Donna J. Smith

October 04, 1935 ‒ January 04, 2019

Marion, Ohio

Donna J. Smith, age 83 of Marion, passed away Friday, January 04, 2019 at Marion General Hospital.

Donna was born on October 4, 1935 in Newark, the daughter of Loyal R. and Mary Irene (Proper) Cochran. Donna graduated high school in Newark and then pursued her bachelor degree in education. She attended Muskingum University, Denison University, Bowling Green State University, University of Wisconsin and Capital University.

One summer, during high school band camp, Donna would meet her future husband. They became friends first and went through high school together. She would go on to college and, on one special night, while home for a visit Donna ran into her old high school friend and the two made plans for a date. As they say, the rest is history and on March 29, 1958, Donna was united in marriage to Galen Smith, a true love story that would last over 60 years.

The young couple lived in many places throughout the country in their first years together; Donna had that special ability to make each house a home. Donna began her teaching career while living in Newark and taught at Woodside Elementary School. When the couple made their home in Marion, she taught in the Marion City Schools for nearly 30 years, influencing the lives of thousands of children throughout her years as an educator.

Donna and Galen enjoyed traveling the country and making memories to last a lifetime. She was a talented seamstress and created all types of clothing for her family to enjoy. Baking was a favorite interest of Donna’s and her cherry pies are famous. She also enjoyed gardening and other activities outdoors. Perhaps her greatest joy, was that of being a grandmother. She and Galen never missed an opportunity to spend time spoiling and loving their grandchildren.

Donna was a longtime member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She is survived by her devoted husband Galen Smith; daughters: Jennifer Lee (Ricardo) DeLaSerda and Leslie Ann (Keith) Shawver; grandchildren: Zachary Galen Bravi, Gregory James Bravi, Brigitte Wendy (fiancé Hayden Bledsoe) Shawver, Samuel Allen Shawver, Megan Jennifer Shawver and Antonio Luis DeLaSerda; and siblings: Everett E. Cochran and Barbara Sue Garick.

Donna is preceded in death by her parents and her siblings: Joanne Whitlatch, Daniel Brownlee Cochran, and Loyal Burdette Cochran.

Visitation will be Friday, January 11, 2019 at Snyder Funeral Homes, DENZER Chapel, 360 East Center St., Marion from 4PM to 7PM; Funeral service will be Saturday at the funeral home at 10AM; Entombment will follow at Marion Cemetery.

The Snyder Funeral Homes, Denzer Chapel, of Marion are honored to be serving the Smith family; condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting


  • To the Smith Family,

    My prayers to all of you, Mrs. Smith that what we have to call her back at George Washington in the 1970’s. She was my fifth grade teacher on the second floor facing the play grounds. She made us work very hard, but the fun we that in class was they best. The crossing of the Delaware in the cardboard boat we made in class made learning for fun. One classmate came in as Lincoln and she found more ways to make our learning to be better then other teachers during that time at school.

    • Thank you, Greg, for your kind message – what a treasure to have this memory from you! We always knew she was a wonderful teacher with such a heart for teaching and for the kids in her classes, but to hear it from you is simply tremendous.

      Thank you for taking the time to share this with us!

      From The Smith Family

  • Galen, So sorry to hear about Donna, We had a lot of good times together. David & Jill Carpenter

  • Galen, so sorry to hear about Donna Jean. Our high school and band days bring back fond memories.

  • We are saddened to hear of your loss of your loved one. We have many fond memories of spending time with Donna & Galen in couples club. We are keeping the entire family in our thoughts and prayers. With deepest sympathy, the William Fish family (Bill , Beth & daughter Cindy)

  • I am deeply sorry to learn about the death of Donna. My tears and prayers are with you. I relish and think about our times together. I think about how you all came to visit us when we lived on Sleepy Hollow in Coshocton. During one visit I remember you had a cute little poodle and we had a miniature organ. Jennifer, Debbie, Leslie and I played with your dog and at one point we had it play the organ. I also remember wonderful times on Sharon Valley Road. I remember the big gathering of Grandparents Loyal and Irene, aunts, uncles and my 12 cousins. Also I remember great times with you and Donna on your boat at Lake Erie. You both always created such fun times.
    I love you. I’m sorry that I cannot be with you my broken vertebrae are not healed enough for me to travel there.

  • Galen, Jennifer, Leslie and families ~ Jeff and I are very saddened for your loss, and so sorry we were unable to attend the services. The video and obituary were beautiful tributes to Donna; such great remembrances of her love of her family. She was a beautiful woman with an infectious smile, and left a legacy of love.

    You are on our hearts. Fondly,
    Jeff & Lisa Turner