Obituary Details

Donna LaRay Robinson

(01/28/1920 - 11/30/2016)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 12/07/2016

Donna Laray Watts Robinson passed away peacefully at home on November 30, 2016. Her life journey has honored each of us with lasting memories of love, courage, strength of character and the utmost respect for her tireless, persevering approach to life. Donna, to her last day was humorous, a confidant, a counselor and example of how to live and experience life.

Donna was born January 28, 1920 in her grandmother's home in Murray, Utah to Elizabeth Ann Hackford, and Lambert Leroy Watts. She was the 6th of nine children. She was preceded in death by her husband Samuel, her parents and siblings Bernice, Henry Leroy, Chancy Lemar, Margaret, Willis Howell, Afton Nina, Bob Lambert and Derald Stewart.

She was married to her soulmate Samuel for 65 years. They were married in Tooele, Utah. They were blessed with three children, Judith LaRay Johnson (Larid); Karen Ann Lewis and Sam Craig Robinson (Lori). Her 11 grandchildren are Layne, Todd, Lori Ann, Jill, Andrew, Shawn, Samuel, Corbin, Mindi, Kari, and Chase. She has 24 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great grandchildren.

Donna grew up in the Murray area, attending Liberty elementary and later Murray High. There was no junior high at that time. Her childhood home was filled with the "latest accouterments" such as outdoor plumbing, spacious 2 rooms for the 9 children, coal stoves, one tub pulled into the kitchen for Saturday night baths and electricity. Despite the "latest accouterments," she felt rich because she and her family always shared with others who were less fortunate during the depression era. This would be a theme throughout her life.

Donna met Sam the love of her life while still in high school, he was a little older. When they met, he was with his three friends, and the group was famously or infamously known as the "Four Lads." Days before her 19th birthday they drove to the Tooele courthouse to witness one of the "Four Lads" get married and he suggested to them "why don’t you two get married?" Sam said "Well we're not doing anything anyway," and a long loving companionship began. After completing his apprenticeship on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and the birth of Judy and Karen they moved to Denver, and shortly thereafter to Salida, Colo. While there, Judy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which at the time was ominous news. Donna faced this with courage and perseverance, another theme that was a hallmark of her life.

After 10 years in Colo, the small family moved to Pleasant Grove where Sam was employed at Geneva Steel and the caboose Sam Jr. was born. Her mother became quite ill from diabetes complications and Donna administered and cared for her till her passing in their small home. Donna lived here for the remaining 68 years of her life, involved in youth baseball with Sam and most importantly her labor of love, her home. She was bestowed the Beautification Yard Award several times and her home was truly her castle and love. Perhaps because Christmas was sparse during her youth and early marriage, she created a veritable festival in her home with trees, trains, elves and spirit of the season. She was an avid bowler belonging to several leagues till she was in her 70's. She had great love for music, particularly Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, "Big Tiny" Little, Ray Anthony, Michael Buble, and others. It was the sound track of her life. After Sam retired from Hercules, they spent their retirement traveling in their red Camaro and were truly "peas and carrots." She was a rock during Sam's cancer journey and after his passing said she was the "luckiest girl alive," and I have to get up and get going.

Their travels produced life-long, diverse, eclectic friendships which were enormously important to her. She never met a stranger and always had deep compassion for those with heavy burdens or less resource. She faced life head-on, on life's terms always "getting on." She had enormous integrity and rigorous honesty about life and how it should be lived. She instilled in everyone she met a sense of belonging, and that they mattered, often stating she is no better or no worse than anyone else. Till the very end, she had a keen wit, summoning it to battle adversity and lighten the load of others.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the Olpin Family Mortuary Chapel, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove. Friends and family may call one hour prior to services. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Johnson, Judith (08/30/1939 - 02/10/2020) View Record