Eulogy for Donna Jean Boring
April 20, 2016
by Rev. John Partridge
Donna Jean Priest was born on March 15, 1929 as the middle daughter of five children. Although quite a few years have come and gone since then, Donna always seemed to keep the same spirit that she always had. In her teens Donna met Franklin Blair Boring (who always went by Blair and never by Franklin or Frank). Even though they lived, and grew up, only a few blocks apart, they met at the local corner store, something blossomed and they were married in 1950. Their wedding was already planned when Blair, who was in the United States Naval Reserve, got called up for active duty during the Korean War. Suddenly they only had two weeks to change all their plans, get married, and get Blair to his duty station. Somehow they managed it, but for the first year of their marriage, Blair spent most of his time at sea patrolling off the East Coast. But after he came home, the two of them, with some help from their families, built their house and their home together. Every board, every nail, every wire, and every pound of concrete they did themselves. And eventually they built a family together as well by bringing three children into their lives.
For both of them, family was always first and their lives revolved around their church, their kids, their siblings, and their parents. But more than that, Donna and Blair were often the anchors that held everyone together. Donna’s sister said that whenever times were tough, you could count on the two of them being there for you. Everyone knew that, while she was still alive, Donna talked to her mom just about every single day. Every evening, and every weekend, was about family. And, even though Donna absolutely hated long car rides, vacations were for family and so she went anyway. Donna and Blair were a team. Every week he would bring his paycheck home and give it to her, and if he needed something, even something small, he would ask her for permission. Of course, that had limits. Whenever Blair needed a new tool he would ask, but if Donna took too long to give him permission, he would eventually go out and buy it anyway. In either case, they always made it work. Although they were never rich, Donna made sure that everyone always had the things that they needed.
Donna and Blair had thirty eight years together but she lost the love of her life in 1988. After that, Donna struggled for a while. Learning to live her life alone was hard and her children worried about her. Eventually, Bonnie heard that there was a group of folks doing grief counselling together and everyone thought that might be a good idea… everyone, of course, except Donna. She really didn’t want to go and Bonnie had to take her every week just so they could be sure that she actually went. In the end, once Donna got through the counselling, she began to get back out of her shell and she really took off and started getting out again.
Of course, getting out again eventually began to mean two things, shopping… and bingo. For any of you who somehow missed it, Donna was serious about bingo. John said that on more than one occasion, he or Tom would stop by to see their mom after work, and they were thinking to themselves that they were being good sons who were checking up on their mom. But at some point, Donna would look at the clock, announce that it was time for bingo, and shoo them both out of the house so that she could leave. In fact, John said that one day he was driving down State Route 21 and he saw a little car in his rearview mirror that was gaining on him pretty fast. As the little car passed him, he looked over his shoulder and discovered that it was his mom, hurrying on her way to bingo. It was one of the few times when the kids had to turn the tables and warn their mom that she should drive more carefully. Over the years Donna won several very large bingo jackpots but that made her worry that the IRS was going to audit her so she started saving her receipts from all the games that she played and lost. That wouldn’t have been bad, except that once she started saving them, she didn’t stop. Bonnie said that once Donna couldn’t go down to the basement any more, she started to burn them. One grocery back full at a time… and it took months to burn them all.
But Donna was always there for anyone that needed her. She was the one that her kids could talk to about anything. She would always listen, and then would give advice without being pushy. She was always a good cook and made the best chicken pot pie anyone could remember. She was always energetic, always loving, always ornery, always compassionate, and always willing to give of herself, her time, and her effort to anyone that needed it. In recent years she took Wendy and Jerry under her wing and she taught Wendy how to find all the deals at Dillard’s and Macy’s.
She loved to shop, but she was a saver too. Instead of buying cards, she would often take her mom to the Hallmark store, and the two of them would go to the section with all the funny cards. Once there they would read, giggle, and show each other funny jokes all afternoon. She rarely bought things for herself, but always had things to give her husband, her kids, or her grandchildren.
And she didn’t just shop, she was a pro. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t a professional in the sense that she could spend lots of money, she was a professional in the sense that she could buy great stuff for less money that anyone else that you know. John said that you could never find a bargain that, when you showed it to her, she hadn’t already found a better one. She was so well known for snapping up great discounts, that some of the clerks at Kohl’s would call her when they put good stuff on sale.
But as good as she was at shopping, she could never, no matter how much time you gave her, no matter how many times the waiter came to check on her, she could never decide what she wanted to eat when they went out to a restaurant. It got to be a regular and predictable thing. And I was told that if it had been anyone else, it would have been pretty annoying, but because it was Donna, and because everyone knew how much she loved all of them, it just got funnier every time it happened. In general, Donna was just fun to be around. When she laughed, she wasn’t shy. Her laugh was loud and it was infectious. When she laughed, everyone around her laughed with her.
But still, it was always about family. She will be remembered as the mom that stayed home in a neighborhood where most of the other moms worked. And that meant that all the other kids came to their house. Donna’ whole life was about her family and so they were the family that bought a pool table so everyone could come over, and theirs was the house where John had the volume on his electric guitar cranked up. But instead of complaining, Donna would just come down the stairs and listen. For years, while Tom was working for Beaver Excavating, he would stop by his mom’s house for lunch. The problem was, that the lunch he usually ate, was the one that Donna had made for John. Tom didn’t feel bad about it either. Sometimes he would call John at work and tell him what he had, and how good it was. Hers was the house where all the cousins would come to visit for day… or weeks. Hers was the house where Tom’s kids would come to after school every day. And she always made sure that everyone went to school, even if they were older, and married, she still called and made sure her kids were going to school. Her grandchildren were always at her house and she liked it like that. In fact, Donna saw Mary, the grandkids, other grandmother, so often that they became bingo buddies and started going to bingo together.
But when she wasn’t playing bingo, Donna was always a helper. She loved shopping, but it was almost always for someone else. Her children had to almost drag her out of the house before they could give her new carpet. It was over forty years old, and she insisted that it was still good. She didn’t want to spend what she had on herself, but spending it on others was okay. She always seemed to be helping somebody. From what I heard, she helped John at work so often that people almost began to wonder if she was an employee.
And in the end, none of that is a bad way to be remembered. Donna loved Jesus, loved life and had fun. She loved her family more than anything. And she cared about others, sometimes more than she cared for herself.
The world would be a better place if there were more people like that.
The world was a better place, our world, and our lives, are better, because Donna Jean Boring was in it.
Donna J. Boring
March 15, 1929 – April 16, 2016
Resided in Canton, OH
Donna J. Boring, age 87 of Canton, passed away Saturday morning, April 16, 2016 at home. Donna was born March 15, 1929 in Canton to the late James and Edna (Mercier) Priest. Donna devoted her life to taking care of her family. She was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Besides her parents, Donna was preceded in death by her husband, F. Blair Boring; son, Thomas B. Boring; and two brothers, Gerald Priest and Stewart Priest.
Survivors include her son, John (Julie) Boring of Navarre; daughter, Bonnie Boring of Canton; grandchildren, Tiffany (Scott) Franks of Bolivar, Michael Boring of the Air Force stationed in Japan, and Lee Boring of Navarre; great-grandchildren, Veronica Franks and Baby Franks due in June; two sisters, Dorothy Priest of Sarasota, Florida and Bonita Fontes of North Canton.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 1pm in Reed Funeral Home Canton Chapel with Pastor John Partridge from Trinity United Methodist Church officiating.
Visitation with the family will be two hours prior to the service from 11-1pm. Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Memorial donations are requested to be sent to Aultman Compassionate Care Center (2821 Woodlawn Ave NW Canton, OH 44708)