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Donna-Lou Gaughan, 74, of La Vernia, Texas, returned to God Sunday, March 11, 2012. She was born an Easter baby on March 28, 1937, in St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn., the daughter of Morton Authur Leonard of Waterbury and Beatrice Ester O’Donnell of Torrington, Conn.
As a sister in the order of St. Joseph’s of Shamberry, France, from 1957-67, Donna-Lou served as an emergency- and operating-room nurse. She joined the U.S. Air Force in 1967 and became the youngest officer to be promoted from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel in 12 years. She retired from the Air Force in 1987. Donna-Lou spent time in Nationalist China and completed four campaigns in Vietnam, helping missionaries and building hospitals. The remainder of her service time was spent developing items to protect and test for chemical warfare, among other special assignments and projects.
Donna-Lou earned a double master’s degree from St. Louis University in education and psychology. Stateside, she raised horses and had two female-owned businesses and worked with Dr. Ruby Urby opening clinics for the poor with Daughters of Charity. She was a life member of the National Rifle Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and the National Association for Uniformed Services.
She was preceded in death by one older brother.
Donna-Lou is survived by her sister, Sandra Marlene Stepanek; three nephews; one niece; and multiple great-nieces and -nephews.
Visitation will be held Thursday, March 15, from 5-7 p.m. in the Finch Funeral Chapel in La Vernia, with a rosary to be recited at 7 p.m.
A graveside funeral service will be held Friday at 3 p.m. in the Holy Cross Cemetery in San Antono, with Father Bill Zadora officiating.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Tabor House, Attn: Sister Ann, 67 Brownwell Ave., Hartford, CT 06106.
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