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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Donna Downes Zaus


July 1, 1947 – April 12, 2012

It is with great sorrow I announce the passing of my wife and best friend Donna Downes from small-cell neuro-endocrine cancer, an extremely rare and potent disease. She outlived dire predictions by almost a full year.

Donna was an artist, art director/creative director, writer, designer and a vast creative source of ideas. She championed cobblestone streets and historic preservation. She was a full and involved witness to the World Trade Center attack – among the very few who viewed both plane attacks from her kindergarten daughter's school. She was a community activist and longtime resident of TriBeCa, as well as the official class parent during most of her daughter's education.

She was an expert downhill skier, a season passholder at Mad River Glen for many years, with a home and properties in Warren (North Lynx) and Fayston, Vermont, a seven-time NYC marathoner finishing in the top 15 percent of her age group each time she ran. She was an honors graduate of George Washington University who spoke flawless French and fluent Spanish. She had four books in progress and near finish: a trilogy of current popular culture adventures and a true-crime fiction novel.

Other accomplishments included being an expert sailor and helmsperson for over 40 years. A member of the Glen Cove Yacht Club, she sailed with her family in 2007/2008 from NYC in the dead of winter to the Bahamas and the base of the Exuma island chain and back to NY.

Her family roots were in Maryland and Virginia, being the oldest of seven children. She continued a loving relationship with sisters and brothers throughout her life

She leaves behind her brothers Kenneth and David, and sisters Denise, Susie and Doris, her husband David Zaus, a high-school-age daughter Margaux, a stepson Zachary Zaus of Brooklyn, and a stepdaughter Kimberly Kinkaid of Houston, Texas, as well as her mother, Doris Downes of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Please feel free to make contributions to the American Cancer Society in her honor.


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