Peaceful 06

Donna D. Popieski

November 29, 1933 ~ September 23, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Donna Popieski Obituary

Donna D. Popieski, 89, passed away on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023, in Fort Myers, FL, where she moved to retire following a celebrated life as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend and a proud member of the Titusville, PA community.

Donna was born on November 29, 1933, in Rochester, NY, to the late Thomas Dowling and Ruth Phillips Dowling Brady. She moved to Titusville in 1938 and attended St. Joseph's Academy where she graduated valedictorian of her class in 1951. She married Frank "Barney" Popieski on July 25, 1955, at St. Titus Church.

In 1968, when her youngest son John entered kindergarten, she enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville where, at age 35, she was considered one of the original "non-traditional" students. She completed her education at Edinboro University with a dual certification in English and Social Studies. Upon graduating in 1972, she worked as a substitute teacher, homebound tutor, summer school teacher and also taught adult education in the evenings. During this period, she also served as a Cub Scout Den mother, a Brownie Assistant Troop leader, a CAC board member and a PTC board member at St. Titus School. She was a member of St. Titus Church. She served as Eucharistic Minister, the Finance Council and the Alter Rosary Society serving as president at times during her tenure on these committees. For a short period of time, she also worked as a nanny.

Donna was a dedicated supporter of Titusville Rocket sports. She could be found in the stands and on the sidelines of most Rocket sporting events, especially Friday night football games. She often traveled to away games as well, cheering on Rocket basketball, track, swimming, wrestling and soccer teams. In 1980, Titusville High School Homecoming was dedicated to Donna because of her avid support, calling her "one of the Rockets' most loyal fans." In her later years, she followed her grandchildren's sporting careers including Rockets soccer, volleyball, softball and basketball.

In August 1984, Donna was hired full time as a 9th grade English teacher at Titusville High School. She served as a mentor teacher and as an advisor to both the newspaper and the cheerleading team. She was a READ program instructor and a Rainbows program facilitator. She retired from teaching in 1993.

Donna was an active member of countless community service organizations in Titusville. In November 1995, she was elected to the Titusville School Board and would serve for more than 18 years, eventually becoming board president. She was a member of the Titusville Hospital Auxiliary for which she served as President and Vice President throughout her membership. She also volunteered with Ways and Means, Volunteer Training and Lights of Love, which she chaired for several years beginning in 1994. Donna was also Chairman of the Titusville Housing Authority Board, a team member of Relay for Life and co-chair for the Cancer Society event. In 2001, she was named Titusville Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year for her contributions to the Titusville community.

Nothing meant more to Donna Popieski than family. She was so incredibly proud of her ten grandchildren; so much so that she'd find a way to work that into every conversation, even if you'd just met. She lovingly called her home on Meadow Lane "The Zoo" because of its constant flow of visitors from friends and family alike. She welcomed anyone and everyone into her home and treated them like family when they were there. Holidays were important to Mrs. Popieski, but she had a special place in her heart for Christmas. A self-proclaimed "Christmas nut," Donna loved hosting her annual Christmas Eve Party for family and friends. Every inch of her home was decorated beautifully for the holiday. The many children who attended the party always looked forward to a visit from Santa at Donna's house. Every Christmas morning, "Grandma P." would come to the Gates' house to watch them open presents, usually around 4 or 5:00 am, and then go home to wait for the Seyberts at "8-O-O."

Donna traveled extensively around the United States. Many of her trips were accompanied by her next door neighbor at Canadohta Lake, Helen Gordon. She and her husband Barney purchased their cottage at Canadohta Lake in 1975 and changed its name to "Little Poland," which made Barney very happy and proud. Mrs. Popieski also went on the annual Dowling trip to Las Vegas, usually during March Madness. The Vegas trip dated all the way back to Grandma Dowling - "Mag" as she was called (Donna's paternal grandmother), who lived to be 102 years old.

Mrs. Popieski is survived by three children: Cathy Guerrero, Thomas Popieski and Patricia (Rob) Dean. Ten grandchildren: Garry M. (Marissa) Gates, Zac Gates, Amy Seybert, Joe (Jen) Gates, Mark Popieski, Allison Popieski, Jeff Seybert, Frank Popieski, Beth (Lindsay) Gates and Shawn Popieski. Three great-grandchildren: Scarlett Massengale, John Gates and Owen Gates. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews who affectionately called her "Dune." Donna had three special men in her life that she considered family; her late son-in-law Luis Guerrero, former son-in-law Garry G. Gates and close family friend Dean Chappel. She was preceded in death by her husband Barney, her son John Popieski, three stepsons George Pospieski, Frank and Rich Popieski, her parents Thomas Dowling and Ruth Phillips Brady, and was the last surviving member of her siblings, 'the 5 D's": Donna, Dawn, Dick, Dan and Darry.

Our mom fought a courageous battle with dementia. This horrible disease never messed with her spunk. She wanted to be remembered as fair, caring and always "saying it like it is." She added, "We will meet again."

Her funeral services will be held next spring/summer in her favorite place, Titusville.


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24 Hour Viewing
October 4, 2023

4:00 PM


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