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Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home

11801 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL

OBITUARY

Donna Mausert McGavic

December 26, 1952August 8, 2019

Donna Jean Mausert McGavic (Jeannie), 66, lost her courageous battle with breast cancer on August 8, 2019. Though her physical body is gone, her spirit lives on in all who have known her and been touched by her.

Known as Donna to most in the professional world, and Jeannie to family and long-time friends, she always had a warm smile for everyone she encountered. Her kindness and generosity were her most outstanding qualities. She made these qualities a part of her everyday interactions with each person she came in contact with and made them appear effortless. She had a way of brightening even a stranger’s day with her kindness and her smile. She never took herself too seriously and she was quick to remind people around her of the same. She was a great listener and entertaining storyteller. She was a true and loyal friend to many, including her husband and daughters.

She loved traveling, especially to the mountains, and taking in the local scenery and flavor, cuisine, and shops. She often collected mementos from her trips, including rocks, antique glass, and artwork by local artists. She was an avid reader who loved a good law novel or true crime story. She had a passion for music, everything from classic rock to jazz, and she passed this love onto her children. She could often be found sitting in her car in the driveway after a long day of work, listening and dancing to the end of song she enjoyed. She loved long, meaningful conversations with her daughters. Spending time and making memories with her grandchildren absolutely lit her up in the most joyous way.

A graduate of Terry Parker High School, class of 1970, she pursued a career as a secretary. Having worked as a legal secretary and assistant for the majority of her career, she was well known and loved by many in the legal profession. She was passionate about and found great satisfaction in her work. She touched the lives of many colleagues and clients in her many years serving in the law firms Smith Hulsey and Busey, Brennan Manna and Diamond, and most recently, Gunster.

She recently celebrated 46 years of marriage to the love of her life, Ernie. He fondly shared the memories of their sweet love story during a family dinner in celebration of the life they built together. Nearly love at first sight for Ernie, he pursued and courted her, knowing early on that he wanted to marry her. Though her practical side kept her grounded in the early stages of their relationship, she quickly fell in love with his charm and drive. They married on July 14, 1973 and had a love that endured the test of time. They exemplified strength, commitment, and compromise throughout their relationship, and instilled these values about marriage into their daughters.

Donna is survived by her husband, Ernie; her daughters, Kelly (Tom), Jennifer, and Lindsay (Daniel); her chosen daughter, Patti; her grandchildren, Kendall, Preston, Hannah, Ethan, Annie, Emily, and Harvey; her siblings, Don (Angie) and Bev (Chuck). She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Edith; and her siblings, Lynn and Doug.

A celebration of her life is planned for Monday, August 26, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception from 7:30-9:30 p.m., at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, 11801 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Attendance by family, friends, and colleagues is welcomed. Donna would want everyone to wear comfortable, casual clothing. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Jacksonville Humane Society in memory of Donna.

Services

26 August

Celebration of Life

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home

Chapel

11801 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32223

26 August

Reception

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home

11801 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32223

Memories

Donna Mausert McGavic

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Nancy and David England

August 23, 2019

Donna (Jeanie) always greeted us with a smile and a hug til the very end!! While we didn't live close most of the time, we always had fun celebrating one of our grandchildren's birthdays together over the years. Sitting at picnic tables sharing our thoughts on different subjects, watching the "children and grandchildren" acting crazy together. We will always remember her as a kind, thoughtful and a caring friend.

marsha McDaniel

August 14, 2019

There are so many memories I have of Donna. We used to refer to ourselves "as twins separated at birth" as we just loved to do the same things! She was spontaneous, fun, a shining light.

If I had to pick one memory, I would pick our trip (girls trip only with husbands blessings) to the mountains of NC. We a rented a cabin for a week, and tooled all over the countryside, where Donna stopped and took pictures of every animal she saw, every Amish decorated barn, and stopped, removed her shoes because she just had to walk on that sweet smelling grass barefoot!

Will miss you.

Love, Marsha

Deborah Ketels

August 13, 2019

I'm so sorry to hear of the death of Donna.I moved to NJ over 30 years ago so I hadn't seen her in years but have loads of memories of us growing up together. We had so much fun together. My favorite adult memory was being a bridesmaid in her wedding. My thoughts and prayers to all of her family.

Barbara Cady-Mazzacco

August 12, 2019

I have known Jeannie all of my life as our parents were best of friends. Our families had picnics together and we were all blessed to have a sibling the same age to play with. Jeannie was my age so she was my buddy. Whatever we did, we had a wonderful time with the ten of us kids. Over the years we lost touch because our parents passed away and our get togethers stopped. I did see Jeannie, Doug and Bev a few years ago when they came to Massachusetts. I’ll always remember her smile and her laugh. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Biography

Donna Jean Mausert McGavic (Jeannie), 66, lost her courageous battle with breast cancer on August 8, 2019. Though her physical body is gone, her spirit lives on in all who have known her and been touched by her.

Known as Donna to most in the professional world, and Jeannie to family and long-time friends, she always had a warm smile for everyone she encountered. Her kindness and generosity were her most outstanding qualities. She made these qualities a part of her everyday interactions with each person she came in contact with and made them appear effortless. She had a way of brightening even a stranger’s day with her kindness and her smile. She never took herself too seriously and she was quick to remind people around her of the same. She was a great listener and entertaining storyteller. She was a true and loyal friend to many, including her husband and daughters.

