FARMINGTON — Dedicated, passionate and persuasive are some of the terms used to describe Joyce Donald, who died Monday at 86.
Donald has been a key factor in founding a number of programs in and around Farmington, including the Four Corners Conference for Professional Development and Leadership San Juan.
After more than 30 years with the Farmington Better Business Bureau, Donald retired on Aug. 31, 2012, from the organization. Donald was a dedicated member of the San Juan Rotary club, joining in 1987 and becoming one of the first female members in the state.
Recently, Donald had a hand in raising funds for the new Farmington Animal Shelter.
Friends of Donald remembered her for ability to bring people together for projects to benefit Farmington and San Juan County.
"She had a rare talent of getting people together for good causes, whatever the cause was," Nancy Shepherd said. "It's still a pretty fresh wound for all of us. She had the ability to make people feel really good, about doing really good things."
As presidential advisor for community relations at San Juan college, Shepherd worked with Donald on the Four Corners Conference for Professional Development. Donald founded the conference in 1984 as a women's conference and Shepherd has helped coordinate the event since its inception. Shepard said she remembered Donald enjoyed raising money for the ECHO Food Bank that allowed distribution of holiday turkeys to those less fortunate.
"As with many, many people, she was a mentor to me. She was to many people," Shepherd said. "She was looking for some way to help you advance or improve, up until the end."
Former Farmington mayor Bill Standley said he was impressed after his first meeting with Joyce and her husband Harry Donald. At the time, Standley was manager of the Sears department store in Animas Valley Mall.
"She did a lot for the community," Standley said. "She worked with many, many people organizing events for the community."
Standley remembers Donald's effort to set up the Four Corners Vietnam Memorial Wall and to select a veteran every year for the Freedom Days parade.
Standley and former San Juan County Commission Chairman James Henderson both said that it was very difficult to say no to Donald when she was looking for volunteers.
"I think she was one of those people you put on a project and she became involved in it and left no rock unturned," Henderson said. "She was one of those people that could get it done. The feeling was, you couldn't say no to Joyce."
The impact Donald has left on the community will always be remembered, Henderson said.
"We've lost a great person and a person that really had a passion and really loved this community," Henderson said. "Without a doubt, we've had a great loss."