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08/09/15 - NNHS Newsletter -
LaDonna Gandy Owen

LaDonna Gandy Owen
(07 Nov 1947 - 07 Aug 2015)

Hampton High School Class of 1966

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   There is still more sad news today.     LaDonna Gandy Owen, Hampton HS Class of 1966, wife of   Ronnie Owen ('63) of VA, sister of Arthur Gordon Gandy (HHS) and of the late Prentiss Walden Gandy (HHS - @ '64) (05 May 1946 - 22 Feb 1969), and sister-in-law of   Ray Owen ('64), passed away at home in Yorktown on Friday, August 07, 2015 at the age of 67. 

   From F.A. Saunders (Hampton HS - '64) of VA - 08/09/15, 1:45 PM - "1966 HHS Grad Obit in today's Daily Press":

LaDonna Gandy Owen -

   Thank you, F.A. She sounds like an exciting and fascinating woman to have known. You have my sympathies on the passing of your schoolmate.

From the Daily Press - 08/09/15: 

                 LaDonna Gandy Owen

    YORKTOWN - LaDonna Gandy Owen, age 67, of Yorktown, Virginia peacefully passed away at home surrounded by her family on Friday, August 7, 2015 due to complications from cancer.

LaDonna was the daughter of the late Wilbert James Gandy and Marjorie Walden Gandy. Born November 7, 1947 in Booneville, Miss., she was sister to the late Prentiss Walden Gandy and Arthur Gordon Gandy. She spent her youth and teen years in Hampton, Va. with many trips to Booneville, Miss. to visit her beloved grandparents and family.

After graduating from Hampton High School in 1966, LaDonna worked at the Newport News Shipyard for several years until she met and married the love of her life, Ronald "Ronnie" Harry Owen. The newlyweds set up house in Newport News, and soon welcomed two daughters.

LaDonna's greatest joys came from being a wife, mother, and ultimately a grandmother. Her love of children, nurturing manner, and generosity of spirit drove her to lend her talents and time to many worthwhile philanthropic endeavors.

  LaDonna committed her life to volunteering. She spent many years in the Junior Women's Club of Hilton Village. She served as president (1982-1983), and enjoyed being a part of the yearly dinner theater productions as well as the club's many community service projects. She was especially proud of receiving the Outstanding Junior Award for 1979-1980. She also spent many hours volunteering at Dutrow Elementary and York Elementary schools where her girls attended school from 1980-1988.

Later, LaDonna was active in the in the York High Athletic Booster Club (1989-1994) where she also served as president and organized sports banquet. It was during those years that LaDonna became a part of her first bridge group. She enjoyed catching up with "the girls" so much so that it became hard for the children of the bridge group to get away with anything. Throughout the rest of her life, she enjoyed the close friendships she made in the various bridge groups to which she belonged.

From 2003-2008, LaDonna became a grandmother to five grandchildren! Those five grandchildren stole her heart, and she absolutely LIVED for every moment she spent with each of them. She was constantly traveling between Yorktown Va., Manteo N.C., and Richmond, Va. in order to keep up with her daughters and their families. She made every effort to be present for every grandchild for every school play, sporting event, graduation, and birthday party. She hosted "Ganny Camp" each summer where her grandchildren enjoyed days of thoughtfully planned activities that were creative, educational, and most importantly FUN. She even worked part time at Gymboree and Janie and Jack so that she could justify her habit of buying clothes for her grandchildren.

In 1969, she lost her older brother to diabetes. When her oldest grandchild was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she once again stepped into the role of volunteer and began working with JDRF to raise funds for their walk-a-thons on the peninsula.

When one of her granddaughters was given an assignment to dress as a famous American who made a contribution to our country, LaDonna quickly suggested that she dress as Martha Stewart.

She welcomed each new family member whether by birth or marriage to the family with great enthusiasm. LaDonna adored her sons-in-law. She was proud of them and came to rely on them to help her with each over the top family event she planned. She enjoyed an especially close relationship with her mother, brother and sister-in-law Karen Gandy.

LaDonna did everything with gusto. She never left a party early. She always had dessert, a smile on her face and the biggest laugh in the room. She adored event planning, raising the bar for family holiday gatherings, and trying new recipes. Every Christmas, she would go overboard with the theme she chose. She would create elaborate tablescapes, a spread of homemade desserts, and spend months selecting thoughtful gifts for the family. She dabbled in wedding planning and was always eager to help her friends and family members plan a party.

