Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight resident, Donna Skinner – Donna was born in Kansas on March 6, 1940 to parents Marie and Donald Roof. Donna is an only child. She grew up on a farm and her favorite childhood memories revolve around the farm—she fondly remembers helping with chores, including gathering eggs and working with the pigs. When Donna was a child, she wanted to become a nurse. Her mom was a nurse and she knew many other women who were nurses; in those days, it was one of the few careers open to women.
Donna attended Ness City High School and was involved with a couple of different clubs, including Latin Club and Science Club. She loved high school. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas and her graduate studies at the University of Iowa.
Donna taught preschool and elementary school for twenty years and then switched to teaching adults for the rest of her career. She taught teacher training courses, preparing her students to be elementary and secondary school teachers. She also supervised student teaching and teaching certificate renewals. Over the course of her career, she taught in public schools in Costa Rica, Iowa, and Kansas, and at Fort Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas.
She met her husband, Eugene Skinner, while studying at the University of Kansas. They married in 1966 and were together for 48 years. They have three children: Elizabeth, Erik, and David, and five grandchildren: Ben, Ethan, Elliot, Nathan, and Zoey.
Donna lived in Kansas for 30 years, Iowa for 10 years, Mexico for 5 years, and Costa Rica for 5 years. Donna and Eugene moved to Albany, California in 1999 to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They moved to Davis, California in 2002. She moved to Carlton Davis in February 2020. She has traveled extensively over the years. She visited the Soviet Union three times in the 1970s and 80s, when Soviet policies were very restrictive. She spent a month in Vietnam in 1955. She has also visited numerous countries in Europe, Africa, and South America.
Although Donna has many favorite life experiences, one of her fondest memories is the work she did with southeast Asian refugees in the 1980s. Donna describes herself as helpful, bright, and positive. She believes in trying to find the positive wherever you are. She would like to be remembered as somebody who did good for others. She advises others to deal directly with people, rather than gossiping or going behind someone.
Donna enjoys folk music and Spanish-language literature. Her favorite book is Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Her favorite food is chicken tarragon, which she likes to cook herself. Her favorite desserts are chocolate cake and red velvet cake with lots of cream frosting. Her favorite scent is cinnamon. Donna most admires President John F. Kennedy, for his compassion and his desire to help people. Here at Carlton Senior Living Davis, Donna loves the social atmosphere that exists between the employees, residents, and administration.
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Written by Ben Slade, Resident Liaison at Carlton Senior Living Davis