Donna Lynn Myers Tynes, a loving mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend, died Thursday, Aug. 1. Family surrounded her as she let loose her grasp on their hands and fell into the arms of the Father. Also, there to greet her on the other side were those who had gone before her – Freddy, her dad, her grandparents, and many loving uncles and aunts.

Donna was born on Galveston Island. That gritty sand and salty air got into her soul to develop her personality. She loved lying in the sun, listening to the waves, while gossiping with her family on annual beach trips. And, like a jellyfish, she could give a painful sting if you upset, threatened, or frightened her.

She loved her family dearly. Her Mama, Bobbie, spoiled her as a child then paid for that into adulthood. Bobbie loved her Donna and Donna loved her Mama. The two were alike in many ways, which lead to the normal mama-daughter strife, but in the end, those similarities bonded them together for eternity. Donna always said that there wasn’t a thing that her mama couldn’t “tend to.”  She always asked Bobbie for her opinion. Donna may not have always liked what Bobbie said, but she always wanted to know what Bobbie thought.  Donna was very lucky to have Bobbie holding her as she entered and left this world.

The relationship between Donna and her daughter Amber was one of those things that prove God has a sense of humor.  Their love was as strong as their personalities and they butted heads from time to time. But, they were always sure of the love they shared and very thankful for each other.  Amber grew up with a lifetime of practical jokes pulled by Donna. But she also received those life lessons that only a mother can teach a child. In the end, Amber cared for, nurtured and gave the most important medicine a person battling illness needs, the healing gift of presence. Donna was always proud of the person that Amber was, and prouder still of the person that Amber will become.

Every little girl needs a daddy. Donna was lucky to have two in her life; Freddy carried her through the first half of her life.  After Freddy’s death, Kenneth stepped up to carry her through the second half. Donna loved Kenneth for all he was. She loved to fuss with him, but she always knew that no matter what, Kenneth would be there for her.

Sisters are often first best friends, but not always best friends at first.  Donna was not happy when little sister Lisa entered the picture, but she grew to enjoy Lisa’s company, if only for the sheer entertainment value. When Donna was not conspiring ways to take Lisa out of the picture, she was honing her practical joke skills with Lisa as the target. Donna taught Lisa many things in life, such as how to have quick reflexes, how to sleep with one eye open, and how to retain your dignity even though someone may have cut the ribbon on your dress, or cut v’s into your fingernails as you slept.  Most of all, Donna taught Lisa about the love of a sister, and how strength and patience are qualities that will serve you well in life. Those skills served Lisa well as she tended to Donna over the past few months. Donna, understandably, never wanted to be alone as she battled her illness. When the going grew tough and the time grew small, Lisa was Donna’s first choice for companionship and care.

Clyde was the love of Donna’s life.  The love he shared with Donna was true and she never for one minute doubted it. Clyde will grieve her loss for the rest of his life. For the times when it seems like too much to bear, he will be able to remember Donna reaching out to him, caressing his cheeks, and saying, “Straighten that face!” in a tone that meant business.  And, he will take some measure of comfort in knowing that Donna is “OK” now.

Donna also had two other men in her life.  She was always so proud of her nephews John and Jared. She always enjoyed hearing of John’s travels, which is ironic because she sometimes became disoriented if she ventured too far off Horseshoe Bend. Jared enjoyed spending time with Donna and sharing his activities and became her personal “mail man” bringing her mail daily for which she would always offer up her pocket change.

Donna was also fortunate to have a set of aunts from whom she inherited many good and some “not-so-good” traits.  That Coulter blood coursed through her veins right up until her final heart beat. From the time Donna was born, to the time she died, her aunts, Ginner, Eddie, Emma, Pat, and Lynn were examples of the value of a surrogate mother’s love. They treated Donna as one of their own often to her benefit and sometimes to her detriment.  Many of them, along with Donna’s cousin Deana and her sister-in-law Janie, took an active role in her treatment. They spent many hours over the last several months transporting Donna to and from treatment as well as staying with her both at the hospital and her house. Their love for Donna was definitely felt and appreciated.

Donna spent over 30 years caring for patients as a nurse at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Her patients were lucky, their families were grateful, and Donna’s co-workers were always entertained when she was on the unit. Donna was an awesome nurse, not because of what she learned in the classroom; truth be told, she feared she would fail in nursing school and never really thought she would be a nurse.  What made Donna awesome at her vocation was her compassion and work ethic.

Donna would want you to remember always that the tears on your cheek today, and in the future, are evidence of the love that will forever be in your heart. Shed a tear if you must, but then take time to laugh and remember all the time you shared with Donna.  Remember her when you’re cutting the grass, because Donna always jokingly said that when she retired, she would go into the lawn business with her sister Lisa, funny how you seem capable of solving the problems of the world while sitting on a John Deere tractor.

Also, smile and think of Donna whenever you are greeted at Wal-Mart.  Donna loved her shopping trips there, and when you see that familiar smiley of “falling prices”, think of Donna grinning at you. Think of Donna whenever you see a cat, because you know the love she had for her furry children, Sammy and Billie Jean. Whenever you’re baking, take a deep breath of the sweet aroma and recall how Donna loved to bake and then eat the sweet fruits of her labor.

Donna was very thankful for the staff and physicians of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Their level of care, compassion, and empathy provided her with the treatment and hope needed when someone is battling such an insidious disease. She was also so very thankful for family members, aunts and cousins, and friends who gave so much time and offered so many prayers over the last several months. She would especially like to thank her cousin Millette, who took time off from her work at MD Anderson to visit and went above and beyond to assist the nursing staff in meeting Donna’s needs.

In lieu of flowers or food, please make memorial contributions in the name of Donna Tynes to the American Cancer Society, and the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.