Donna Louise Hansen, 56, of Sykesville, died Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at Carroll Hospice's Dove House after a lengthy battle with heart and kidney issues.
Born in Sewickley, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Louis Amistadi and the late Bernice Amistadi. She was the wife of Steve Hansen, with whom she had just celebrated 25 years of marriage prior to her death.
She was a 1975 graduate of Ambridge High School and graduated cum laude with a degree in speech pathology in 1979 from California University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she worked in Washington, D.C., on the congressional staff of two U.S. senators, Senator Harrison Schmidt, of New Mexico, and Senator Frank Murkowski, of Alaska.
While working for Senator Murkowski, she developed a passion for the people and wildlife of Alaska, where she often traveled to many of the smaller Alaskan communities to listen to concerns of local residents. Later, she developed an enjoyment of salmon fishing, especially in the waters of Resurrection Bay outside Seward, Alaska.
After retiring in 1989 due to a serious heart condition, she became active as an advocate for diabetes and cardiac research. As a Type I diabetic, she was active in fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and in 1999 received The Diane Bredar Award from Howard County General Hospital for her work for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. She also was also featured in magazine, newspaper and online patient testimonials and fundraising drives for The Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute.
Her spiritual faith was important in her life. She was an active member at New Hope Lutheran Church in Columbia, where she served as a Stephen Minister counselor and helped establish the church's Prayer Shawl Ministry and Friends Helping Friends Ministry. She also had been a member of the church choir.
She served on the Mutual Ministry for Bishop H. Gerard Knoche, of the Maryland-Delaware Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, until his retirement in 2009.
She especially enjoyed needle work, knitting, painting and many other crafts and won awards for her needle work at juried exhibitions in Maryland and Alaska. She also enjoyed time with her cats, Precious, Wimpy, Bandit and Puff.
Surviving, in addition to her husband, are brother and sister-in-law David and Barbara Amistadi, of Severn; a nephew, Jason Amistadi, of Charlotte, N.C.; aunts Emma Evans, of Cranberry, Pa., Irene Prazer, of Ohio, and Marie Amistadi, of Pennsylvania; and numerous cousins in several states.
She was predeceased by uncles Walter Prazer and Leo Prazer, Casey Cassedy, Leo Amistadi and John Evans; and aunts Cece Prazer and Stella Cassedy.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Hope Lutheran Church, 8575 Guilford Road, Columbia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 200 E. Joppa Road, Suite 105, Towson, MD 21286.
Online condolences may be offered at http://www.haightfuneralhome.com.
Sign this guest book online at http://www.carrollcountytimes.com.