Donna Lee Jeffers Abernathy

Donna Lee Jeffers Abernathy passed away peacefully on January 7, 2020, surrounded by her family. She was born October 6, 1952 in Salem, NJ to parents Ina Elwanda Pate and Paul Johnson Jeffers Jr. She grew up in Pennsville, NJ.

From the beginning she had a zest for life and an unquenchable thirst for adventure, participating in student council, homecoming court, as well as editing and writing for her high school magazine. She dominated JV hockey, basketball, cheerleading, and glee club. After high school she received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism to pursue her love of writing; she had a sharp wit and an even sharper pen. She went on to travel the world, teaching English in Taiwan, exploring Europe, and touching the lives and hearts of many. Donna received her Master of Business at the University of Texas, where she met the love of her life, Stephen Abernathy, and they married shortly thereafter. 

She conquered breast cancer while working full time and raising 2 daughters. Her work in IT as a project manager let her travel to almost every continent and ultimately sent her to Colorado, which she called home for 18 years. She was self-taught in Mandarin, Spanish and French. Her self-reliance, selflessness, and wisdom were an inspiration to many. She wrote, read, danced, and traveled; she lived with such joie de vivre that left many in awe. Her life may have been shortened by her battle with thyroid cancer, but she filled many lifetimes into it. Her family and friends will miss her dearly.

Donna is survived by her spouse, Stephen Wayne Abernathy and her daughters, Nicole Abernathy Golob and Julie Anne Abernathy as well as her brothers, Thomas Edward Jeffers and Robert Alan Jeffers and their families. A virtual memorial service was held on January 16th. For more information go to

Follow this link to see a tribute video created by Julie Abernathy

2 thoughts on “Donna Lee Jeffers Abernathy”

  1. I knew Donna for a brief time, many years ago, around 1989-1990, sharing an apartment for a summer. She was so kind, smart and funny. A wonderful human. Condolences to all who loved her.

  2. My condolences to Donna’s family. I know she was the light of their lives. When she and I were in journalism classes together at University of Houston in the mid 70s she was so full of joy and savoring life. She was mature beyond her age and living with a friend in the artsy Montrose subdivision. She gave me several feminist books and inspired me with her wisdom and life view although I was older than she.
    She had a Volkswagon as I recall and she told me once she hoped she never owned things and could remained a free spirit, she didn’t want to own more than her car, books, clothes and her banjo. Next time I saw her she said,” I now own only a car and some books. We were burglarized.” She took it all in stride. Donna was not one to have regrets.
    Donna was a memorable person, even at such a young age. I never forgot her and finally found her in Feb. 2018 but could not reach her by phone so I sent her a letter. I hope she received it. I hope she knew what a great inspiration and influence she was on those around her. But so sad her life was cut short. No doubt she packed more into her life than any ten people combined. And she inspired me to do that same. Thank you Donna, your remain in my heart.

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