Donna Mae (Calderella) Roraback, born on July 31st, 1945, in Pittsfield MA, passed away peacefully on November 12th, 2023, with family by her side. Donna’s life story is of strength, determination, and perseverance.
Donna is the daughter of the late Michael Calderella and Dorothy Mae Chevrette Calderella. She is pre-deceased by her beloved spouse Robert “Bob” Alton Roraback, Married July 2, 1982, in Dalton MA. She has two children, Laurel Mae Mons (Mark Douglas) and Jack Aaron Hassan (Maureen Ann). Four stepchildren, Robert Michael Roraback, Wendy Rose Sykes, James Stanton Roraback, and Robin Mary Khoury. One grandchild, Connor Aaron Hassan, and his partner Rachel Arseneau. Many step-grandchildren including Nancy-Jo Starling and Andrew Starling, and numerous great-grandchildren. Her siblings include Michael Arthur Calderella (Nuan), Peter Joseph Calderella, and Karen Marie Sanderson (Paul). She has a niece and five nephews. Also, her dear friend of over 50 years, Linda Marie Slonski.
Donna attended Pittsfield high school when she met and married Jack B Hassan in 1964 and had two children. She became a single mother, working as a waitress until she was employed by General Electric. There she broke down barriers working jobs where no woman had worked before. She remained at General Electric for twenty years.
Donna’s focus turned to continuing her education after GE shutdown. She received an Associate’s degree with honors from Berkshire Community College. She was accepted into Smith College and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During her time at Smith, she lost her husband Bob unexpectedly. She continued with her education and received her Master of Science, at Clemson University, College of Engineering.
Donna embarked on her career as a hydrogeologist with CH2M Hill company. She relocated to Jacksonville FL and then later to Phoenix AZ until she retired at age 70 in 2015. She moved to Tucson, AZ in 2016 to lived near her daughter and son-in-law. She loved Tucson and the many close and dear friends she made there.
Donna was an avid lover of gardening, travel, reading, watching movies and so much more. While she lived in Dalton MA, she had very elaborate vegetable gardens. Her beautiful gardens, bordered with marigolds, were something to be admired. Her travel days began while at Smith College where she enrolled in classes that took her from the Sonoran Desert to the Amazon. Her work with CH2M Hill took her on assignments all over the United States. She sought out international travel and has been to countries in South America, the Caribbean, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and many other places. She always had new destination in mind. In between her worldly travels she always found time to return home to Pittsfield to visit her family every year.
Her spirit will live on in the countless lives she touched, and she will be forever remembered for her unwavering strength, resilience, and generosity.
A celebration of life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Sarcoma Foundation of America at https://www.curesarcoma.org/