Donna Alice Wright, 90, of Cortez, Colorado, passed away peacefully on September 11, 2023 at Vista Grande Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Cortez with her stepdaughter Alicia and cousin Judy by her side.
Donna was born in Cortez, Colorado on March 31, 1933 to Malcom, known as Mac, and Inez (Woods) Conoley. She was the oldest of their 4 children. Her parents were homesteaders on property located 3 miles west of Arriola. The farm was very isolated with no running water or electricity. When Donna started school, she rode a horse all by herself to Arriola School, 3 miles away. She was so small, the older kids had to help her get on and off her horse. Once Donna got older, she walked the 3 miles watching over her siblings. Donna's class was the first class to start attending the new Montezuma County High School.
Donna wanted to go to college, so she left the farm at age 16 and moved to a room in Cortez and worked at Wilson Drug Store. She saved enough money, along with a scholarship, to attend Western State College, now called Western Colorado University, in Gunnison, Colorado. Donna pledged the Pi Kappa Sigma Sorority as a freshman and was voted President of her sorority as a senior. She earned a double major in Elementary Education and Political Science and History and received a Fullbright Scholarship to Spain one semester. Donna worked as a waitress in the winters at the Gunnison Hotel and in the summers worked at the Crystal Lodge in Lake City to help pay her way through college.
For her first teaching job, Donna was hired as an elementary school teacher in Ventura, California. She married Bill Beecroft in 1954 and they had a daughter, Donna Sue. The family eventually moved to Bakersfield, California, where Bill and Donna later divorced. Donna continued to live in Bakersfield and worked as an elementary school teacher. She taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades over her 30 year career. Donna earned the distinction of Master Teacher for the University of California.
In 1972, Donna married Ross Wright in Bakersfield and became stepmother to his daughter Alicia. Ross & Donna thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors. They went fishing, hunting, motorcycling, jeeping, scouting Indian ruins and rock hunting together. After retirement in 1987, Ross and Donna traveled extensively for 10 years in their motorhome before dividing their time each year between California, Arizona, and Colorado. Ross and Donna enjoyed 35 years of adventures with their many friends from each walk of their lives before Ross passed away in 2018. They had been married almost 46 years. Donna then made her permanent home in Cortez. She enjoyed organizing get-togethers with her friends and family in the area plus volunteering, especially her time at the Cortez Cultural Center, up until recent weeks.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents Mac and Inez, her husband Ross, and all of her siblings; Kathryn Conoley Beebe, Rolan Conoley, and Michael Conoley, as well as her nephews Joel Conoley & Robert S Beebe. Donna is survived by her daughter Donna Sue and husband Marc Weisman; her stepdaughter Alicia and husband Richard Harp; grandchildren Benjamin Weisman and William Weisman; Ryan Harp and wife Kimberly and great grandson Ross, Russell Harp and wife Sarah, Reed Harp and wife Rheagan. Donna is also survived by her niece Jane and her husband Jeff Hafen along with their children; Arthur Hafen and wife Daphne, Clark Hafen and spouse Tommy Sucaravetsiri, Jessie and her husband Mark Lemon, Samuel Hafen & wife Dia; nephew Colin DeGattis and wife Louisa; nephew Dennis Beebe and wife Susan, nephew Rolan Conoley; plus many cousins and second, as well as third cousins, from the Conoley, Fulks and Hearne families.
There will be a celebration of life service for Donna at Goodman Point Cemetery on November 11, 2023 at noon, followed by a reception at Shiloh's at 2:00 PM. In case of inclement weather, we will have the service at Donna's home.
In memory of Donna, donations can be made to the American Heart Association or the
Cortez Cultural Center.