She loved traveling, especially to the mountains, and taking in the local scenery and flavor, cuisine, and shops. She often collected mementos from her trips, including rocks, antique glass, and artwork by local artists. She was an avid reader who loved a good law novel or true crime story. She had a passion for music, everything from classic rock to jazz, and she passed this love onto her children. She could often be found sitting in her car in the driveway after a long day of work, listening and dancing to the end of song she enjoyed. She loved long, meaningful conversations with her daughters. Spending time and making memories with her grandchildren absolutely lit her up in the most joyous way.

A graduate of Terry Parker High School, class of 1970, she pursued a career as a secretary. Having worked as a legal secretary and assistant for the majority of her career, she was well known and loved by many in the legal profession. She was passionate about and found great satisfaction in her work. She touched the lives of many colleagues and clients in her many years serving in the law firms Smith Hulsey and Busey, Brennan Manna and Diamond, and most recently, Gunster.

She recently celebrated 46 years of marriage to the love of her life, Ernie. He fondly shared the memories of their sweet love story during a family dinner in celebration of the life they built together. Nearly love at first sight for Ernie, he pursued and courted her, knowing early on that he wanted to marry her. Though her practical side kept her grounded in the early stages of their relationship, she quickly fell in love with his charm and drive. They married on July 14, 1973 and had a love that endured the test of time. They exemplified strength, commitment, and compromise throughout their relationship, and instilled these values about marriage into their daughters.

Donna is survived by her husband, Ernie; her daughters, Kelly (Tom), Jennifer, and Lindsay (Daniel); her chosen daughter, Patti; her grandchildren, Kendall, Preston, Hannah, Ethan, Annie, Emily, and Harvey; her siblings, Don (Angie) and Bev (Chuck). She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Edith; and her siblings, Lynn and Doug.

A celebration of her life is planned for Monday, August 26, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception from 7:30-9:30 p.m., at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, 11801 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Attendance by family, friends, and colleagues is welcomed. Donna would want everyone to wear comfortable, casual clothing. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Jacksonville Humane Society in memory of Donna.



Here’s to Support Staff: A Tribute to Donna McGavic
By: Mike Freed

Over the years, I have had occasion to publish tributes to certain giants of the legal community who have passed on. My purpose in doing so has been to recognize and preserve their legacy and hold it up as an example to which others should aspire.

Today, I again undertake those purposes. However, the person to whom I am paying tribute is not a well-known giant of the bar. To the contrary, unlike the people about whom we generally write tributes, her anonymity and her humility are most noteworthy. But she is not unique in that regard; instead, she exemplifies the greatest qualities of the most overlooked and undervalued members of the legal community.

Her name is Donna McGavic. And, she was my legal assistant for over 20 years until she passed away last week.

As I have done in paying tribute to other greats (e.g., Mark Hulsey, Peter Fryefield, Michael Dewberry), I offer the following lessons learned from over 20 years working with Donna.

You are not that important. Donna never let me take myself too seriously. Wins and losses, awards and accolades, came and went. She never got overly excited about any of them, and was quick to bring me down to earth when I strayed into the danger of thinking I was the sum total of my greatest accomplishments, or – for that matter – my worst losses.

Introverts are people too. I vividly remember the day on which I took my first personality profile test. I already knew I was on the extroverted side. But what I did not appreciate until then was how introverts, like Donna, think and process thoughts. Extroverts generally think out loud! Introverts need us to shut up so they can think, quietly. I could not call Donna quickly enough to apologize for the years of frustration to which I had subjected her.

Forgive quickly. Donna always was quick to forgive me and others. Slights and insensitivities are all too common in law offices. Donna was no push over – not by a long shot. She was quite comfortable bringing slights to my attention. Then, she always forgave.

There is no substitute for integrity. I have known no one with higher integrity than Donna. She was consistent – inside and out. She made mistakes as everyone does, but she owned them. If she told you something was true, then it was. What a privilege to never have to question someone’s ethics, motives or agenda, but to know that her word truly is her bond. If only there were more of that in the world.

No one is better than anyone else. Everyone with whom we interacted as a team received the same treatment. From the ABA President and the Mayor to pro bono clients or “cold-calling” financial planners or tailors, they were all treated with kindness and respect. And, she made every effort to have me return calls and honor meetings, without regard to the perceived status of the caller or meeting attendee. I know I am better for this.

Listening is an art. Donna was a great listener – not just for me, but for others in the office and for clients and others who would call, sometimes just to speak with her. She was not wasteful with her time in this regard, but earned confidence as a reliable confidant.

Have boundaries. Even kind people – in fact, especially kind people – must be sensitive to when boundaries need to be set with others and then have the confidence to impose them. It was rare, but Donna had a gift in this area. She knew when to pass on a new client and even when to let a current one go. She had a keen sense of who to trust and who we could not. This was a gift on which I came to rely.

Smile. Donna’s smile was her calling card. And it drew people to her. I will miss it greatly.

So, today I pay tribute to Donna and to the qualities of a good legal assistant, of a good friend, of a good person. We could use more Donnas in this world. And, we should appreciate the ones we have, while we are privileged to be among them.