Donna M. Cevoli
December 10, 1951 - July 14, 2023

Donna Marie (Nelson) Cevoli passed away on Friday July 14, 2023 of complications following heart failure one week earlier; she was 71 years old. She is survived by her husband Paul Cevoli, daughter Kristen Cevoli, son Michael Cevoli, granddaughters Harper and Willow Cevoli, as well as her sister Nancy (Nelson) Stokes. She was predeceased by her parents Walter Nelson, Jr., Pearl (March) Nelson, and sister Karen (Nelson) Rowland.

Donna was fun, passionate, and creative, with an eye for style and design.  She enjoyed card games fully, but was inspired by seeing the world. She traveled mostly with tour groups and family, but was not afraid to bravely travel by herself. She enjoyed trips to Ireland and Scotland, Italy and Greece, Brazil and around the horn of South America, New Zealand and Australia, Japan and China, Portugal and Spain, Paris and the south of France, many countries along the Danube and Rhine, African safaris, Egypt, Italy, as well as bus tours all over the USA, Canada, and tropical Caribbean beaches.

Her journey began in Wrentham MA, where education was always prioritized in her family.  It’s what led Donna to attend the exclusive oceanside Newport School for Girls, where she graduated in 1970 as a multi-sport captain in soccer and field hockey.  From there, she followed her interest in bioscience to Russell Sage College in Troy, NY where she crafted her own curriculum to receive a Bachelors in Psychology and Social Sciences.  Her independence was not limited to the classroom, as her tenacity as a cocktail waitress convinced local bar owners to make her the first female bartender in the “tri-city” area: Troy, Albany and Schenectady. It was here that she met her husband and lifelong friends, and where her ambitions took shape.

That ambition to learn evolved, so she paved a way into teaching by achieving her Masters in Learning Disabilities from New York University. With consultancy and administration roles available to her, she felt it was important to understand what teachers and students faced before managing that process. That desire for hands-on experience led her to the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district in Central NJ, where many long evenings of lesson planning manifested into creating, from scratch, the first special education and resource room programs for the school system. All along, her dedication was driven to giving “her kids” the best education they could receive.

While perfecting her craft in the classroom, she would spend her time outside visiting antique stores up and down the east coast to decorate her apartments, condos, and eventually the family home in North Brunswick NJ where they moved in July 1985.  She juggled her career while raising two active children; dashing from one after-school sporting event to horseback riding lessons to another, and planning countless trips and activities across the US where she weaved in historical places and the kids’ upcoming school curriculum.  In 2006, she retired after thirty-plus years of commitment, but not without creating countless lifelong friendships and relationships with her fellow teachers and students.

It made the decision in February of 2023 to move to North Carolina bittersweet, but she was incredibly excited to exchange cold northern winters or Floridian hot summers for the beautiful beach community at Ocean Ridge Plantation.  Her goals were to join community groups, learn to play golf, continue her travels, relax by the ocean waves, and enjoy both the new and old relationships she built over an amazing lifetime.  She will be forever missed.

1 Comment

  • Anne (March) Delmonte Posted July 23, 2023 12:22 pm

    To Donna’s family…I was so saddened to hear of Donna’s passing. I will always remember the fun times we had at her family picnics & lake home. Donna & I even double dated when we were in h.s. We sort of lost touch when I went to college, I am sorry to say. I hope you can reflect on good memories of your time with Donna on those days that follow.

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