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The Life of Donna Ruth Muse-Blakemore
On March 13, 1958, while residing in Hightstown, NJ, James, and Vera Muse were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Understanding the importance of names, they named the baby girl Donna, which means “woman or lady.”
Donna often spoke about her early days in Hightstown, where she frequented the farm of her late “Uncle Mose”, (Moses Reed of Hightstown). However, while she was still young, an unfortunate fire forced the family to move from Hightown to Trenton, NJ. It was there that Donna chose to live out her days.
Donna attended the Trenton Public School System. She was a prominent swimmer with the potential and aspirations to compete at the collegiate level. She also attended the Wilfred Academy School of Cosmetology, where she graduated at the top of her class. Donna was very proud of this accomplishment because she loved doing hair and makeup, and she made it a point to let anyone who received her services know that they were being serviced by “a licensed cosmetologist.”
Donna had four children and, in 1983, said, “I Do” to James L. Blakemore. Donna Ruth Muse became Donna Ruth Blakemore, and for twenty-seven years, they walked together as husband and wife until they were finally parted by Tony’s death in 2010.
Donna’s life was not always easy, but she possessed an uncanny ability to circumvent adversity and succeeded despite her circumstances. Her strength and motivation were nested in helping others. She was the kind of person who was willing to put in time and effort for a “friend-in-need,” and felt it was her duty to be the first partaker and lead the way for anything that had to be done. There was no greater example of this than when Donna’s baby sister died in 1983. Donna insisted that her nephew Corey live with her. She fought and won custody and then scraped up the resources to ensure that he continued attending private school. But Donna’s heart didn’t just extend to those that were blood-related. A year later, she adopted her God-daughter Marjorie, who had run away from home and was destined to be a ward of the state.
Donna exuded confidence and had a very dominant personality. Anyone who knows her would agree that she would say exactly what was on her mind. However, she had a compassionate nature and never did so with hurtful intentions. Her family was vital to her, and if anyone attacked them in any way, she became a mighty lioness ready to protect them.
Donna’s entire life was spent serving others, but her calling was to those with special needs. She was employed by the Trenton State Psychiatric Hospital, the North Princeton Developmental Center, the Mercer County School for Special Services, and the Department of Developmental Disabilities. She leveraged every resource she had to render help to those in need. With her selflessness, caring spirit, and charisma, she built lasting and meaningful relationships with everyone she encountered.
To her husband, she was called wife; to her children, she was called mommy; to her grandkids, she was called “gran-ma”. No matter what she was called, she was dearly loved and loved us in return.
Donna Ruth Blakemore departed this life on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. She was pre-deceased by her parents, James, and Vera Muse; her sisters, Gail Muse, Arlene Muse, and Robin Muse-McCray; her daughter, Marjorie Gonzales, and her stepdaughter Delores Tillie.
She leaves a legacy of cherished memories to her children Kiya Muse Sr., Antionette Boles, Andraya Elijah, Morris Muse, and Corey Kelly; one daughter-in-law, Zenoma Muse; two sons-in-law, William Boles and Shawn Elijah; two nieces, Janice Forrest, and Rotunda Muse-Allen, two nephews James and Elijah Muse; 18 grandchildren; Amin, Ernest, Monique, Kiyashia, Danielle, Dahvae. Kiya Jr., Amira, Kiarra, Mahki, James, Donna, Taylor, Celeste, Miya Joy, Kathleen, Zamya, and Keyshawn; five great-grandchildren; Her brother James Muse; her sister Tonie Muse; two special sisters Verlene Wingate and Andrea Young and a host of cousins, family, and friends.