DEER ISLE – Donna Barter Billings passed away peacefully at Deer Isle Nursing Home, Aug. 15, 2013, on a sunny morning as the hermit thrushes were singing. She was born June 17, 1927, in Rockland, the daughter of Charlotte Lufkin Haskell and Arthur C. Barter.
The family moved to North Haven where her father was a caretaker until Donna was five years old. At that time, they moved to Deer Isle and her father purchased the M.D. Joyce Company and Hardware Company in 1932. She graduated from McKinley High School as valedictorian in 1945. She attended Colby College, graduating in 1949 with a major in History and a minor in English. She continued her education at Husson College for another year. After teaching locally for a short time, she met and married John Jackson Billings of Stonington in February, 1950. In the span of 20 years her husband, “Jack” and she would take over and manage the M.D. Joyce Company and Barter Lumber Company that was started by her father, Arthur Barter. As she would often say, “I grew up at my father’s store, standing on a wooden box in order to run the cash register and total the amounts on a brown paper bag.” She enjoyed working with the public at the store throughout her life. Her outgoing personality and smile would always brighten other people’s day. Donna and Jack enjoyed traveling abroad on several trips with friends, indulging in her love of history. Later in life she would experience debilitating health issues. She was a strong person, never complaining and pressed on. She loved Deer Isle, its people, her family and her friendships deeply. In later years, she found great pleasure watching the deer, ducks and ducklings that visited her backyard pond, birds at her feeders; and her beloved dog, “Mary Margaret.” Donna was a generous person giving many gifts to others and supporting many local organizations and charities.
She is survived by her daughter, Cynthia A. Billings; sons, Arthur Jackson Billings, and his wife, Diane, and Dana Billings, and his wife, Bobbi. Patricia Murray gave her such joy and one whom she considered a second daughter. She was a loving grandmother to the four grandchildren, Sara, Lori, Anne, Blake; and one great-grandson, Jackson. She cherished his many visits bringing so much joy to her. She is also survived by dear friends and constant companions, Andrea Gray and Phyllis Pemberton. Two days prior to her death, she stated that “God had sent Phyllis to her.” While Donna was in her home, Andrea Gray was her companion. As Andrea was much younger, she brought out that youthful, fun side of Donna. They enjoyed many laughs and shopping trips for supplies.
The family would like to recognize and thank all of the staff at Parker Ridge Assisted Living in Blue Hill and the Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle for their kind and compassionate care.
A memorial ceremony will begin 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at Deer Isle Congregational Church. There will be a time of refreshments and conversation at the church following the service. Remembrances may be donations to the Deer Isle/Stonington Historical Society, P.O. Box 652, Deer Isle, ME 04627, or to Ark Animal Shelter, 60 Barber Lane, Cherryfield, ME 04622. Arrangements by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Homes, Stonington.