Evelyn "Grace" McDonnell, 89, of Dover, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010.


A mass of Christian burial will be held for Evelyn “Grace” McDonnell, 89, of Dover, at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, at Holy Cross Catholic Church, South State Street, Dover. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.

Mrs. McDonnell died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010, at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital.

Born in Kinston, N.C., she was the daughter of the late Herbert Lundy Garris and Ellie Mumford Garris.

Raised in Raleigh, N.C., Mrs. McDonnell graduated from Hugh Morson High School and the Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, N.C. She had enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and served as a 2nd lieutenant.

Her duties included service with the Duke University Hospital Unit — 65th Gen. Hospital from 1942 to 1942. While in service she had been stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C., from 1942 to 1943, and had served in England with the 8th Air Force from 1943 to 1945. By the time of her discharge she had earned the rank of 1st lieutenant.

Upon her discharge, Mrs. McDonnell moved to the Philadelphia suburbs and had pursued her vocation in nursing. She had served at Presbyterian Hospital, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr College Infirmary, Haverford State Hospital and as a Philadelphia school nurse.

She was well known for her vivacious personality and her gracious manner. She was a historian and enjoyed sharing her knowledge with everyone. She also was an expert sewer and was well known for her beautiful, smocked children’s outfits.

Mrs. McDonnell also was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She was one of those people who really made a difference and one who will be missed by those who knew and loved her.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John J. McDonnell in 1993; and a son, John J. McDonnell in 2004.

Mrs. McDonnell is survived by two sons, James C. McDonnell of Bethesda, Md., and Daniel O. McDonnell of Wallingford, Conn.; two daughters, Maureen A. Farley of Hummelstown, Pa., and Margaret E. Bray of Milford; a brother, Dr. Herbert L. Garris of Pine Hurst, N.C.; and 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family suggests donations in her memory be made to Church of the Holy Cross, 631 S. State St., Dover, DE 19901.

Letters of condolence may be sent and guestbook signed via www.ambruso.com.