Gardening 04

Donna Jean (Kirkham) McGowan

May 1, 1933 ~ June 24, 2020 (age 87)


Donna Jean McGowan, nee Kirkham, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Hilton Head, South Carolina during an extended stay with family. She was born on May 1, 1933 in Chicago, IL, the eldest daughter of C. Ward and Hannah E. Kirkham. On September 25, 1954, she married Martin V. McGowan, who preceded her in death on October 9, 1999.

Donna was the beloved mother of eight children:  Lawrence McGowan and wife Karen of Cambridge, MD; Terrence McGowan of Harrisburg; Kevin McGowan of Cape Coral, FL; Janet Bryant and husband Grady of Hilton Head, SC; Diane Allman and husband Todd of Cranberry Township, PA; Daniel of Bedford, PA; Jill Ciccone of Vienna, VA; and Carrie McGowan of Herndon, VA. She was the proud and loving grandmother of 14 grandchildren; Kaitlin, Maureen, Benjamin, Megan, Claire, Andrew, Maddison, John, Adam, Marielle, Maximilian, Todd and wife Lindsey, Jill and husband Larry, and Kayla.

Donna is also survived by her sisters, Nancy Reilly and Mary Ellen Albano and husband James. She was preceded in death by her sister and brother-in-law, JoAnn and Raymond Lavery, her brother, Ward Kirkham, and her brother-in-law Kenneth Reilly.

As the eldest of her generation, she loved and is loved by many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Donna was preceded in death by her Aunt Rosella and Uncle Bernard Goeing, who were instrumental in her upbringing.

While raising her family, Donna worked as a secretary at MH/MR and retired after 30 years of dedicated service. An avid animal lover, she bred and showed Dalmatians, and adopted many stray dogs. She enjoyed traveling, shopping, gardening, knitting, and was an active bridge player who will be missed by her bridge partners. She passed her enthusiasm of board games, reading, watching movies and her witty sense of humor to her children and grandchildren.

Donna was the family matriarch to her children, grandchildren, and Chicago family. The memorable times made at her Bedford home will be cherished by all who knew and loved her. She served as a role model to many and her absence will be felt by all, especially by her son Dan.

She was a faithful member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. Due to COVID-19, a private Catholic Mass and burial will be held for immediate family. A memorial service for extended family and friends will be announced at a later date. Arrangements by the Timothy A. Berkebile Funeral Home in Bedford.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make a donation in Donna’s name to The Bedford County Humane Society, 182 Bohn Road, Bedford, PA 15522, or Parkinson's Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131, Our online guest book is available at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Jean (Kirkham) McGowan, please visit our floral store.


Private Services


Bedford County Humane Society
182 Bohn Road, Bedford PA 15522
Tel: 1-814-623-8968

Parkinson's Foundation
200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami FL 33131

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