September 20, 1926 – March 3, 2019
Dolores ‘Del’ Donlevy, 92, a longtime resident of Kingwood, Texas, passed away Sunday, March 3rd, at Kingwood Medical Center. Del excelled in her multiple roles as loving wife, mother, grandmother, Nona, sister, aunt, and friend. She loved unconditionally, admiring the strengths and tolerating the weaknesses of all those she held dear. A good listener, she shared her wisdom in the form of sound advice. Her sense of humor, her warm and caring nature, and her eggplant parmigiana turned strangers into life-long friends. She modeled a life well-lived and how to age with grace and dignity.
Born in Harriman, NY, in 1926, she was raised with two brothers, Joe and Ralph, and her sister, Anne, in Paterson, NJ, by her mother, Ida, and stepfather, Donato Panaro. She grew up during the Great Depression and when the world was at war, adopting the values of the Greatest Generation. She married her husband and partner George Francis Donlevy in 1948. They raised their three sons and their daughter near extended family in Clifton, NJ, until relocating to Houston in 1970. While New Jersey would always be the home where they were rooted, they appreciated much of what the great state of Texas had to offer, welcoming and building the new ties they created there. George’s death in 1992 provided new pains as well as new gains. With children grown, Del continued to provide her family and friends with her love and support as she segued into her role as widow for the next 27 years.
An organizer and a doer, Del volunteered with the local Smiles Against Cancer group as George battled the disease, always mindful of those whose difficulties seemed much worse than those of her and her family. Del was “house proud;” she appreciated beautiful objects, surrounding herself with things that gave her pleasure and contributed to making her house a pleasant space to spend her days. She enjoyed traveling, making multiple trips across the Big Pond with both family and friends, including one of her favorites, a trip on the fabled Orient Express. Whether reveling in the beauty of America’s national parks - her trips to Yellowstone and Alaska were especially memorable - or proudly wearing her ridiculously silly Golden Oldie birthday celebration hat on the streets of New York City, Del understood the importance of embracing all the good life had to offer in order to navigate those difficult times that do not kill us, but make us stronger. By grace and through love, she modeled the kind of balance in her daily life that others recognize as success that has no monetary value, but is priceless in its worth. But most of all, Del modeled love and the many forms it takes. She loved her husband, she loved her family, she loved her friends. Sometimes the love was warm and embracing, sometimes it was tough, intended to remind that while many actions are not loveable, all people are. Always.
Del is survived by her children Michael and his wife Tammy, Dan and his wife Cindy, Susan and her husband John Kluthe, and Thomas; grandchildren Lisa, Ryan, Christopher, Erica, Andrea, and George; great-grandchildren Austin, Derek, Trevor, Joshua, Sophia, and Calin; her sister, Anne, numerous nieces and nephews, and many, many, dear and wonderful friends. Del will be buried next to her husband in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, in Totowa, NJ, just a few miles from where she was born. Smile with love when you think of her - that would please and honor her.
- Celebration of Life Visitation Thursday, March 7, 2019
- Graveside Service & Interment
March 6, 2019
To the Donlevy family,
I first met Del when I was 15 and first visited your Clifton home in 1967. Since that time I always felt her warmth, kindness, and positive outlook whenever I had the opportunity to see her in Houston or talked to her on the phone when visiting Dan, and always within my memories of her. She and George raised my best friend Dan who came into my life at that early age and was always there for me since. I am forever grateful that I was able to know the Donlevy family, and that Del's lifelong example and compassionate spirit will live on in my memories of her. To Dan, Mike, Susan and Tom, I remember all of you fondly and my thoughts and prayers are especially for you in this time,
Arlington, Virginia (and once upon a time, Clifton NJ)
Julie Kidd Pierce
March 6, 2019
My fav memory was her cheesecake with thick graham cracker crust. She ruined me for any others. When I am around a cheesecake I tell them about Del's. I rarely eat cheesecake because I know it will not match up to Del Donlevys' . I have told her many times but did not think to ask for her recipe.
Love you Del,