Donna Lynne Race Aravanis, Fresno, CA was born October 19, 1960 in Ithaca, NY and left this world while her family was close by on November 7, 2021. Her battle with cancer was lengthy. She is survived by her husband, William (Bill) Aravanis, daughters Lilian Emma Aravanis and Sophia Bernice Aravanis, her parents, Edward (Ed) and Velma (Vee) Race of Madera, CA., and brother, Keith Race and partner, Evelyne Keller of San Francisco CA.
Donna studied voice and performed during summers at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY as a high school student. She graduated from The Hartt School of Music with a degree in opera performance. She migrated to California in 1995 and soon met her husband-to-be. Donna and Bill married May 30, 1998. Together they enjoyed hiking, jogging, biking and attending events with SCA, (Society of Creative Anachronism).
Donna continued as soprano soloist with her church choir and with performances at the Rodger Rocca dinner theater and the Fresno Philharmonic. Additionally she was a licensed massage therapist and a pre-school teacher for a time. She wrote and published a book, “Struck by Lightning” journaling her early battles with cancer.
Donna will be fondly remembered for her unfailing faith in God and ever-cheerful deportment in spite of adversity. She loved to pursue vigorous physical activities. These included boot camp workouts with Team Jab, running a half marathon, conquering Half Dome and completing, in 2019, the annual Alcatraz swim to Aquatic Park in San Francisco. All this with little regard for her below-knee prosthesis that she wore beginning from birth.
Donna was a person who loved life. She never accepted anything less than a full measure in anything she did and she inspired others to do the same.
Memorials in Donna’s name may be made to Hinds Hospice in Fresno, CaringBridge, Inc. or the American Cancer Society.
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