Ways To Give: What Other Alums Are Saying
Larry Donna ’74
Larry Donna ’74* with his siblings and two nephews at the St. Johnsbury Academy graduation of his nephew Tim Hartwell ’13. (Row 1 L-R) Linda Donna Hartwell ’84, Timothy Hartwell, Susan Donna ’78, David Donna ’78; (row 2 L-R) Stephen Donna ’76, Tim Hartwell ’13, Christopher Hartwell ’16, and Larry Donna ’74.
Larry first notified the Academy in 2014 that he was thinking about including the school in his estate plans. He would stop by the alumni office, share stories of his high school years, and express his deep love for the Academy. In 2018, he was pinned and celebrated as a member of the 1842 Circle at the annual Thaddeus Fairbanks Society luncheon.
Over the past few years, Larry struggled with health issues, and this past spring Larry’s health took a turn for the worst. Fearing he might not make it to see his 50th class reunion, he asked if he could write a letter to his classmates encouraging them to make gifts in preparation for their golden reunion.
I have been lucky to be able to attend all nine of our class reunions, and I have been looking forward to our 50th. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in the fall. Although it is most likely that I will not be able to attend our 50th class reunion, I do want to contribute to a class gift.
An account has been set up through the Academy Alumni Office that will allow contributions to be made now through 2024. This will enable gift giving over a longer period of time, making it easier for contributions to be made and to accumulate.
While our class has not had a high percentage giving level in the past, my hope is that greater participation will result in an appropriate gift to represent the Class of 1974. I have recently learned that some of our classmates have already contributed to St. Johnsbury Academy in my name.
I have fond memories of St. Johnsbury Academy, namely the friendships I formed while I was there. I hope you will consider making a gift with me. And I hope you will plan to attend our 50th reunion in 2024.
Larry was known for his selfless acts, kindness, and love for all. Classmates did send gifts in support of the fund that he started with the hope that the class will continue to build upon it up until their reunion in 2024. “After receiving the letter from Larry, I made my contribution immediately,” said classmate Linda Damon. “I had such a good time chatting with him at my reunion in 2019 and wanted to acknowledge how much high school friends mean to me.” When her message was shared with Larry, it brought a wonderful smile to his face.
Sadly, Larry passed away July 27, 2021. “Larry was a great guy. He was an active member of the Class of 1974 with a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of St. Johnsbury Academy,” said classmate Danny Lane. “It doesn’t surprise me that he thought of how he could support the Academy during his final days. He will be greatly missed by all at our 50th reunion. RIP Larry.”
Larry’s brother, Stephen ’76, summed it up nicely: “My brother Larry had a love for St. Johnsbury and an even deeper love and appreciation for the Academy. Larry had a high regard for the values and traditions that St. Johnsbury Academy has had all these years. Larry was a proud alumnus and always looked forward to reminiscing with friends and classmates, even doing so daily until his death this past summer.”