Quilting 1

Donna Kay (Rawls) Tuttle

August 16, 1939 ~ December 16, 2021 (age 82)



Donna Kay Rawls Tuttle, who loved to be called “Grammy” by her grandchildren, departed her loving family and reunited with her parents on December 16, 2021.

Donna was born on August 16, 1939, in Fairfield, Illinois to Mary and Homer E. “Andy” Rawls. She graduated from Fairfield High School as a cheerleader for the mighty Mules and attended Butler University in Indianapolis. She moved to Austin, Texas, in 1986 and fell in love with the state. In fact, she was named an “Honorary Texan” by then Governor Ann Richards.  She eventually moved back to her hometown of Fairfield to reunite with her nearby family and lifelong friends.

Donna, known her entire life as “Donna Kay” by her close friends and family, was a creative, talented, beautiful lady. She was a fine painter, seamstress, quilter, and quilt teacher.  Donna made many of her children’s clothes. She loved to garden, always had the most beautiful flowers on the block, and worked at Black’s Flower Shop in Fairfield in her youth. Donna loved to read and love on her pets, namely, Sam the Schnoodle. She also loved coffee and had a pot brewing all day, every day.

Her creativity left her children with fond memories.  One day, upon getting off the school bus, the kids found that she had taped pieces of Juicy Fruit gum to the leaves of the tree in the front yard for all of the neighborhood kids (some of you may remember the old Juicy Fruit commercials).

As a girl, Donna spent summers as a lifeguard at the pool at Leo French Park. As a young woman, Donna was a flight attendant and model for Eastern Airlines. After her marriage, she was the quintessential home maker, chef, wound mender, tear wiper, referee, and cheerleader.

Donna was also adventurous. Her children had many memorable trips with her, most of which included some hilarious high jinx and humorous outcomes. One Thanksgiving, Donna thought it would be nice to be on a beach away from the fall chill.  She, her daughter, Janie, and grandson, Alex, drove down to Rockport, Texas. Little did they know, but the weather had dropped in Rockport during the drive. So instead of walking along a warm, sandy beach, the trio shivered (and laughed a lot) in a little fishing cabin on the water.

Donna’s kindness, strength, and determination served as examples to her children and grandchildren. Her cooking prowess and artistic skills were passed down to her son, youngest daughter, and grandsons.  Her middle daughter, however, picked up different traits (love of books and fiber arts) – also code for “can’t cook or draw to save her life.”

Donna was an independent woman, but she was also always a lady.  Her advice to her daughters, for example, included such phrases as, “Girls shouldn’t call boys on the phone. If you do, you’ll get a reputation,” and, “Always be sure to wear panty hose and a slip.  Ladies wear panty hose and slips.”

Donna is survived by her children, Carl “Rich” Tuttle (Fairfield, IL), Janie Tuttle (Michael) French (Dallas TX), and Amy Tuttle (Doug Joyce) (Ignacio, CO). She raised her children with love and devotion in Indianapolis and later Carmel, Indiana.

She is also survived by two grandsons, Alexander M. French and Logan J. French, both in Dallas. She was preceded in death by her parents, her grandson, Austin French, and her brother, Jerome Rawls.

Aside from the children she loved and taught well, Donna is also survived by her brother, James (Holly) Rawls of Mooresville, IN, and sister, Randi Rawls (John) Riester of Fenton, MI.                                                                                                               

The family would like to thank cousins Jill and Bill Andrews of Fairfield for their constant love and support, and the staff of the Flora Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for the exceptional care and kindness they showered on Donna during her final months. Janie is especially thankful for the weekly calls and updates from one of Donna’s nurses, Candy Ray.

Nales Funeral Home in Fairfield is assisting the family with arrangements and a private memorial for Donna. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Fairfield Parks District Splash Pad Project, P.O Box 467, Fairfield, IL 62837.

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