Darla DiDonato

Obituary of Darla Elaine DiDonato

Please share a memory of Darla to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Darla Elaine (Bailey) DiDonato passed away on Sunday, January 1, 2023, after a long battle with lung cancer that progressed to her bones and Paget’s Disease. Her life’s health history was lengthy from a young age, but she was blessed with longevity, which she believed was to serve God through service to others. Born in Sharon, PA. December 4th, 1941, she was the daughter of Thomas B. and Leona G. Bailey and was an Ashtabula resident since 1943. Darla married Richard J. DiDonato on November 30th, 1963, at The Mother of Sorrows Church in Ashtabula, officiated by Father Thomas Kelly. She was a 1959 graduate of Ashtabula High School and earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kent State University in 1963. Her teaching career spanned forty-eight years, and beyond as she served as a substitute in the Ashtabula area, Buckeye Local, St. John, and Jefferson Elementary School systems from 2008. As a first-grade teacher in Jefferson and at Saybrook Elementary, she pursued her love for helping young children learn the basics of educational and social skills. While she and her husband raised two daughters, she organized a State-licensed preschool and daycare program entitled the Play and Learn – Early Learning Center and the Magic Years Preschool. A history of thirty-eight years’ operating those facilities, along with her contracted teaching gave educational training to 6,273 children, ranging in age from birth to twelve years. With an interest in safety and crime prevention from women and children, she took on many roles of volunteer service offering community through presentations to children and adults. She was a member, and Eastlake District President, of the Ohio Child Conservation League and City Counsel for many years; an officer for the Mom and Dad’s Club of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School; the Ashtabula County Director of The Helping Hands Program (a safety from strangers block parent project through the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department) for ten years; served as a member and counselor of the Early Rape Crisis Center locally; was a member of Zonta International; and a lifetime member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority and named its Women of the Year in 1986. Darla served on her AHS class reunion committees each five years and served as Chairman and Toastmistress. In 2018, Darla was inducted into the AHS/HHS/LHS Hall of Fame, honored for her community service. Darla enjoyed many hobbies, such as feeding backyard birds, playing card and lottery games, attending concerts and productions at the local Arts Center, she had an admiration for those with musical talents, and (with an instillation from her mother’s talents) she enjoyed many types of crafts and writing poems about people and things she loved, and she enjoyed traveling. With a love for creating and encouraging others, Darla participated in local craft fairs and became an independent demonstrator with Stampin’ Up! In 1998 teaching classes making greeting cards, scrapbooking, and handmade gifts. She served as an ART judge for a few years at the Ashtabula County Fair. She enjoyed helping others develop creativity and pride in their work. Darla served as a caregiver for her parents and husband in their failing years and visited many shut-in friends. As a member of The Gageville United Methodist Church, she loved the responsibilities of serving as an usher, greeter, membership chairmen, prayer chain head, and conducting a card ministry Survivors include two daughters, Richelle “Shelley” DiDonato of Ashtabula and Melissa (Christopher) Bien of La Quinta, CA; two granddaughters, Maggie Alaina and Sophie Grace Bien; one brother, Gerald (Debbie) Bailey of Jefferson; brothers-in-law Ronald (Barbara) DiDonato of Ashtabula and Raymond (Chris) DiDonato of TN; many nieces and nephews; and her dear friend who was like a daughter, Heather (Ken) Johnson and family of WA. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard J. DiDonato on August 5, 2013; her brother, Thomas L. Bailey on February 7, 2013; nephews Todd Bailey and Chad Keenan Bailey, as well as brother-in-law Robert (and his wife JoAnn) DiDonato. Calling hours will be held from 5PM to 7PM on Friday, January 6, 20203 at the Ducro Funeral Home, 4524 Elm Avenue, Ashtabula. A service will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, January 7, 2023, at the Gageville United Methodist Church, 4063 OH-193 Kingsville, OH 44048. The Rev. Jeffrey Stoll, Pastor will officiate. Those unable to come in person may watch the service through Ducro Services YouTube Page https://youtu.be/GsR1rcDjkRA . Entombment will be in St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude's Children’s Research Hospital, the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League (APL), or the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ducro Funeral Services and Crematory is assisting the family with final arrangements. www.ducro.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Darla DiDonato , please visit Tribute Store


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, January 6, 2023
Ducro Funeral Services
4524 Elm Avenue
Ashtabula, Ohio, United States

Memorial Service

10:30 am - 11:30 am
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Gageville United Methodist Church
4063 OH-193
Kingsville, Ohio, United States


12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Saturday, January 7, 2023
St. Joseph Cemetery
Carpenter Rd.
Ashtabula, Ohio, United States

Live Stream

Those unable to come in person may watch the service through Ducro Services YouTube Page by copying and pasting the link below. https://youtu.be/GsR1rcDjkRA
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Darla DiDonato

In Loving Memory

Darla DiDonato

1941 - 2023

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
Share Your Memory of