Donna Lee Powell Watkins

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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