COLLINS [Pillow], [Draper], Donna Mae - of Linden, age 83 died Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at Cottage of Davison. A beloved matriarch who is leaving behind a legacy of love, strength, kindness, and faith.
Donna was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 18, 1940, the daughter of the late Carroll and Lucille (Kruska) Pillow. She graduated Valedictorian in 1958 from Holy Redeemer Catholic High School and attended St. Mary’s College in South Bend, IN.
On May 21, 1966, she married Arthur “Fred” Draper at Holy Redeemer Church in Flint. Together, they were blessed with five wonderful children. Her life changed forever with the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband at the young age of 46 in 1986. Understanding the path she was given, she relied on her faith and community and she became a source of strength for her children, raising them with immense love and resilience. She never missed a sporting event or any of her kids’ activities despite juggling all the responsibilities of being a single parent.
Donna’s legacy as a strong mother and role model is evident through the paths her children chose in finding their lifelong partners. Each has been married more than 20 years, and her five children surrounded her with love and 11 wonderful grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Her grandchildren meant the world to her. Whether it was through playing games, baking, or attending their sporting events, she made each grandchild feel loved and cherished.
Nineteen years after the passing of her first husband, she met the second love of her life Edward (Ed) Collins through St. John Evangelist Church, and the two of them were married in 2005. Together, they embarked on a journey filled with companionship, travel, shared joys (Michigan Football), and unwavering support for one another and Ed’s four children and his 9 grandchildren. Ed passed away in 2019.
Donna worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flint prior to having kids as an EKG technician. After almost two decades raising her children, she returned to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital and ultimately, Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc as an EKG and stress test technician until retirement. She loved her job, her coworkers, and her opportunity to help others.
Donna had a strong faith and was a very active member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Fenton after moving to the Linden area in 1972. All five of her children attended St. John School, and she frequently volunteered for numerous church activities to support her church community.
She had an incredibly supportive network of lifelong friends through her church and community that were instrumental in helping her raise five children. After her children were grown, she leaned on this same network of friends for companionship, adventure, mutual support, and love.
Surviving are her children, Steven (Melissa) Draper, Stephanie (John) Oswald, Scott (Laura) Draper, Michael (Becky) Draper, and Thomas (Valerie) Draper; grandchildren, Amanda (Daniel) Kaliszewski, Ashley (Chris) Triscari, Natalie, Kyle, Emma, Jacob, Caitlin, Will, Joshua, Annie, and MacKenzie; great-grandsons, Kasey and Cody; step-children, Colleen Collins, David Collins, Tim (Stacy) Collins, and Chris (Marlou) Collins; step-grandchildren, Kendra, Olivia, Devin, Lindsey, Jack, Sullivan, Andrew, and Zachary; sister, Doreen Romzek; and sisters-in-law, Ann Marie Draper, Sara Pillow, and Lorraine Pillow.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Carroll and Lucille (Kruszka) Pillow; her first husband, Arthur Draper; her second husband, Edward Collins; her brothers, Robert Pillow and Craig Pillow; her sister, Jeraine Thompson; her brothers-in-law, Robert Thompson, Robert Romzek, and Dale Draper; father-in-law, Arthur Draper; mother-in-law, Jeanette (VandeBunt) Draper; and step-grandson, Alexander Collins.
Visitation is 3-7 p.m. Monday, November 6, 2023, with a prayer service and tribute at 7:00 p.m. at Sharp Funeral Home, 1000 W. Silver Lake Rd., Fenton.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 7, 2023, with a viewing from 10:00 a.m until the time of service at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 600 N. Adelaide St., Fenton. Donna's Funeral Mass will be live streamed and may be viewed on her obituary page at www.sharpfuneralhomes.com
Burial in Fairview Cemetery, 584 E. Broad St., Linden, immediately following funeral mass.