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Donna Jean Marie (Harris) Rios

January 6, 1935 ~ November 22, 2019 (age 84)


Donna Jean Marie Rios passed away on November 22, 2019 at age 84 at home in Poland by her request surrounded by her loving family and friends after a brief illness.  Donna was born on January 6, 1935 in Youngstown to Jane Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Harris and John Russell Harris. 

Donna graduated from South High School in 1952, Choffin School of Practical Nursing, Youngstown State University as a registered nurse and earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees from YSU where she had also begun her doctoral studies.  She worked for many years at St. Elizabeth Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital and Heritage Manor as a registered nurse and later as a nursing instructor at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing where she served as Assistant Director until the school’s closing.  She became the nurse for the City of Struthers and then a nursing instructional tutor for Mercy College School of Nursing and continued as a private tutor until her retirement at age 82. She was a well-known and respected nursing instructor who met former students wherever she went.  Donna was a strong independent person who was a lifelong learner, read upwards of ten books a week, studied the “Great Courses” on a large variety of topics and was a source of information and guidance on many subjects including health and maternity nursing. She was never too busy to pick up grandchildren at school and have kids’ Tuesday evenings, family celebrations, tea parties, host out of town guests and exchange students and plan pool parties. She enjoyed sewing, crafts, cooking, baking, Maj Jong and playing cards. She looked forward to Friday night dinners out, concerts and museums.  She loved to travel with her family on camping trips, Lake Erie adventures, education conventions with her husband, trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas and to visit her family and friends across the United States. She received numerous awards and recognitions over the years for her work in community health care, her service as an ombudsman advocating for individuals in extended care facilities and was nominated for the Valley Legacy Award for her outstanding service to new mothers and the senior population even when she was a senior herself. Hers was a long life and a life well-lived.

Donna was predeceased by her parents and her devoted husband of 50 years, Robert Rios, who she married June 11, 1965 until his passing on February 2, 2016.  She leaves to cherish her memory and legacy her sisters, Laraine (Francis) Henry and Jacqueline (James) Duvall, her children, Debra Mettee, Terri Joseph, Gordon R. Mettee, Jr., Donna Mettee and Selita Marie Rios, her grandchildren, Natalie (Alex) Friend, William, Melissa, Sharon, Rachel, Michael and Zachary Mettee, Kiki Meiners Rios, Henry Riggle Rios, Steven and George Kacenga, and Abra and David Joseph, and one great grandchild,  in-laws Karen Mettee and Richard Scarsella, brothers-in-law Abel (Terri) Rios, Joseph (Geri) Rios, her sister-in-law, Eloise Fisher, her uncle, Valentin Mendel, many close aunts, uncles and cousins in Ohio and Pennsylvania who made up her extended family and, her dear friends, Rose Missik, Cathy Polito, Ray Pagan, Sister Dorothy Zwick and Sister Maureen Brown.

The family wants to extend their thanks and gratitude to Dr. Walter Passarello and his staff, the caregivers at Home Instead Senior Care and All Caring Hospice for their comfort and support to their beloved Donna and her family.

The family asks that any gifts be made to Donna’s favorite charities:  The Rescue Mission of the Valley, St. Joseph Indian School or the ASPCA. 

There will be a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by the Rev. Steve Zeigler at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New Middletown, on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.  Friends and family will be received from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the church before the service.

Arrangements are being handled by Cunningham-Becker Funeral Home, Poland Chapel. Please visit www.beckerobits.com to send condolences. 


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Jean Marie (Harris) Rios, please visit our floral store.


November 30, 2019

9:00 AM to 10:45 AM
St. Paul the Apostle Church (New Middletown)

Mass of Christian Burial
November 30, 2019

11:00 AM
St. Paul the Apostle Church (New Middletown)

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