Announcements, Obituary

Donna Rayson (November 11, 1931 – February 25, 2023)

Donna Thornton Rayson, wife of the late Dr. Jack H. Rayson who was the Dean of the LSU School of Dentistry from 1976-1993 passed away on February 25, 2023.

Born in Detroit, Michigan on November 11, 1931, to Joseph Scott and Alice Loraine Thornton, Donna was a descendent of the Wigle and Scratch pioneering families. She was reared in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada where she graduated from the Kingsville High School. She then attended the University of Toronto where she graduated with a degree in physical therapy.

Donna traveled extensively through her life and visited many places including most of the United States, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Egypt, Tunisia, China, Hong Kong, Europe, Ireland, and England, where she was presented to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, in the Gold & White Ballroom of Buckingham Palace.

In addition to her travels, Donna lived in Roswell, New Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Austin, Texas, and Denton, Texas.

Donna enjoyed a variety of music and was an avid supporter of the arts. Her music tastes included country (Willie Nelson), Jazz (Louis Armstrong) as well as Opera. She faithfully supported the National Cathedral and the New York Metropolitan Opera. Donna traveled to New York several times to experience live Opera performances and, later in life, continued to enjoy operas via Met at the Movies.

Donna was a member of the Episcopal Church throughout her adult life where she served as a Lay Eucharistic Reader, Lay Minister, Board Member for Women of the Church, and, a member of the Altar Guild, Spirituality Group, and Daughters of the King.

She was socially active and belonged to many groups including Kappa Kappa Gamma, United Empire Loyalists, Daughters of the King, a bridge club, a book club, two investment clubs, the LSU Faculty Wives Club, and the Krewes of Iris and Mid-Life Crisis.

Predeceased by her son Scott, her sister Kathryn Managhan and brother-in-law Jim Managhan, Donna is survived by her daughter Susan Marie Wallace, son-in-law Carey Wallace, her son David Henry Rayson, daughter-in-law Carol Lynne Rayson, her grandchildren Katrina Varisco, Jack Rayson, Jennifer Rayson, and Joseph Rayson and her great-grandchildren Curtis Varisco and Dustin Varisco, her sister Mary Ware, brother-in-law Clarence Ware, many nieces and nephews and a host of dear friends.

The funeral service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at a later date. Interment will follow at the Gonzales Masonic Cemetery.

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