Donna Mae (Joynes) Willett

June 24, 1925 ~ May 21, 2022 (age 96)


Our beloved Auntie Donna passed away peacefully with family at her side, on Saturday May 21, 2022. She was one month short of her 97th birthday. She was born to Aleda Marie (Lindberg) Joynes and John Thomas Joynes in Grand Marais, MN on June 24, 1925. She was the youngest of 6 siblings, Floyd, Howard, Glenn, Norman, and her sister Irma (Joynes) Toftey. She was predeceased by husband of 33 years, Edward Charles Willett, nephew Richard Joynes and niece Glenda Eliasen (Joynes). She is survived by nieces and nephews: Harley (Shele) Toftey, James Toftey, Elizabeth (Jerry) Coughlin, Skip Joynes, William (Judy) Joynes Sr, and Aleda Joynes. Donna was everyone’s favorite Aunt, adventurous, athletic, funny and always in a good mood. She moved from Grand Marais in her late teens to work in California, first for the Navy during WWII and then for the next forty years with AT&T in San Francisco. She was active in the Palo Alto Ski Club, (several club championships), the Palo Alto Trail Riding Club and the local water-skiing club. Later in life she took up golf, tennis and fly fishing. She was perhaps the worst cook that ever lived but we didn’t mind.

Donna and Ed moved back to Grand Marais, MN in the early 1980’s and built a house on Devil Track Lake. She was active in Eastern Star and the Garden Club with her sister Irma and worked at Gunflint Hills Golf Course for many years. She continued to downhill and cross-country ski with her niece, Skip Joynes, well into later life.  

For the last 12 years she has resided at North Shore Heath and received great care and attention from Harley and Shele Toftey, great nieces Julie Carlson, Sarah, and Hannah Toftey. The family is forever grateful for the loving care and attention she received from a kind and diligent staff at North Shore Health. She led a long and fulfilling life. We love her and will miss her.


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