Donna Monahan Gauthier

Donna Monahan Gauthier, 77, of Newport News entered Eternal Life on December 8, 2022. Donna was born in Clinton, Iowa, the daughter of the late Charles V. Monahan, Jr and Grace Trula Saunders. She was also predeceased by her first husband, David Gauthier, and her stepfather, Gerald L. Dalton. Donna graduated from Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton, IA, and Creighton University in Omaha, NE.

She remained a proud alumna of the university and a passionate fan of the Blue Jays’ men’s basketball team. Donna married David in 1968. His Army service brought them to Newport News in 1971. She worked for a number of law firms in the community. After the passing of her beloved David, she joined the staff at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church as the director of development. She regarded her role in the fundraising for the building of St. Michael Hall as her greatest accomplishment.

Donna was a kind, generous person who always put others’ needs first. As one friend put it, she “exuded goodness.” She was active in the community she loved. A member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Hilton Village in the 1970s and early 1980s, she acted in several of their theater productions. She was also a charter member of the Woman’s Club of Hampton Roads. She and David became accomplished ballroom dancers. They also enjoyed spending time at their time-share in Nags Head. Seven years after David’s death Donna met James R. Sweeney, associate professor of history at Old Dominion University. Their friendship grew into love, and they married in 2010. They honeymooned in Italy and returned there in 2013. The marriage made Donna an instant stepmother and step-grandmother. Jim also brought the feline species into Donna’s life. She never expected to become a cat-lover, but she did. Their Calico, Callie, brightened her life over the past four years. A devout Catholic, Donna was a woman of strong faith. She enjoyed reading history, philosophy, and theology.

Left to cherish Donna’s memory are her husband, Jim Sweeney; his daughters, Regina Warriner and Bridget Sweeney; their spouses, Steven Warriner and Sean Sweeney; and their children, Benjamin, Jane Warriner, Colleen and Nora Sweeney; she is also remembered fondly by her many friends; her brother-in-law, Dennis Gauthier, Sr. (Mary); and her nieces and nephews, Angela Lozano, Michelle Reddinger, Dennis Gauthier, Jr., and Kyle Gauthier.

Donna’s funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, December 15, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 100 Harpersville Road in Newport News. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00. A reception will follow the Mass in the Church Commons. Interment will be at 1:00 p.m. at Peninsula Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Beach SPCA, 340 Holland Rd, Virginia Beach, 23453; or to Covenant House, 460 W 41st Street, New York, NY 10036.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Norma Helmick Burks

    Donna was my good friend for 47 years. We shared the good times and the not so good. We worked together and vacationed together over the years. She was the truest of friends. Donna could always make me laugh. I will miss her.

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