Donna  Goff

Obituary of Donna Lee Goff

Donna Lee (nee Phillips) Goff, 93, of Wesleyan Village, Elyria passed peacefully into Heaven on November 17, 2020 surrounded by her family. Although only four-foot eleven (“and ¾ inches!”) Donna’s personality and laughter always completely filled the room. She carried with her a magical joy that defied the early childhood experiences she endured during the Depression era. Her humble beginnings were never forgotten, and she often reminded others that she “had known the worst and known the best, and I preferred the best.”


Born in 1927 to Lester and Clara (Abicht) Phillips in Marietta, Ohio, Donna lived in Zanesville, Ohio, before moving to Vermilion in 1968. In 2012, Donna moved to Wesleyan Village in Elyria, Ohio. She was adored by her family, sons Kerry (Ann) Gannon of Lakeland, FL, Jeffrey (Linda) Gannon of Chandlersville, Gregory (Candy) of Vermilion, daughters Pamela (Brett) Dickey of Vermilion and Julia (Stuart) Blodgett of Newark, NY and niece Sondra (Larry) Kirk of Chandlersville, Ohio. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard, the love of her life, in 1989 and she missed him every day since then. In addition to Richard, she was welcomed into Heaven by her six siblings, Ross, Laura, Betty, Ruby, Charles and Aloha and in-laws Wilda (Charles) Phillips, Kate (Ross) Phillips, Nancy (Charles) Lewis, Carole (Robert) Wilson and Juanita (Paul) Jones. She will be lovingly remembered by nieces, nephews and friends whose lives she influenced.


Donna began her working career as a roller-skating carhop. She then worked at Zanesville Times Recorder as a proof-reader. After meeting and marrying her lifelong love, Richard Goff, Donna obtained a managing cosmetology license and opened a beauty salon in Zanesville. After moving to Vermilion, Donna worked alongside Richard at George T. Saxtan Associates Inc. in Sandusky, one of the first computer businesses in Ohio, where she supervised the billing and data entry departments. Following Richard’s death, she became a certified Grief Recovery counselor. Not one to be retired, she opened Harbourview Hair and Tanning in Vermilion at the age of 65. She quickly built a loyal clientele that supported her business for 10 years. In 1994, Donna joined the Vermilion Business and Professional Women, served as Vice President and in 1999, was named “Woman of the Year.” In 2000, she became a professional storyteller through Lorain County Community College, sharing her rich life and hilarious adventures with countless crowds at Mill Hollow, Sell’s Christmas Tree and Reindeer Farm and at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. After moving to Wesleyan Village in 2012, she became known for her endless supply of songs, recitations, funny sayings, love of laughing, Hershey’s kisses and coffee.


Her greatest joy was her family, including 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great- grandchildren. Donna loved people and she had a kind word for everyone. Special thanks to the amazing nurses and wonderful aides and staff who became a second family at Wesleyan Village Beacon House.

 In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Wesleyan Village Foundation (Beacon House), 807 West Avenue, Elyria, Ohio 44035 in memory of Donna L. Goff.


A celebration of her life will be held on a later date at Birmingham United Methodist Church and Leota Bettcher Hall, Birmingham, Ohio. 


Online condolences may be made at

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