Merwin Donahue


The Kingdom of Heaven welcomed Merwin G. Donahue, 93, of Rantoul, as she graduated from this earthly world Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Merwin earned a master’s degree in theology at Emory University in Atlanta, as well as advanced degrees in French and English.  t As an educator at the collegiate and high school level, she was recognized by the state of Illinois for her progressive and innovative language-teaching skills and served as consultant for the University of Illinois Language Department. She taught throughout central Illinois in Rantoul, Peoria, Chillicothe and Decatur, including Rantoul Township High School and Bradley and Millikin Universities.

Her distinguished career also included serving the United Methodist Church as diaconal minister and director of Christian education in Illinois as well as tenure with the Board of Global Ministries on a national scale.

Socially, Merwin was an early pioneer in advancing gender, racial and economic equality.

Born in Greenville, Merwin married Howard Donahue, who preceded her in death after 66 joyful and adventurous years of marriage.

Merwin is survived by daughters Darlene (Neil Oakley) Button of Rantoul and Debra (Larry Schnell) Donahue of Upstate New York; one grandson, Patrick (Eboni) Button of Gifford; and three great-grandchildren, Keyon, Silver and Ivory Button.

Also surviving is a sister, Carol Donaldson of Greenville.

Following safe COVID-19 guidelines, a service will be held at noon Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, at the Gathering Place of the First United Methodist Church, Rantoul. The Rev. Paula Wallace will officiate. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery, Rantoul.

Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service, also at the Gathering Place. Vehicles may drive by or individuals may use the socially distant walking areas to pay their respects.

Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church Youth Group, Rantoul.