Madison--Donna Mae Chandler, age 89, passed away on Sun., September 15, 2019.
She was born December 2, 1929 in Coleta, Ill., the daughter of Martin and Ruth (Heide) Frankfother. She married Arnold M. Chandler on June 8, 1952.
They have 2 children, Mark (Stacey) Chandler of Madison, and Nancy (Scott) Bentley of Pewaukee; and four grandchildren who she absolutely adored, Chandler, Ryann, Travis, and Natalie.
Donna attended high school in Milledgeville, Ill. after which she worked for a year at National Manufacturing in Sterling, Ill., proudly becoming "the fastest hardware packer in the factory", while waiting for Arnie to graduate high school. She then headed to college and graduated from Northern Illinois State Teachers College (now Northern Illinois University) in 1952. After college, and newly married, she moved to Rockford, Ill. where she taught at Lincoln Middle School in Rockford, Ill. for 4 years, before moving to Madison, Wis. and the Madison public schools. For the next 32 years Donna was a highly respected and widely-recognized figure in the Madison Metropolitan School District. She began teaching in Madison at Randall Elementary and finished her career as the principal of Cherokee Heights Middle School. In between she was a teacher, learning coordinator, district administrator and principal at Muir, Orchard Ridge, Jefferson, Memorial, and in the downtown district office. She earned Masters and Doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin and also worked for several years in teacher education at UW's Department of Education. Throughout 4 decades in education her greatest love was working with children, especially middle school kids. After retiring she created her own consulting company and she found many ways to devote herself to numerous volunteer groups. She cared passionately for groups that included PEO, ADK, the Presbyterian Church, and Attic Angels, among others, holding leadership positions in each organization. But, from the day she retired until the day she passed away she talked endlessly about how she missed "her kids", meaning all the kids she taught and all those she helped raise. Nana, all "your kids" want you to know that we will miss you that much too and that your influence and inspiration will never stop.
A memorial service will be held at WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 4100 Nakoma Rd., Madison on Sun., Nov. 10, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. with a visitation prior at the church on Sun. from 12:30 p.m. until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wisconsin State Chapter of P.E.O (https://donations.peointernational.org/peo-donation-elf) or to the Foundation for Madison Schools, either to the FMPS general fund (https://fmps.org/donate-to-fmps/) or to the endowment for Cherokee Middle School (https://fmps.org/donate/cherokee-middle-school-endowment-fund/).
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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I so regret I will not be able to attend the service for Donna. I meet her while volunteering at Attic Angel and loved her quick wit, spontaneous laughter and good will towards all. The community has lost a wonderful woman and the family, a gem brighter than a diamond.
My loving Aunt. Such a special person in my life. You will be missed always.
Mrs. Chandler was my 4th grade teacher at Randall School. I remember her for encouraging my love of reading, especially the excerpts she would read from Charlotte's Web. She was truly a memorable teacher and someone who influenced my life positively
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