Donnette Glaeser Hennigar passed away April 13, 2015, at her home in Deerfield Beach, Florida, surrounded by her loving family. Throughout Donnette's life she did as she pleased; she was a woman of beauty and influence, whose opinion was never asked because it was always given. Her life was full of laughter and celebration, and she would have wanted the memory of her life to be just the same.
Donnette Marie Glaeser, born on March 14, 1924, in Buffalo, was the only daughter of Arthur Glaeser, M.D., and Marie Welshofer, R.N. Young Donnette attended St. Mary's Seminary, where she graduated valedictorian in 1941. Donnette was a graduate of Michigan State College (now University). There, Donnette was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and continued to be an active alumna throughout her life. Donnette was eventually crowned Michigan State's "War Bond Queen," a title reserved for the school's most successful World War II fundraiser.
Donnette married William Grant Hennigar June 1, 1946. In 1956, Bill and Donnette moved their family to a new home on Grand Island, originally designed by her. There she raised eight children. Donnette maintained a lively social calendar, including active membership at the Buffalo Launch Club and numerous charitable activities. She also founded Hennigar Travel Service in 1960, and eventually opened two branch offices in Western New York before opening a fourth in South Florida (with the intention of settling a new life there with her husband and family).
Donnette and Bill opened the travel agency in Deerfield Beach, Florida, sold the New York branches, and completed their relocation to a sunnier climate - joining her brother Arthur Glaeser and his family. Donnette's love of travel took her all around the world. With the motto "Ask me, I've been there," she continued to guide future travelers, coordinating cruises for family and friends until just months before her passing.
Donnette continued to maintain a very social lifestyle, just like her mother before her, leading her girlfriends to happy hours at the American Legion of Deerfield Beach and lunches at The Cove. Her sense of humor, especially her one-liners, always made her an absolute joy to be around.
Donnette thoroughly enjoyed dancing (beyond her 90th birthday), playing tennis, bowling, swimming, and bicycling to the beach - she loved the ocean. Donnette also found time to knit many Irish fisherman sweaters and dozens of mittens for her large family. A devout Catholic, Donnette was also a very active member in her local church - first St. Stephen Church on Grand Island, then St. Ambrose Church in Deerfield Beach.
When she wasn't traveling or with her friends, Donnette loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; they all affectionately referred to her as "Baba." To her family, Baba was more than just a mother or grandmother; she was an inspiration to all. She lived a passionate life, on her terms, and was profoundly loyal to her family.
Donnette's passion for life shines though in her eight children: W. Grant Jr., David Lewis II (Lydia), Scott (Marie), Neal (Renee), Dale, Donnette Rayhill (Michael), Curtis (Marsha Milot), Alex (Virginia), sister-in-law Patricia, 16 remaining grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren - whose lives have all been touched by the great "Matriarch."
We were lucky to have known her, and we were lucky to have loved her.
Donnette was predeceased by her husband, William Hennigar; her brother, Arthur Glaeser; and her grandson, Travis Hennigar.
Memorial services to celebrate her life will be planned for a later date; she will be buried alongside her beloved husband at the South Florida VA National Cemetery in Lake Worth, Florida.
Donations to Hospice by the Sea may be made in her honor at the following website: www.hpbcf.org/hbts_foundation.