MELROSE — Donna M. Hawes, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away unexpectedly at Winchester Hospital on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at age 72.

Donna was born in Woburn on March 10, 1949, one of six children of the late Edmund and Conchetta (Gobbi) Leonardis. She was raised in Woburn where she graduated from Woburn High School. During her high school years, she met Jack Hawes, from Medford, and quickly fell in love. They were married on August 23, 1969, and settled in Melrose to raise a family of three.

When her children were young, Donna established a daycare at her home in Melrose. As a mother of three and sister to five, Donna was familiar with the routine. She naturally provided a structured yet nurturing environment and took pride in helping children establish a solid foundation. More recently, Donna enjoyed her work as the activities director at Oosterman’s Rest Home in Melrose for over 10 years.

For many years, Donna loved summers spent with family at the camp at Pine Acres in Raymond, NH, and later at Pinehirst in Old Orchard Beach, ME. In her free time, she enjoyed bowling, gardening and watching her favorite TV shows like Blue Bloods. She was proud to say she was a hula hoop master and loved to dance.

Donna was full of life, energy and loved to talk. She had numerous longtime friends that she enjoyed weekends away with. Most of all, Donna was a devoted wife and loving mother who always had an open door for anyone. She loved her family, always wanted the best for them, and supported everyone with love and a little strength when needed. She will be deeply missed, but her hula hooping skills, love for family and fun will always be remembered and treasured.

Donna was the beloved wife of John J. “Jack” Hawes with whom she shared 52 years marriage. Devoted mother of Annette Morris and her husband, Chris, of Medford; Mark E. Hawes and his wife, Colleen, of Windham, NH; and Jacquelyne Alfeo and her husband, Russ, of Windham, NH. Loving grandmother of Dominic, Nathan, Madeline, Kristin, Emily, Abigail, Daniel and Matthew. Caring sister of Louise Gardener, Susan Greekwood, Judy Venezi, Joanne LeFort and Edmund Leonardis. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends were invited to gather for visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 4-8 p.m., and again for her funeral service celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. Interment in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. For online tribute visit