Harriett Donofrio, 63, of Frederica, died Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.


    Harriett Donofrio, 63, of Frederica, died Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, following an 18-year battle with breast cancer.

    Born Nov. 16, 1945, in Salisbury, Md., she was the daughter of the late Vernon and Cecilia Beach.

    Mrs. Donofrio graduated from the University of Delaware with bachelors degree in biology and a masters degree in the natural sciences. Lifelong learning was her passion as she pursued an interest in the study of the natural world, particularly wildflowers, sand, fossils and minerals.

    She began her career working for Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as a water quality technician before becoming a science teacher. She initially taught for 10 years in the Smyrna School District, followed by another 10 years in the Cape Henelopen School District. Throughout her teaching career she received many awards, including 1983 Delaware Teacher of the Year, 1983 Top Four Finalist for National Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Marine Educator, and numerous honors from the University of Delaware and the Delaware Nature Society.

    Professional organizations were also an important part of her life. She was elected to the board of NSTA, and served as president of Phi Delta Kappa, the Delaware Academy of Science and the Delaware Teachers of Science. She worked as a judge and coach for the Delaware Science Olympiad and sponsored students for the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Following her 20-year teaching career, she spent 16 years as the devoted director of the Delaware Teacher Center. In addition to her position at the Delaware Teacher Center, she served as an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware. 

    After retirement Mrs. Donofrio enjoyed traveling to places such as Spain, the Czech Republic, Africa, Australia, Baja California and New Zealand. When she was not traveling she loved to read, play the piano and laugh.

    In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 31 years, Alfred D. Donofrio Jr., on July 4, 1998.

    Mrs. Donofrio is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer Donofrio and Aaron Shaw of Seattle, Wash.; a son and daughter-in-law, David and Joelle Donofrio of Benicia, Calif.; a sister, Rebecca Boone of Homer, Alaska; her stepfather, William Wright and stepsister, Myrna Enlow, both of Mardela Springs, Md.; her mother- and father-in-law, Florence and Alfred D. Donofrio Sr. of Wilmington; a sister-in-law, Lori Donofrio of Wilmington; a brother- and sister-in-law, David and Barbara Donofrio of Scott’s Valley, Calif.; her companion, caregiver and traveling companion, Gene Carlisle; and many nieces and nephews.

    Interment was in Mardela Springs, Md.

    Memorial donations in Mrs. Donofrio’s name may be made to the Delaware Academy of Science, 1355 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702; the Delaware Nature Society, P.O. Box 700, Hockessin DE 19707; or to Double Mils Inc., P.O. Box 120, Mardela Springs, MD 21837.