HATTERAS — On October 14, 2023, Donna Long Peele passed away, surrounded by family, in her bed, exactly where she wanted to be. Her family, her friends and her Hatteras community will feel the loss for a long time.
Donna was born in Charleston, WV on November 26, 1952. She was the first child of her parents, Richard L. Long and Reta Stanley Long. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Shanklin (Shankie) Peele and her youngest sister, Danni Jo Long Hedrick.
She is survived by her son and their family from Apex, NC; Brian Ellison and his wife Kristin and the love of her life, her two grandchildren Wyatt and Maddi Jo Ellison. Her surviving sisters are Diana Long (Di) from Gallatin, TN and Denise Long Burgess (Mike) from Charleston WV.
She is survived by members of her Hatteras family including her sisters in Law, Winona Burroughs, Mona Walters and husband Jeff, Margie Easley, all from Hatteras, NC and her brother in Law Barry Peele and wife Jeannie from Virgina Beach, Virgina.
Donna would want to note she is survived by her fur baby Stanley, and preceded in death by Gus, Buddy and Carl, all well known dogs around Hatteras.
Donna began her professional life in 1970 with the former C&P telephone company. When the Bell Atlantic companies and AT&T merged, she and Brian moved to Northern Virgina as she continued her career with AT&T. It was there that she met Shankie, and both took early retirement in 1991 to move to Hatteras and operate the Atlantic View Motel. After Shankie’s death, the business was sold and Donna worked for the law firm, Dixon & Dixon. In 2009 she went to work for Waterman’s Retreat at REAL Watersports in Waves, NC and retired in December 2022.
Donna exhibited her best self in every professional position she accepted. She was a clear communicator, a data geek, organizer, creative and passionate about whatever task was on her list at the time. And she loved to have fun, on the job or off.
The cancer diagnosis interrupted her life, and she fought back every step of the way. The diagnoses fought back too. When one hurdle was crossed, another would jump up, and she continued the fight. Throughout the last 5 years of cancer treatments, she tried to find joy, count her blessings and made the effort to be a blessing.
The betterment of the Hatteras community was a priority of hers. She was constantly involved in community activities such as decorating the beach for Christmas, serving as a volunteer US Park Service Guide at the Lighthouse, hosting the Pig Picken at the Atlantic View, Day at the Docks, making and donating pepper jelly to the church Christmas Bazaar and many more. Donna was a founding board member of the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, and she served as a board member for 15 years. Later, she realized firsthand the trials tribulations and obstacles facing cancer patients in the area to receive quality treatment. She is a fierce supporter of the HICF, and would be honored if people who want, and are able to donate to https://hicf.org/.
Donna was a member of the Hatteras United Methodist Church. She supported the church in many ways, but her largest contribution was the compilation and production of the Annual Hatteras Community Birthday calendar. This labor of love started in 2008 and her last will be the 2024 edition. She is a staunch supporter of her church. If people want and can donate to the church, the address is PO Box 314, 57665 NC HWY 12, Hatteras, NC 27943.
She spent the last few months enjoying her beach. She found joy and peace sitting in her sun, near the waves.
Celebration of her life will be Saturday, October 21, Hatteras United Methodist Church at 11:00 am. A reception will follow at the Hatteras Civic Center, 56658 NC HWY 12, Hatteras, NC. From 12:30-2:30 pm.