Donna J. Haller MolitorisJune 17, 1941 ~ October 20, 2017 (age 76)
Donna J. Haller Molitoris, 76, formerly of Tionesta, died Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, at SouthWoods Assisted Living in Titusville. She resided there for the past four years.
Born June 17, 1941 in Natrona Heights, she was a daughter of the late Ludwig “Lud” Albert and Irene E. Sweeney Haller.
Donna served during the 1980s and into the 1990s as an elected Forest County auditor and then as an activities director in Tionesta for the Forest/Warren Department of Human Services. There she enjoyed helping people with mental and developmental disabilities more independently participate in life and leisure activities in home and community settings.
In earlier years, she worked at the Evenflo-Crator plant in Tionesta, and later was an Artex in-home embroidery roll-on paint representative. She enjoyed several years of creating sewing and craft projects at home. She was especially fond of making dolls for major holidays that she sold in her parents’ store, Haller’s in Tionesta.
Prior to moving to SouthWoods in 2013, she was an active member of the Tionesta Presbyterian Church. Before that she attended the Tionesta United Methodist Church for several decades.
Throughout her life Donna was especially proud to be a daughter of Lud Haller. She never tired of talking about Lud and his association with the Allegheny River Protection Association and his mission to keep the Allegheny River “clean, green, and natural.” She also was proud of his efforts to oppose dredging of the Allegheny River in the Tionesta area and often spoke of being able to walk across the river in Tionesta when she was a child.
She and her family moved to Tionesta in 1949 when her parents purchased what is now Haller’s Sporting Goods at the north end of Tionesta. Her family owned and operated the store until the early 1980s. Prior to moving to Tionesta, her younger years were filled with adventures and memories she created with her siblings, her parents, her aunts and her uncles at the family cabin in the Village of Macadamdale – just north of Tionesta between Route 62 and the Allegheny River.
She was a 1959 graduate of West Forest High School in Tionesta and enjoyed attending class reunions in recent years.
In the 1960s, she purchased a 1960 light blue MG convertible that she lamented – yearly until her death – ever having parted with. She was thrilled in the early 2000s to have purchased a BMW Z3 roadster that reminded her of that car.
Also in the 1960’s, while spending time at the family store in Tionesta, she met a new Pennsylvania state trooper, Daniel Molitoris, who enjoyed his out-of-town excursions to Tionesta for hunting and fishing. They later would marry.
She enjoyed many types of music and owned an expansive record and CD collection. She enjoyed attending live concerts, having taken her sons to live rock concerts starting in the 1970s and later exposing them to more easy-listening vocalists in concert. She looked forward to attending summertime concerts at Chautauqua Institution in New York, having attended her last one on the opening night of the new Chautauqua amphitheater just months before her passing.
Always up for an adventure, Donna, her sister Kathy and family friends would routinely take excursions in earlier years to Las Vegas and Atlantic City where they enjoyed playing the slots. Donna often said of her casino trips that “scared money doesn’t win!”
Donna faced later years, before 2013, with several health issues that impacted her abilities to walk safely and to safely engage in community activities, rarely leaving home. She made a dramatic turnaround after moving to SouthWoods. She often said she likely would have died had she not moved to her assisted-living community. There she rekindled her old loves of crafting, visiting with friends and neighbors and regaining independence when it came to making decisions about her daily routine and care. With strangers or familiar faces, Donna was always up to and ready for lengthy conversations and was quick to spread her wit with others.
When she was younger, Donna enjoyed her time spent as part of a ladies’ bowling league; at SouthWoods, she developed a love of Wii bowling, having recently earned a trophy for a facility tournament, which she proudly displayed.
Donna’s love of people and her gentle way of connecting to those around her, whether new or familiar, blossomed at SouthWoods. She often said how much it impacted her to be surrounded by people who struggled daily with failing memory skills. “It’s just so sad,” she would often say. She had a special ability to connect with people at SouthWoods who had difficulty completing the simplest daily activities. With no effort on her part, she often put her own daily plans aside to help people participate in a simple game of cards or navigate to their own apartments.
SouthWoods also opened new opportunities for Donna to rekindle old friendships with high school classmates and to receive routine visits from dear friends. She easily regarded SouthWoods residents and employees as part of her own family. On the day of her passing, Donna’s SouthWoods family filed in for hours on end - not out of obligation – to her bedside to hold her hand, to tell her they loved her, to kiss her forehead, to pray for her, to share fond memories, and to explain to her the joy she brought to their lives.
She was married April 30, 1963, at Washington United Methodist Church, Washington Twp., Clarion County, to Daniel Anthony “Spook” Molitoris. He preceded her in death May 28, 2014. The Rev. Sheridon T. Buck officiated the ceremony and the couple spent their wedding night at the Warren Motel. The couple renewed their wedding vows after 50 years of marriage in 2014 at SouthWoods.
Surviving are three sons: David Daniel Molitoris of Tionesta; John Ludwig Molitoris and his wife, Charlotte, of Mountainville, N.Y.; and Michael Robert Molitoris of Houston. Also surviving are a brother, Jack G. Haller and his wife, Carol, of Hudson, Fla.; a sister Kathy L. Stahlman and her husband, Dick, of Tionesta; and a nephew, Scott Haller and his wife, Sharon, also of Hudson, Fla.
Donna also is survived by a loving and longtime family friend, Mrs. Brenda McGraw of Titusville. The two ladies met decades ago when their husbands, Dan and Gary, worked together at the state police barracks in Tionesta. Donna referred to Brenda as her “therapist.” The two spent many hours weekly – either by phone or in person – helping each other unpack life’s challenges.
In addition to her parents and husband, Donna was preceded in death by a brother, James Edward Haller, and a sister, Carol Haller.
There will be no public visitation. Private services will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery in Tionesta.
Donna was a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Her family is requesting memorial contributions be directed to that organization in care of Habitat for Humanity International, 121 Habitat St., Americus, Ga, 31709-3498.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Norman J. Wimer Funeral Home of Tionesta. Messages of sympathy may be left at www.wimerfuneralhome.com