for 54 years, asthma for 33 years, underactive thyroid for 40 years, vitiligo for 40 years, rheumatoid arthritis for 40 years) without any pain medications, and many other less demanding issues, but the heart issues trumped them all. If you don’t have a working heart, you can’t make a move without your heart racing and eventually you have no muscle to do anything.

Generally very optimistic and positive, she was full of energy to the lack of eating and sleep, she energized herself to be busy all day. Being unable to do anything but lie in bed was the greatest challenge of her life, but in the last year of the five-year battle with congestive heart failure, enlarged heart and irregular heartbeat, made her realize that life wasn’t about “doing” but “being” and that she had truly missed much of what life is all about. Having traveled the world, thanks to the Nature’s Sunshine business, was a dream come true. Since childhood she wanted to travel and certainly got a lot of it, especially international.

The forests, and especially rainforests (think Costa Rica), were a great love of Donna’s and we were blessed to move to the woods in 1990 and can never imagine life without all the wildlife we attracted by becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. We had no need for entertainment, but to sit in our chaises on the screen porch and watch the amazing things that God created.  Deer, raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, gray foxes, chipmunks, and a tremendous array of bird species.

A memorial service will be conducted at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Effort Baptist Church in Palmyra.  The family will receive friends at their home at Lake Monticello, 27 Fleetwood Drive, Palmyra, Va., 22963, following the service on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Plant With Purpose at

Family and friends may share memories and sign the online guestbook by visiting

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A celebration of life service for Paul R. Holtz will be held Friday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at Effort Church in Palmyra. Paul died on Nov. 11, 2016. He had been at Commonwealth Senior Living where he was being taken care of for Alzheimer’s.

Paul was born in Lander, Wyo., on June 25, 1933.  He attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie where he attained a Bachelor’s of Arts in journalism. 
He married Averill Bishop in 1954. From college he went to Sweet Home, Ore., where he was editor of the local paper. The call of Wyoming drew him back to become editor of the Independent Record in Thermopolis, Wyo. Paul loved writing and said many times that “a newspaper man should never editorialize but write the straight truth.”  Add a comment


Mary Ellen Crane died on Aug. 29, 2016 in Naples, Florida.  She was born in Rochester, New York.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Charles, and a sister, brother, four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a daughter, Theresa.

Mary Ellen lived at Lake Monticello for many years. She was a true and caring friend to all who knew her. She loved playing bridge.

Her funeral services were held Sept. 10, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Maryland.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Avow Foundation of Naples, Florida. The Avow Foundation is a nonprofit specializing in hospice care.

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Lawrence Lee Creasy, 88, of Palmyra, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 after a sudden illness. Add a comment


Floyd Grant West, 70, of Palmyra, passed away on Saturday evening, July 23, 2016 at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville with his family by his side.

He was born on January 18, 1946, in Utica, New York, a son of the late Arthur and Elesa (Christiansen) West.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three brothers, Sonny, George, and Paul; and a sister, Sarah.

Prior to moving to Virginia, Floyd and his wife resided in Marcy, New York. He retired from the Holland Patent Central School District, where he worked as a special education teacher. Upon his retirement, he moved to the Lake Monticello area of Fluvanna County, Virginia. There he became active in the community as a member of Salem United Methodist Church and the Lake Monticello Newcomer's Club.  He enjoyed spending time with his family and his beloved dogs, Maggie, Sadie, and Riley.

Survivors include his wife, Connie West; two sons, Jason West and Kristin of Frankfort, New York and Kevin West and Carin of San Diego, California; a daughter, Erin Goldmann and Sam of Palmyra; a sister, Joan Denny of Cincinnati, Ohio; a sister-in-law, Helen West of Port St. John, Florida; a brother-in-law, Phil Davidson of North Carolina; and a number of nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.

A funeral service will be conducted at 2 on Thursday, July 28, 2016 at Salem United Methodist Church by the Reverend Mike Pettry.  Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at Thacker Brothers Lake Monticello Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fluvanna County SPCA, 5239 Union Mills Rd, Troy, Va., 22974; or the Lake Monticello Fire and Rescue, 14 Slice Road, Palmyra, Va., 22963.

Family and friends may share memories and photos at

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