Dawna J. Cole, 82, of Binghamton, New York, died on June 17, 2020, at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital after a non-covid illness that followed a major stroke two years ago.
She was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Dr. William and Sarah Maine.
She had a varied career both professionally and as a volunteer for philanthropic organizations in Los Angeles, New York City, Norwich and finally Binghamton. Following her father into medicine, she gained a pre-med degree from Indiana University in Bloomington and then a degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. That led to more than three years' work in both medical and surgical fields.
Later she became a flight attendant for United Airlines which required registered nurses for its flights to Hawaii. In later years she worked in home health care for the elderly.
Dawna was married three times. During her marriages she turned to volunteer work in public relations and fund-raising. In California she became president of the Brandeis University National Women's Committee in Los Angeles, secretary for the Legal Study Society, secretary of the Young Musicians Women's Foundation and chair of the Symphonies for Youth. In New York City she became president of the Greater New York chapter of the ARCS Foundation (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists). After moving to Norwich she became out-of-hospital fund-raising chairwoman for the Auxiliary to Chenango Memorial Hospital and headed a three-day, fund-raising "Festival of Trees" for the auxiliary. She was also vice president of the Chenango County Council of the Arts where she focused on special events and fund-raising. In Binghamton she was a board member of the Binghamton Philharmonic and president of the Friends of Philharmonic for many years. She was vice president of the Binghamton Theatre Organ Society and a board member of the Southern Tier Orchid Society.
Dawna had style, grace and skill as a hostess. She loved the dogs in her life and thoroughbred horses at the racetrack -- she liked nothing better than a day at the races in Saratoga. She put on a brave front when, in the dozen years after her third husband died, life on her own became more of a struggle. Fortunately she found a new and devoted companion in her final years.
She is survived by her sister, Charlotte Pirko (Don), of Charlotte, North Carolina, her niece and nephews, and her companion, Ken Hooper of Binghamton.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, William and Darryl Maine, and her husbands, Irving Cole, Harold McKenzie and Nerio Basso.
We thank the staff of the Susquehanna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City for the care they gave Dawna after her stroke and are grateful for the treatment she received at UHS Wilson Hospital in Johnson City and the Post Acute Medical unit at the Wilkes-Barre hospital.
There will be a private graveside service held on June 29, 2020 at Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio
Arrangements have been entrusted to the professional care of the Thompson Filicky Funeral Home, 4221 Market St., Boardman.
Family and friends may visit www.thompsonfh1932.com to view this obituary, sign the guest book or send condolences to Dawna’s family.
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