Donna Hilton

Donna Hilton

CHAMPAIGN — Donna Hilton died at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, on Thursday, May 31, 2018, due to complications with her heart. She was 86.

Donna was born Nov. 2, 1931, in Taylorville, to her parents, Louis and Lura Gianasi. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in biology. She worked at the U of I for 42 years, from 1955 to 1979 in agronomy and from 1979 to 2005 in animal science. After she retired, she dedicated her remaining time to working part time for H&R Block and being a surrogate grandmother for many children in her neighborhood.

Donna was a kind and loving mother and friend, fierce in her political beliefs. She was a member of the local Business Professional Women’s group(s) and had many friends of all ages and backgrounds. People loved her for her warmth, grit and comforting words. She was passionate about science and shared her knowledge with everyone, especially children and young people who were drawn to her loving and generous spirit. Donna loved Schnauzers and had a number of beloved pets throughout her life. She loved hot black coffee and ice-cold beer. She was a fearless warrior, always in the midst of labor-intensive projects that she insisted on completing herself, even when it seemed a professional contractor might be better suited for the grimy work she ceaselessly dug into with fervor. She was an amazing woman and she will be missed greatly.

Donna is survived by her daughter, Charlene Stevens of Champaign; grandson, Eric Stevens; granddaughter, Jennifer Stevens; three great-grandchildren; and sister, Ann Linzer.

An informal gathering will take place Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at Sunset Funeral Home, 710 N. Neil St., Champaign, IL 61820. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Donna’s life.

Memorial donations may be made in Donna’s name to Planned Parenthood, Courage Connection or Circle of Friends Adult Care Center of Champaign.