Donna Bagley | 1912 - 2013 | Obituary

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Donna Bagley

Born: March 10, 1912
Died: February 17, 2013

U.S. VeteranDonna Bagley, 100, passes away. She was just shy of her 101st birthday. By Loreen Berlin of The Buena Park Independent Newspaper.

Donna Bagley, 100, passed away Sunday evening, Feb. 18, at her home in Buena Park, with her son Richard and his wife, Cheri by her side. She would have celebrated her 101st birthday next month on Sunday, March 10. When people remarked to Donna that she was 100, she would say, "I'm 100 and 3 months," adding to her amazing 100 years each day; so it is, that she was officially 100 and 11 months when she died.  “It’s a privilege to have known Donna all of these years,” Buena Park City Council member Steve Berry said during her 100th celebration last March 10 at the Walter D. Ehlers Community Center. Berry was master of ceremonies at the party. The birthday gathering of 300 people was a wonderful tribute to such an incredible person in the community – an amazing lady – who, at 100, could still recite from memory, the "Gettysburg Address" each Memorial Day at Buena Park's special service. Donna was a great example of what members of the community can emulate - to be in good health, dress nicely and actively do for others. Up until her 100th birthday, she was still traveling and taking cruises by herself. “It’s a wonderful day – it’s one of the most wonderful days of my life – you all are part of my family and what has made it great,” Donna said at her birthday party last year. “There are people from all walks of life here today; it’s an unbelievable event – it takes a long time to reach 100.” One thing Donna would always say, was that one of the most important things she'd done in her life,  was to marry the right man to whom she was married for 62 years. “I didn’t grieve for Wally when he passed; I just continued on with life as we had planned it and lived it and did the same things we did when he was alive,” Donna had said. " I’ve enjoyed my life; my life has been great and it’s been fulfilling,” she said to those gathered to celebrate her centurion years. “I can wish no one a better life than I feel I have had, and I hope not to fold up and fly away now that I’ve turned 100 – I’m taking it a day at a time.” During Donna's 100th birthday party, people gave their remembrances about her. Buena Park Boys and Girls Club CPO Bruce Hird said Bagley was the first woman to serve on a Boys Club board in the United States. “She’s tenacious, intelligent and quick on her feet and always a lady; but don’t mess with her,” Hird said jokingly. “Thank you for getting us the OK to use the Woman’s Club for our Youth Theatre rehearsals,” Buena Park Youth Theatre Founder Ruth Walp said. “I thank Donna for getting me involved with Rotary and the Woman’s Club ; they've  been a blessing,” Christiane Salts said.“Before 1948 we didn’t have a police department in Buena Park,” former mayor Fred Smith said. “Donna helped start our Safety Department  back then. When she found a cause, she stuck with it. You have dedicated your life to Buena Park and have made Buena Park a better place," Smith said. Emcee Berry asked how many guests had been to Antarctic and no one raised their hand. Then, Berry announced that Donna had not only been to Antarctica, but was the oldest person to have ever been there. Former Buena Park Library District director Louise Mazerov said that Donna was on the Library Board when she was director. “Donna gave me a great appreciation for Buena Park and the Woman’s Club; she was one of the founders of the library and made certain it was independent from the city and the county,” Mazerov said. “I thank Donna for being my friend.”  “It’s an honor to celebrate your life,” Sandy Smith, Buena Park Senior Center employee said. “You’ve taught us so much; thank you for making our community what it is.” “It’s a privilege as a community to honor Donna Bagley for helping Buena Park to become the wonderful city that it is today,” Buena Park Senior Center Director Kim Garber-Bond said. Bagley received rousing applause and a very deserved standing ovation. "I'm so sorry to see her go but I know she's at home with our Lord. I'm sure her husband Wally and son Paul, who died in an auto accident when he was 19, were waiting to greet her," former Buena Park mayor Patsy Marshall said, who added, "Donna was a true blessing to all and will be greatly missed. Donna's life was an incredible legacy of civic contributions. Among her honors were the Buena Park Chamber of Commerce Life-time Achievement Award; Outstanding Citizen Award from the Buena Park Historical Society and Centurion Award of Life-time Achievement from the First Fullerton Christian Church, to name a few. She was religious and attended church every Sunday at the First Fullerton Christian Church. “Donna greeted everyone in our church and made me feel welcome; thank you for being a good role model,” one member said “Donna was the very first person to say hello at church,” another lady said. “When I lost my son, she gave me very good advice; I thank her for bringing me to Christianity.” Donna and Wally Bagley moved to Buena Park and purchased a home in 1948 and Donna lived in that home until she died. 

She is survived by son Richard Bagley and daughter-in-law Cheri Bagley; five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, the latest was a set of redheaded twins born last February in Texas.

Viewing, Thursday, February 28, 2013, 5-9:00 p.m., Renaker-Klockgether Mortuary, 7651 Commonwealth Buena Park, Ca. 90621. Funeral services will be held at the First Fullerton Christian Church,March 1, 2013, 10:00 a.m., 109 E. Wilshire, Fullerton, CA 92832. Final resting place, Melrose Abbey, Anaheim, Ca.

Loreen Berlin may be reached at  Photo by Loreen Berlin

In lieu of flowers the Bagley family has asked that donations be made in Donna's name to the Buena Park Boys and Girls Club.

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