Donna Carol Shawver

September 10, 1954 - February 26, 2020
Donna Carol Shawver

Donna Carol Steele Shawver of Carolina Beach, N.C. and wife of John Arthur Shawver, passed on to a better place at 6 am, Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Donna was born to the late George C. Steele and Carolyn Davis Steele, on September 10, 1954 at the original Roanoke Chowan hospital in Ahoskie, N.C.

She grew up in Winton, N.C., where she worshiped at Winton Baptist Church. She attended Winton Elementary School, then Ahoskie High School for grades nine and ten and then eleventh and twelfth grades at Murfreesboro High School. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. She later received her MBA in Counseling Education at East Carolina University. She was head counselor and head of the Department of Special Services at Virginia Intermont College. After that she moved to Nags Head, N.C. and was the assistant director of The Nature Conservancy’s Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve. From there she moved to Wilmington, N.C., where she was the director of the Episcopal Church’s Good Shepard Center Homeless Shelter. She then became the director of the Food Bank of Wilmington, where she worked until developing breast cancer.

Donna was a very giving and caring person. Even at the homeless shelter, she used to joke that she developed a pose’ of individuals who protected her. She genuinely cared about all people and things, and did all she could to serve the good and to combat the evil in this world. She was passionate about all that is good. She embraced peace and exuded peacefulness. She had a love for plants and grew the most beautiful indoor and outdoor plants. She had a green thumb that was unsurpassed. Donna loved music and had a knack for acquiring great seats to some of the best concerts ever. Avid UNC Tarheel fans, she and John attended many UNC Tarheel basketball games. She loved the beaches of North Carolina, and spent many hours strolling along the coast looking for treasures, especially beach glass. She has one of the most beautiful beach glass collections imaginable, which may explain why there is a shortage!

Donna was passionately involved in sea turtle rescue, and conservation. It was while sleeping on the beach one night watching a sea turtle nest, waiting for the eggs to hatch, that she came up with the name N.E.S.T., the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles. Which is the name for the volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of sea turtle life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Left to cherish her memory, are her husband John Arthur Shawver of the home; step- daughter; Chrissy Beckwith and special grandchildren, Baylee and Hannah Beckwith of Wilmington; her brother Clint and wife Donna of Winterville, NC; her brother Jim and wife Donna of Ahoskie, NC; and nieces Carmen Byrum (Al) and daughter Ali; Shea Brock (Josh) and sons Colin and Carter all of Ahoskie; Mariah Steele of Raleigh; Melisa Poindexter (Stephen) of Roxboro; and their children Owen and Olivia. Nephew Clint Steele and wife Molly of Garner, NC.

A special family gathering and celebration of life will be held to honor her memory.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (www.NESTonline.org) (252-441-8622). Or The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Recue and Rehabilitation Center (www.seaturtlehospital.org) (910-329-0222).

Share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910-791-9099


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  • February 27, 2020
    Lou Smith says:
    So sorry for your loss Brother John. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May God be at your side in the coming days and may your heart be full of love and your thoughts be full of happy times and memories with your wife.

  • November 13, 2020
    Sue Ragan McCray lit a candle:
    Lit since November 13, 2020 at 11:50:42 PM

  • March 04, 2020
    Harry Vann says:
    John I never met you, but Donna was one of the nicest and sweetest persons I've ever known. I never once ever saw her get mad at anyone and say anything bad about anyone, a rarity in our times. I knew Donna from family visits with her Aunt Alice and my cousins. I knew Clint from his football days and coached Jim. I had the many fun occasions with Donna and friends in college years and in the 70's and early 80's. Her laughter was infectious My condolences to you, Clint, and Jim and all your family members and the cousins.

  • March 03, 2020
    Sally & Mike Sanino says:
    Dear John ~ We're so sorry for your loss. We can relate to what you have been through following Donna's breast cancer diagnosis. Know that you are in our thoughts & prayers The Sanino Family (Molly Steele's Family)

  • March 02, 2020
    Brenda Barrett says:
    Donna was my youngest 'girl cuz' in our Davis clan by 9 years. I actually remember my first meeting her as a new baby! She was darling then and stayed that way! I loved seeing her during every summer vacation--so quiet and so peaceful even then. (Others who knew her only as an adult mentioned the many good projects she claimed as her own--her many works of love and peace and to making the world better for each of us,) I can say--'she was born that way!' RIP my very beautiful (inside and outside) dear cousin. You MADE a difference!