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Obituary - Donna Marie LaTour-Elefante

Donna Marie LaTour-Elefante

Date of Passing: October 6th, 2012

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Memorial contributions may be made to the Donna LaTour-Elefante for the Children Fund, c/o The Community Foundation, 1222 State Street, Utica NY 13502.

Donna Marie LaTour-Elefante, 64, died at her home on Oneida Street on Saturday, October 6, 2012 with her beloved son and daughter by her side. She was born November 23, 1947 in Bennington, VT, a daughter of the late Alfred and Evelyn Meyers LaTour. In 1963, she moved to Utica, NY with her family and attended St. Francis deSales High School, where she graduated in June 1965. She attended Utica College of Syracuse University, where she received a bachelor's degree in Education/French in January 1970. In February 1974, Donna was married to Michael Elefante, in a union that lasted 13 years and was blessed with two children. She returned to Utica College in 1980, where she graduated with honors in August 1982 with a degree in Psychology/Child Life Therapy. Blending her formal education with the personal experience of being a cherished child and then a mother, Donna embraced a professional vocation in service of children. From 1984 to 1988, Donna was Executive Director at Parents Anonymous. In searching for more and better ways to help families, she discovered the Nurturing Programs for Parents and Their Children, which she introduced to New York State, and went on to become a national trainer and consultant. In 1988, Donna founded her not-for-profit agency, the Family Nurturing Center of Central New York. By this time, she had formed a personal vision that "every child would be nurtured by at least one adult in their lifetime." As Executive Director, Donna fully shared her commitment to the conscious practice of nurturing, through both family traditions and community traditions. In 1990, she began organizing, to the last detail, the annual Family of the Year Celebration that selects and honors role model families. In 2006, she co-authored the Nurturing Program for Parents & Their Children with Special Needs & Health Challenges. In 2007, Donna realized a long held dream by opening Evelyn's House for Young Mothers and Babies, named for her mother. Very recently, with great emotion, Donna expressed her overwhelming gratitude for the acts of confidence and support provided by her beloved staff and board members, professional associates, funders, legislators, volunteers, personal friends and relatives who lent their hands, and the many families she served, whose own lives touched hers so meaningfully. Donna fully enjoyed every holiday, which she spent with her family, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. She loved traveling, through the country and around the world, taking many trips with her children, her grandchildren and her father in his later years. She had a strong sense of family history and was dedicated to keeping traditions alive. She deeply loved her grandchildren and was so excited about the new baby to be born this year. She had a very special relationship with Mariana, traveling and seeing Broadway shows, passing on her many special gifts to her, and she had planned for more such pleasures with all of her younger grandchildren. Donna was a very spiritual woman and was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, where she served as a lector. People everywhere loved Donnas' laugh and her beautiful sense of humor. Her presence will be greatly and forever missed at home, in her church, at her agency and in all corners of our community. She is survived by two children, Melissa (David) Acquaviva of New Hartford and Davide Elefante and Kelly Carcone of Utica; three grandchildren, Mariana, Matthew and Frankie Acquaviva and was awaiting the birth of her fourth granddaughter, Arianna Rose Elefante; seven brothers and a sister, Alfred (Annette) LaTour, Jr. of Pownal, VT, Fred (Diane) LaTour of Utica, Larry (Maryann) LaTour of Liverpool, Evelyn (Frank) Amerosa of Utica, Christopher (Karen) LaTour of Amsterdam, Joseph (Margaret) LaTour of Whitesboro, Richard (Judy) LaTour of Rome and Scott LaTour of Barneveld; her fiancé, Eric Minugh of Utica; and many nieces and nephews, especially Shawnte and Amee, who was also her Goddaughter. She was predeceased by a brother, Arthur LaTour. The family extends a special thank you to her very, very close friends, Margaret Kojac, Colleen Cavallo, Julie Falatico, Lucia Borrometti, Michele Tryon and Kris Russell, for the dedication, love and care they showed throughout her life and illness. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 11 am from Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Utica. Private entombment will be in Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum. Calling hours are Tuesday from 4 – 8 pm at the Bentz & Amodio Funeral Service, Inc., 470 French Road, Utica/New Hartford. Memorial contributions may be made to the Donna LaTour-Elefante for the Children Fund, c/o The Community Foundation, 1222 State Street, Utica NY 13502. The fund has been started by David J. Zumpano, a long-time friend who admired Donnas' passion and commitment to children and families. To ensure that her mission continues, donations received during October will be tripled by the Zumpano family.

Condolences:

I am beyond words, because Donna was such a blessing. She changed my life and helped me to be a caring and gentle family man. I am eternally grateful for all of the gifts that she gave. I am sending good energy to her family and friends and miss her very much already.
Michael

I am beyond words, because Donna was such a blessing. She changed my life and helped me to be a caring and gentle family man. I am eternally grateful for all of the gifts that she gave. I am sending good energy to her family and friends and miss her very much already.
Michael

I just finished writing a note to Donna this evening when I learned that she was gone. We only had the pleasure of getting to know her briefly this past summer. Donna exuded joy, warmth and love each time we saw her or talked to her. We feel blessed to have known her and wish we'd been able to spend more time with her. Our condolences to all of you. Dria, John, Bella, Bryn and Bergen Freeman
Dria Freeman

To Donna's family and friends, I am saddened by your loss. I admired and respected Donna. Donna was a true treasure in our community. The Family Nurturing Center is Donna's legacy; a legacy you can all be proud of. I will miss Donna.
Jo Ellen Vespo

May you be flooded with positive memories of Donna. I had hte pleasure of working with her in Early Intervention and and my current job. She was a remarkable woman and the joy and passion she had for children will live on through her many professional and family contacts, and the Family Nurturing Center. We will all miss you. Love and prayers are sent your way.
Arlene Brouillette

Margaret: I am so sorry about your sister. She was very young. She did many good works and left her mark here on this earth. Please give my condolences to your family. I will keep you all in my prayers. God Bless.
Liz Eaton

Melissa my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. God Bless You!
Charlene Harris

It seems like yesterday we were at the Lewis House with Donna DJing the festivities for the Family Nuturing Center Family of the Year Celebration. She was so dedicated and such a wonderful, caring person. She did so much for so many and will be greatly missed by the community. God bless you and keep you close Donna.
Jim Ambrose

Rest In Peace Donna, thank you for all you did for the kids and parents in our community. You will be missed so much. Another great Lady joins the Angels with God!
James & Anna Ambrose

We are all so sad to hear about Donna, she was a true "ANGEL" to everyone. Through her faith I know she will be at peace. She is now with her parents whom she cherished so much. We send our sincere condolences to her family.
Grabinbski Family & Jacqueline Zysk

Donna was a beautiful human being, inside and out, with whom I shared a passion for children. She will be sorely missed, personally and professionally. We are all the better for having known her. I want to extend my sincere condolences to her family.
Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen

Sending more love, blessings and wishes for the happiest of memories to Donna's entire family from ours ~ Roger & Colleen, Lydia & Jay & Zackary, Ruggiero & Wen & Lucia, Giancarlo, Corrina and Cristiana. We thank Donna for being in our lives.
Colleen Cavallo