J. Donna Asmussen

SCARBOROUGH – Donna Asmussen passed away Jan. 8, 2022. Donna was born in Woonsocket, R.I. to John and Marion Asmussen.

As a young teen, Donna volunteered as a candy striper, work that presaged a long career in Special Education. In high school she was a majorette, a dance competition winner, and valedictorian of her class. Donna studied Childhood Education and psychology at Tufts for two years, before transferring to Rhode Island College where she earned a degree in Special Education. Her transfer allowed her to help care for her special needs brother, Dean.

Donna worked in public school Special Education departments for over 20 years, culminating in five years as Director of Special Services in Belfast. From there she went on to serve the Maine State Department of Education for six years as an educational consultant on school change. Donna traveled all over Maine teaching, inspiring, and entertaining groups of teachers that could be curmudgeonly or downright resentful often during “professional development.” Donna’s charm disarmed the doubters. An injury forced her to retire in 2001.

In 2002 Donna started her art business: Art Journeys (artjourneyer.com). She painted watercolors, often of landmarks around the Belgrade Lakes, she made prints, and she painted in oil. She studied linocut and intaglio printmaking for many years at Colby College as a special (nontraditional) student.

During this time, she met another special student at Colby, Doug Woodsum, her future husband, who was studying poetry and literature.

Doug and Donna moved to Smithfield and lived in a 125-year-old farmhouse. There, Donna volunteered with the local charity, The Christmas Club, as well as the North Pond Association. Later, they opted for a more contemporary home in Oakland. They spent many happy hours boating and fishing The Belgrade Lakes and attending cultural and artistic events around central Maine.

Until her final illness, Donna was an active outdoorswoman: skating, skiing, biking, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, hiking, and gardening. She grew organic vegetables and raised livestock. She owned a funky gift shop in Hallowell. She might be best remembered for her giving spirit. Well-read and trained in the healing arts, and a Reiki practitioner, she administered to countless friends and family members, whether hands on or as an advisor of sorts. One friend, who was in the ICU, claims Donna saved her life. She contributed financially to many charities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Thanks are due to Woodlands Memory Care of Madison, The Mooring at the Downs in Scarborough, Lee Jones, and Rae Woodsum.

Donna was predeceased by her parents; and her two brothers, Dean and Don.

She is survived by her husband, Doug; her sister, Diane McDowell and husband Howard; and by four nieces, Sheryl McDowell Kelley, Kristen McDowell, Maxine Asmussen, and Tessa Zito.

Donna’s zest for life, nature, and art uplifted those around her. She left the world a better place. Thank you. Namaste, beloved Donna. We love you and miss you.

A life celebration will be announced at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of flowers,

donations may be made to:

North Pond Association

P.O. Box 44

Smithfield, ME 04978

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