Former San Juan College employee and San Juan Animal League founder Donna Ogilvie died Tuesday afternoon of pneumonia.
Former San Juan College employee and San Juan Animal League founder Donna Ogilvie died Tuesday afternoon of pneumonia. (Courtesy of San Juan College)
FARMINGTON — Donna Ogilvie, the founder of the San Juan Animal League and a well-known thespian, died Tuesday.

The Farmington woman was 83.

"Her hand print is on so many things here in Farmington," said Betty Berry, who met Ogilvie and her late husband, a Presbyterian minister, 50 years ago.

Ogilvie suffered health complications, following a fracture to her lower back, according to her friend, Sandy Nelson. Ultimately, Ogilvie died of pneumonia.

"She was a gentle soul," said her friend, Ruth Allison.

Ogilvie couldn't stand to see anyone — human or animal — hurt, Allison said.

Ogilvie's love of animals led her to help start the San Juan Animal League in 1974, a volunteer humane society for animals in the Farmington area.

Ogilvie is also a former reporter for The Daily Times. While at The Daily Times, she met Nelson, who worked the switchboard. Nelson said that Ogilvie introduced her to theater and taught her more about writing. Eventually, Nelson became women's editor for The Daily Times.

Ogilvie was also one of the founders of the now-defunct San Juan Stage Company, a theater group in the 1970s and 1980s. During that time, Ogilvie directed numerous well-received plays, including "The Man of La Mancha," Nelson said.

"She was pretty good at whatever she tried," Nelson said.

Before moving to Farmington, Ogilvie, who was born in St. Louis, Mo., lived in Ohio.

Ogilvie was also a member of the Steel Magnolias, a group of women who work closely with the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

She also worked at San Juan College, where she was employed in marketing.

While at the college, she helped started Encore, a program that provides community learning classes for senior citizens. The classes are offered through San Juan College.

Jim Henderson, the college's president emeritus, described her as a good employee. She wrote the college's history, and, when the college was building an outdoor amphitheater, Ogilvie helped research outdoor theaters.

"She always liked the arts," Henderson said.

 

Hannah Grover can be reached at hgrover@daily-times.com; 505-564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover.