PHOENIX: (602) 906-9600 | PEORIA: (623) 486-1955

Date of Birth: December 22, 1933

Date of Death: April 18, 2023

In Loving Memory... Donna Joan Taft of Youngtown, Arizona went home peacefully to be with our Dear Lord Jesus Christ on April 18, 2023 of natural causes due to complications from Pneumonia. She was a beloved and devoted Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Friend. She was a relentless fighter and her devotion to her Faith and Family was second to none; an inspiration to us all. Born December 22, 1933 in Chicago, IL, to James and Lillian Atkinson and lived a somewhat nomadic life spreading the Joy of the Word of God wherever she went. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education and Master's Degree in Speech Pathology from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota, where she met Bill Taft, who was also enrolled there. Her true calling was to share her Faith in God with her beloved husband, Rev. William Ovid Taft (decd. 2017), as they served the Lord through his work for the North American Baptist Conference as a Regional Minister at Grosse Pointe Baptist Church in Grosse Pointe, MI. She spent her career helping those less fortunate as a Speech Therapist in Special Education for the Detroit Public School District during their years in Grosse Pointe. They left their home to travel the country in an RV for 5 ½ years before settling in Algonac, MI where their home overlooked the Saint Clair River. In 2011 they followed their Daughter Rachel and Son-in-Law Doug Peterman and her Grandson Kyle to the Mountains of Phoenix, AZ and spend their last years with Family & Friends in an independent living home at LifeStream at Youngtown, AZ. We were blessed to have had the time we had together in Phoenix for the last 12 years. Shortly before, she was diagnosed with 2 forms of Leukemia, CML and ACL. She defied the outlook that the Doctors gave her (~2 years) and fought like a Warrior with Faith, strength and fortitude through her long battle with cancer, never showing her weakness. Her bright and cheerful yet stoic personality was also an asset to her joy in playing cards, she had a great poker face! Her close companion in the last year of her life, Robert Wilson, also of Youngtown, AZ, was also by her side with us in loving care through her decline at the Lake Pleasant Post Acute Rehabilitation Center in nearby Peoria, AZ. She is surely grateful to have the opportunity to touch and impact so many lives in their travels. She will be missed by those that she shared her unconditional love and wisdom with; a beautiful person inside and out. Donna is survived by her Daughter, Rachel J Peterman, her Son-In-Law Douglas A Peterman, and Grandson, Kyle D Peterman. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Amazing Grace I’d Rather Have Jesus (sung at their wedding)

Service Information

A private service will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona where she will join her beloved husband William, a Veteran of the US Air Force, led by her pastor, Dan Fosnight of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sun City, AZ, their place of Worship.


If you wish to honor her in some way, please consider donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the American Cancer Society in her loving memory.