LaDonna cultivated close relationships with her friends and was so grateful for their support during her battle with cancer. Fiercely independent until she was diagnosed, LaDonna was grateful that she could lean on her husband of nearly 47 years. She wanted everyone to know what a great man her Ronnie was, and how much he meant to her. She was thankful for all, and appreciated everything that everyone did to help her. Throughout her illness, she received stacks of cards, words of encouragement, and tokens of love that encouraged her to continue fighting. Those meant the world to her.

LaDonna is survived by her husband Ronald Owen; mother-in-law, Gladys "Peggy" Owen; children, Heather Owen Thompson and husband Steven Earl Thompson of Richmond, Va. and Holly Owen Clark of Manteo, N.C. and husband Michael Elliot Clark; five grandchildren Owen Taylor Clark, Hank Talbot Thompson, Betty Grace Thompson, Grey Ryan Clark and Virginia Hensley Thompson; brother Arthur Gordon Gandy, sister-in-law Karen Gandy, brother-in-law Ray Wayne and his wife, Cathy Owen; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who all meant so much to her.

The family sincerely thanks the staff at Sentara Careplex Hospital and Bon Secours Hospice for the care LaDonna received. Their compassion, consideration, and helpfulness to the family were invaluable.

The family will receive family and friends Monday, August 10, 2015 from 6:00-7:30 pm at Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at First Baptist Church, 12716 Warwick Blvd., Newport News. There will be a graveside service followed by a social at the Junior Women's Club of Hilton Village clubhouse, 87 Main St., Newport News.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to JDRF, 5712 Cleveland St., Ste. 100, Virginia, Va. 23462 or Philadelphia, 3551 N. Broad Street Rd., Philadelphia, Pa., 19140 attn: Geraldine Barrett. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press on August 9, 2015.

View Guest Book

August 09, 2015

LaDonna will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her...let there be found some comfort during this time of overwhelming sadness, in all of the wonderful memories of her ...our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love Frank & JC

~ Frank & JC Konier, Providence Forge, Virginia 

August 09, 2015

I have fond memories of LaDonna being at special activities at Canterbury Community Nursery School. Always smiling and taking such pride in her family. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to know her.

~ Terry Tusing

August 09, 2015

A life fully lived, a blessing to so many, and taken too soon. Throughout the past few months Ladonna and I have private messaged on Facebook about our "cancers" and even during her dark moments she was giving me encouragement to hang in there:) She will be sorely missed and remembered always. Blessings and love to her family.

~ Frances Anne L. Ryan, Charlotte, North Carolina

August 09, 2015

LaDonna's courage, fighting spirit and beautiful smile will always be an inspiration to me. God bless her family and bring them comfort.

~ Jennie Singleton, Yorktown, Virginia 

August 09, 2015

May you feel the love of God surrounding you during these next days. We are sending your family our deepest sympathy.

~ Ginger and Danny Maynor

August 09, 2015

What a great lady. My thoughts and deepest symphony to Ronnie, Holly and Heather and families. LaDonna enriched the lives of all who were fortunate to know her. Her warmth and ability to welcome all with her friendship was amazing. She will always be remembered.

~ Gay LeJeune, Madison, Alabama

August 09, 2015

To Heather, Holly and Family. We are truly sorry to hear about your mom; relay our most sincere condolences to you. Your family and our family were neighbors in Edgehill. Heather a close friend and classmate of our son. Her welcoming warmth and lively energetic nature were are are now part of our fondest memories.

~ Ginny and Skip Lare, Okemos, Michigan


August 09, 2015

Your family is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Frances Roach and Girls


August 09, 2015

We are so sorry for your loss. Her love for her family and passions will always be remembered. Our deepest sympathy.

~ Barbara and Jim Magnotta

August 09, 2015

Hey Ivy, my friend. So sorry to hear of your wife's passing. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

~ F.A. Saunders, Newport News, Virginia

August 09, 2015

Arthur, I am sorry for your loss. My baby sister died last December.

~ Bill Hammett, Poquoson, Virginia

August 09, 2015

So sorry LaDonna has left her family and friends for a while. It seems like yesterday we were all at HHS together. I hope her family can find comfort in all the wonderful memories they have to cherish.

~ Brenda Martin, Gloucester, Virginia

August 09, 2015

Ronnie, Heather and Holly,
We are so sorry for your loss. LaDonna was such a beautiful person inside and out. We will be praying for you.

