Donna Potter Garcia, longtime President of the Center Park Resident Council, coordinator of scheduling for the Center Park Bus, founder of the STAR of Seattle Computer Center, passed away unexpectedly overnight October 18-19.
Donna grew up outside of Helena MT on a ranch with her parents, two brothers, and a sister. At age 3 Donna survived a bout of polio but bore the effects of the disease and many medical challenges her whole life. After graduating from high school in Townsend MT, Donna moved to Seattle and worked for 3 years at Seattle University. She decided to get an education and attained a BA in Psychology from the University of WA.
A cousin remembers many moments in MT as well as how much Donna liked rock and roll in the 1970's.
Over and over Donna was not content with just anything. Instead she poured her passion and energy into all kinds of efforts to make life better in her community.
For example, when the Seattle Housing Authority was upgrading computers and offered the Center Park Residents Council some of their old surplus computers, Donna and a number of other residents said "Thanks, but no thanks." Over 30% of people in public housing have some kind of disability. The residents of Center Park pointed out the need of people with disabilities for accessibility software, particular forms of common hardware such as trackball mouse or one-handed keyboard. The computers the Housing Authority offered the residents were not able to run the tools residents needed. Residents politely declining something unworkable motivated staff and residents to write the first grants funding the STAR Center. The STAR Center has now served Center Park residents, people with disabilities, and other members of the community for over 13 years
Similarly, when Center Park was built in the 1960's, long before the ADA, even before Seattle led the nation in deploying wheelchair lifts on all its buses, Center Park has had its own bus. The bus transports groups of residents on shopping trips, trips to some public events, and also trips to meed individual needs. The bus long predates Donna's time at Center Park but Donna has been indefatigable in attention to detail and care of people's trip scheduling needs, as well as speaking out clearly more than once when the bus has been threatened by budget cuts.
Donna will be sorely missed and leave very big shoes to fill.
The Center Park Residents Council and the STAR of Seattle are working with her family to plan a memorial / celebration of Donna's life. The memorial has been set for Monday November 19, 2012 from 3-5 pm in the Center Park Community Room.
We invite everyone whose lives Donna touched to post photos and remembrances here.
Donna passed away seven months to the day after her beloved husband of nearly 3 decades Joe also passed away. We hope people who knew Joe and knew of Joe and Donna's life together will also post.