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Donna Lea Chambers
03/18/1930 — 01/28/2021
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Graveside Celebration of Life
Donna Lea Chambers
Donna Lea Chambers, born March 18, 1930 to Horace “Whitney” and Hazel Ames in Kennewick, WA, went to Heaven to complete the family band and rejoin her late husband James E. Chambers on January 28, 2021, at the age of 90. Donna was born into a traveling family of musicians and was the 2nd youngest of 7 brothers and sisters. The family moved 14 times during her school years to find work after the Great Depression. Her family band known as the Ames Orchestra was very musical and played at Grange halls throughout the Northwest to make ends meet on weekends. Donna was a skilled musician and could play just about any instrument by ear. As teenagers, Donna and her sister Leha were featured on Ted Mac’s Amateur Hour and also joined a country western band called the Oregon Wranglers where they performed at dances throughout the Northwest. The family finally settled in Prosser WA where Whitney opened a 2nd hand store and continued their musical endeavors on weekends. It was at one of those dances where Donna met her husband Jim. They were soon married and moved to Richland where Jim started his career at the Hanford site. Their first home was in the Hanford trailer park and eventually they purchased a 3-bedroom prefab where Donna lived for 60 years. She is survived by her four children, Sharon (Roy) Scioli of Sun City West, AZ; Alan (Chris) Chambers of Willis, TX; Audrey (Jim) Hayes of Olympia, WA; and Roger (Lisa) Chambers of Pasco, WA. She was blessed with 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. During her married life, weekends were filled with camping, hunting, fishing, rock hounding or family gatherings that also included old time music with the family. Donna also enjoyed making all sorts of crafts and loved to decorate her house for every occasion or holiday. Grandkids loved to go to her house to make crafts, play games or learn music. Donna never learned to drive a car until age 56 following Jim’s passing in 1986. Learning to drive was scary for her and the instructor and she only ran into one bus, but she was then able to drive herself shopping or to the grandkids’ sports and activities. Donna loved to entertain and could always be talked into playing her mandolin, guitar, piano or beloved zither. She loved her garden and had too many flowers, fake and real, that kept her busy in the yard. She was a very social person and loved to visit, she befriended most of her neighbors and loved to have cocktails with them (watch out for the Gramma Special). In her later years she looked forward to watching the “Old Time Fiddlers” play every month at Prestige Assisted Living where she lived the past three years. The family would like to thank all the staff at Prestige and Hospice for the wonderful care they provided mom.
Public graveside services will be held Friday, February 5th at 12:30 pm at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Richland. If you wish to honor Donna’s memory, please support an event of the Old Time Fiddlers, or donate to the WOTFA, 3024 W 7th, Kennewick, WA 99336.
Roger, I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I remember very well how well your mother could play guitar, because after one of our all star games both your mom and dad came to the house for some soda, and your mom picked up my guitar and started playing tunes. Both your parents are awesome. Great memories of them both. Take care Rog