Donna Jagela

Deceased: October 16, 2018

Service Information:

Memorial Visitation: Saturday, November 10, 2018 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Memorial Service: Saturday, November 10, 2018 11:00 am at Lakeview Funeral Home, 1458 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657
Inurnment 2:00 pm at St. Casimir Catholic Cemetery 4401 W 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655


Donna Veronika Jagela 1953.03.13 – 2018.10.16
Where is she, whose face cannot be seen in the midst of those who love and celebrate her? Where is she, whose absence haunts this solemn gathering? In the laughter and the tears that occasion the lives she has touched, you’ll find her there. In the measure of our breath and the rhythms of our hearts, look for her there. She is in the stories we tell and in the flickering light of the many films we have shared. With the passage of time, as our lives change and our cells remake our beings into other forms, she abides within that still constant center where she has taken residence since the moment we met her. Where we are gathered together and as we walk alone, she is there and death is but a phantasm. There is no death, there is only change.

Donna worked as a copy supervisor for Sears Roebuck and subsequently for ABD Group as copy supervisor for the Home Electronics and Home Fashion Divisions of the Sears account. She also wrote copy for Men’s and Women’s Fashions for and She was a graduate of U of I at Chicago, having earned her BA in English Literature in 1975.

A recognizable face in the Chicago art, film, music and theatre scene, Donna volunteered her time with the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF). There, she was a part of a team that transformed the Festival from an underground local event into a nationally regarded alternative film festival which, during her tenure, hosted directors such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and John Waters. Donna also acted in two films by director Shawn Durr which were both showcased at CUFF. Donna was one of the copy editors for The Stamp Art & Postal History of Michael Thompson & Michael Hernandez de Luna, a book featuring the original prankster art created by Chicago outsider artists Thompson and Hernandez.

Donna loved reading crime novels, historical fiction, and biographies of the film makers and musicians she admired. Although she owned a Kindle, she preferred to thumb through an actual book. She, accurately, referred to her spare bedroom as the “used book store.” A writer by trade and by passion, she was a walking dictionary and was fascinated by the origin and etymology of various words.

Donna was loved by all within her circle of friends and family. She was the type of friend who listened, observed, and ascertained your temperament and tastes. She would notice that you liked strawberry ice cream (although she might not) and the next time you visited there would be a gallon of strawberry ice cream in her freezer with your name on it. Empathetic and sweet, she would readily help out the less fortunate among us, whether they were fellow humans or neglected animals.

Donna is survived by her brother, John Jagela; her sister, Jurate Barnes; her life partner, John Stebbins; her two nephews, John V. Jagela and Robert Jagela; sister-in-law, Mary DiFonzo and brother-in-law, Stephen Barnes.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:
The Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago
157 West Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654