On May 2, 2020, Rachel Ann Donohue, 99, a life-long resident of Bryan, Ohio, died at the CHP Hospice Center in Defiance, Ohio. According to her birth certificate she was born on July 23, 1920, in Bryan to Herbert Delaney (Dan) and Clara Floyde (Bird) Mathews.
But her mother always maintained she was born on July 21 and the doctor entered the wrong date on the birth certificate. She was married to Elwood Paul (Moe) Donohue, who preceded her in death in 2001. Rachel was well known in Bryan growing up as the only child of H.D. and Bird Mathews.
Her father was the town pharmacist and she was affectionately referred to as “Rachel Rexall.” Rachel was sharp witted, had a flare for puns, and was the life of any party. While attending Northwestern University she intended to go to medical school until she met Moe, who was in pilot training with the Air Force.
They secretly eloped in 1939, followed by a formal wedding ceremony in Bryan. They set off on a life of adventure in the Air Force with assignments in the Caribbean during World War II and at many stateside bases, as well as Morocco and Libya.
When they retired from the Air Force, Rachel returned to her beloved Bryan, where she worked at the library. She was a master bridge player and the recognized authority on the family’s favorite card game – “horse thief.” Her personalized knitted Christmas stockings became a rite of passage for each new grandchild.
She was a regent of the Scout David Williams Chapter of the DAR, a member of Taine Club, the Progressive Study Club, Eagle Creek Garden Club and the Trinity Episcopal Church. A Master Gardner, Rachel took home many ribbons for her imaginative flower arrangements at the Williams County Fair. A born leader Rachel was a member and president of many community support groups.
At the age of 87 as a testament to her strong will and stamina Rachel led the effort to stop Rite Aid from building a store in the historic area of Bryan.
Rachel is survived by her five children and their spouses, Christine (Jim) Stegen of North Ogden, Utah, Steve (Pat) Donohue of North Augusta, South Carolina, Heidi (Randy) Mealer of Defiance, Ohio, Julie (Mike) Giblin of Williamsburg, Virginia, and Nick (Pua) Donohue of Makawao, Hawaii, and 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Graveside funeral services will be held at Fountain Grove Cemetery on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 3 p.m., the Reverend Daniel Orr presiding. For those wishing to attend Rachel’s services, we ask that you maintain proper social distancing while offering the family your support.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Williams County Humane Society, the Williams County Historical Society or the donor’s own favorite charity.