~ Charlie and Brenda Kruse, Seaford, Virginia

August 09, 2015

Ronnie: My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family upon the passing of LaDonna. May God grant comfort and peace to you and your family.
Neighbor Lem Meetze

~ Lem Meetze

August 09, 2015

I will always remember looking out of my window on George Howe Street in Manteo, and seeing Grandaddy and Ganny pulling into the driveway to visit Holly, Mike, Owen, and Grey. They began unloading the car, taking out bags, and totes, and baskets full of thoughtful items she was always so eager to unveil clothes for the boys, home décor for Holly, gifts for all. Her sense of style was impeccable, and for someone who has no sense of style, she helped me outfit my children on many occasions. She would arrive on my doorstep with Gymboree bags and a grin.

Her outer beauty matched her inner beauty. Her selflessness was abundant, and she lived to be a part of her daughter's lives and her grandchildren. She will be missed by the countless people whose lives she touched and her memory and kind soul will live on through her most prized possessions; Heather, Holly, Owen, Hank, Betty Grace, Grey, and Virginia.

I have had the privilege to be friends with her youngest daughter, Holly, for over a decade. She is the most thoughtful, caring person I know and is the truest testament to LaDonna's legacy. Praying for God's light and love to find its way to you all in this time of darkness.

~ Grace, Matt, Emma, Matthew and Marshall, Asheville, North C

August 09, 2015

The memories that I have of LaDonna are bittersweet. We shared so many fun and silly adventures in junior high school and high school. I will miss her. She was a loyal friend. We lost track of each other after a while but were able to reconnect on Facebook. I was delighted to witness the wonderful life that she had created for herself and her family.I am sure she carried with her that wonderful zest for life that I remember and shared it with all of her friends and family. My sincere condolences to her beloved family. She was an exceptional friend and woman.

~ Toni Swanson, Cape Coral, Florida

August 10, 2015

We are so sorry for your loss. Your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I feel privileged to have had the honor of knowing Ladonna; she was a blessing to be around.
The Magee's

~ Travis and Angela Magee, Wanchese, North C

August 10, 2015

Holly and family, We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Your mother was a wonderful, sweet lady with a sweet spirit. Always a kind word and a smile. I always looked forward to seeing pictures posted of her well planned, organized, Ganny Camp. You could tell she loved it as much as the grandkids did. May your hearts be filled with all the memories of your time together, memories help us cope. I pray the love of your family and friends help to bring you through this grief. You remain in our thoughts and our prayers always. Holly, I don't know your sister, but just have to say that you seem to be so much like your mother and have that same sweet spirit. I love you and your family. God be with each and you and bring you much love and peace at this time of darkness. God Bless each of you. Please give our condolences to your father.

~ Earlene and Tony Sawyer, Manteo, North C

August 10, 2015

Art and Karen, we are so very sorry for your loss. We know how much you both love LaDonna. We will keep you in our hearts and thoughts.

~ Roger and Donna Waller, Lanexa, Virginia

August 11, 2015

Prayers and love to the whole family, Ladonna was a wonderful lady....

~ Rob Alexander

August 11, 2015

Ronnie and family, My heart goes out to you--you are all in my thoughts and prayers. The newspaper write up was a beautiful tribute to Ladonna. I know her love and the memories will be in your hearts forever. Love and prayers, Leona Knutson

~ Leona Knutson, Seaford, Virginia

August 11, 2015

I met Ladonna once with her good friend and my childhood friend, Alison Fisk. My prayers are with all her family and friends who loved her.

~ Carolyn Fitzgerald

August 11, 2015

My heart is full of sadness for this loss. Heaven must be thrilled to have Ladonna join their family. She was a First Class Lady and I am glad to have had her part of my daughters' lives while they were in school with Holly and Heather. With sincere sympathy.

~ Lynda (Paetz) Gumnick

August 11, 2015



August 11, 2015



August 11, 2015


   Our sincerest condolences are extended to LaDonna's family and friends at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Words by Henry van Dyke (10 Nov 1852 - 10 Apr 1933), 1907

Music: Ode to Joy, from the Symphony No. 9 of Ludwig van Beethoven (17 Dec 1720 - 26 Mar1897)

Adapted by Edward Hodges (20 July 1796 - 01 Sept 1867), 1824

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

"Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" midi and lyrics courtesy of - 09/21/12

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 03/15/05

Red Roses Divider Line clip art courtesy of - well, I cannot seem to locate that information at the moment, but it's been in my files since 02/01/05.

Hampton High School's Crab clip art courtesy of - 10/02/05
Replaced courtesy of - 02/17/09

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