Lois Jean Donahue was born July 5, 1924 in Los Angeles, California, the oldest of three daughters born to Vera and Harold Hedger. She grew up in the Southern California towns of Echo Park, Montrose, Long Beach, Eagle Rock, and Glendale, where, with friends and her two sisters, Barbara and Nancy, she witnessed the changing landscape of a state moving from agriculture and orange groves to aerospace and entertainment.
During these years, her father became the Chief Flood Control Engineer for the City of Los Angeles, a role that had a major impact on the family when Los Angeles experienced a “once in a century” rain on December 31st, 1933, of 11 inches in 11 hours, causing powerful flooding that killed 35 people and destroyed buildings and land throughout the foothills communities. As Lois remembered it, “By evening, our Montrose house was full of people stranded by the floodwaters. Men from the Flood Control buildings at the debris basins, that had been washed away, people who had been injured by boulders when their cars were engulfed. No lights, only lots of wet people and men smoking cigars!” Eventually her father would take the lead on building the Los Angeles River Channel.
In 1941 the family purchased a small cottage on Balboa Island for $1,700, which, after being furnished with Goodwill purchases, became the site of many adventures and wonderful times with family and high school friends staying over. In 1942, the family moved to Bethesda, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C., to be with Harold, who, as a Captain in the Army, had been called up to aid in the wartime construction effort building airports. During the war, Lois matriculated at Pomona College in California, traveling by train between East and West Coast. While in Bethesda, Lois met Herbie Ehrman, whom she would marry in 1945. A fighter test pilot, he was killed in a flying accident in 1946. In 1948, she was introduced by her sister Barbara to Roy Donahue. Lois and Roy were married May 14, 1949 and began creating a family that thrived on a life of shared adventures, laughter, mutual support, unconditional love, and a lifelong family commitment to the UCLA Bruins and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In addition, Lois was an outstanding artist in both oil and watercolor media. She began taking art lessons at an early age and continued to paint throughout her life; she was especially proud to have had her works displayed for family and friends at a showing at Holly Creek, her community residence, in 2023. At Holly Creek, where she made many enriching friendships, she was often asked to what she credited her long life, and her response was always “my faith in God and a good sense of humor.”
Lois is survived by her four children: Kathy Reyer (and Ron), Kim Dority, Kelly Donahue (and Chong-Ae) and Karen Collette; 10 adoring grandchildren, Lia Reyer Closson, Aaron Reyer, Matt Dority, Michelle Collette Carlow (and Jeff), Greg Collette (and Jessica), Katelyn Donahue (and Matt Felten), Jacob Donahue, Jonathan Donahue, and Hope Donahue; and four great-grandchildren, Cannon and Paige Closson, and Stella and Cooper Carlow. She was an important part of all of their lives, but most especially those of her grandchildren, who were always ready to share their stories, secrets, and adventures with her.
She was preceded in death by her husband Roy and her sisters Barbara and Nancy.