Donna M. Nowakowski

  • Born: September 9, 1953
  • Died: April 27, 2021
  • Location: Darien, Illinois

West Suburban Funeral Home & Cremation Services

39 N. Cass Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559

Tel. (630) 852-8000

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving Wife and Mother

Donna Nowakowski aka Donche proudly hailed from the Back of the Yards on the South Side of Chicago. One of eight children, daughter of Roman and Josephine, she was raised humbly and learned the value of hard work from a young age. Before devoting her professional life to healthcare, she helped at her parents' bakery, delivered newspapers, and was the quickest cashier Jewel had ever seen

Donche was fiercely independent and never doubted her instincts. She earned a Bachelor of Science from De Paul University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University at a time when many women were staying home. She was proud of her career, devoted her life to serving others, and was respected by all who worked for her over the years.

Nothing made her more proud, however, than her two children, Nicholas and Lindsey. Even into adulthood, we were always her babies and there was nothing she wouldn't do to bring us even the tiniest amount of joy. She saved every note, card, and piece of artwork we ever made and held us tightly in her heart. She couldn't talk about us without beaming uncontrollably and loved us without end. She never stopped trying to solve our problems or make our lives better.

Donche taught us to find small joys and make the mundane special. She was silly and loved to invent her own words and Donche-isms. She was quick to develop new hobbies, like wine collecting, swimming, making her own facial products, and creating dinner concoctions from whatever she had on hand. She enjoyed spending time with her sisters—Joni, Romi, Terri, and Carol, and her cousin Kim—all of whom she loved unconditionally. Most nights, she loved to make dinner and settle into a cozy mystery or drama with her caring husband, Bob. She was also a proud aunt to many nieces and nephews, whom she cared for as she did her own children.

Donche was bold in personality and loving in her heart. She was spunky, strong, intelligent, and driven. Even on her worst days of physical pain, she pushed herself to spread love, learn new things, and improve the lives of those around her. She shared her love not just with close family but friends, strangers at the grocery store, her friends in Farmville, and anyone who was lucky enough to know her. She was generous beyond measure, infinitely compassionate and empathetic, and tenacious in her pursuit for helping loved ones. That still wouldn't stop her from screaming at the Bears, a slow driver, or cheap wine.
Despite her modest upbringing, she developed a love of the finer things in life. She wouldn't leave the house without a pair of designer shoes and a boutique purse. Her wine was always top notch. She shared these passions freely and was an inspiration to many. Donche was a beautiful woman, inside and out, even when she refused to see herself in the same light that others did.

We are not saying goodbye to our sweet, unique mother. We are just waiting for her in Donche time. She lives on in the traits we've inherited, the many gifts she has given us, and in the memories we all share of her. Please freely share your memories of our amazing mother on the Tribute tab. We will not host a formal service for her at this time, so please raise a glass of your finest wine (and it had better not be from a box!) to honor her special soul.

Relatives and friends may sign Donche's guest book and leave a remembrance for the family.

Arrangements entrusted to Cappetta's West Suburban Funeral Home & Cremation Services. Info 630-852-8000 or

Condolence & Memory Journal

I was very sad to hear of Donna's passing. She was an incredible nurse leader, mentor to many and friend. Donna was always willing to lend a hand and I really appreciated her common sense approach to Quality. She was very instrumental in helping Amita Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in achieving our first Magnet Designation. She will be missed. My heart and prayers go out to her Husband, Children and family.

Posted by Patricia Endara    May 17, 2021

Donna was a brilliant and highly informative colleague. I worked with her at SMEMC and truly benefitted from her extensive background and knowledge. She also did have a great sense of humor and "sass" as her obituary stated. She will be missed.

Posted by Gail Alkovich    May 17, 2021

I'm deeply saddened of your death, Donna. You were such a wonderful person with a vibrant personality. My deepest condolences to the family.

Posted by Adel Bejar - Elmwood Park, IL - Friend   May 16, 2021

My heartfelt sympathy to the Family. Donna was a dynamic colleague and friend while we worked together for many years at St. Mary & Elizabeth Presence Health. RIP with the Lord.

Posted by Patti Graham    May 16, 2021

My heart aches when I heard, and it continues to hurt so much.......Donna meant a great deal to me and to our team at the SMEMC family. It has been 7 years since we've first met and I´m beyond grateful to have gotten to know her and work closely alongside her. Before I even understood what it meant to have a mentor, you took me under your wings and brought me and (our entire team) to heights we could not have imagined. Your intelligence awed us all, and your kindness will not ever be forgotten.

In our hearts, you will always be that inspiring and fearless leader, and a true friend.

Posted by Lucy Fu    May 11, 2021 to say goodbye to an exceptional nurse leader, mentor and friend
Thank you for everything Donna...until we meet again great warrior

Posted by Maridel "monet" Maulawin - Chicago, IL - Student   May 10, 2021

My deepest Sympathy to the family. I´ve known Donna as one of the Smartest & kindest lady I´ve ever work with. She is always willing to help those that is willing to learn in order to be very good in their job. She is so knowledgeable in what she does & is also well informed regarding liquors & wines in which she has a collection. She has a good sense of humor as well. Your a good friend.
RIP Donna, Eternal Rest grant unto You O Lord & let perpetual light shine upon you. Prayers offered. Amen

Posted by Aurora Flores    May 10, 2021

Having worked with Donna at Saint Mary´s and experiencing her low key as well common sense memorable in remembering my encounters with Donna. I just wished she could enjoy her retirement longer than what she did

Posted by Henry Szewczyk    May 09, 2021

With my deepest sympathy in the loss of your wife and mother. Fondly remembering her outgoing personality,smile and infectious laugh as far back as grammar school. God has added another special angel to watch over you from above.

Posted by Linda Wiktor-Hines - Burbank, IL - Classmate   May 04, 2021

Family Album