She was under Hospice care. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church.
A retired teacher and historian, she was the daughter of the late Roy Lee Watkins Sr., and Willie Anderson Watkins; she was also preceded in death by her husband, Russell A. Donnelly; and one sister, Lou Ann Miller.
She taught 26 years in the public schools of Georgia, Florida, California and Tennessee with the latter half of her career in the Cleveland City Schools.
A graduate of the University of Chattanooga, she also studied at the Penland School of Handicrafts, Penland, N.C., where she served on the summer staff for several years. She was a member of Phi Mu Fraternity at U.C.
She organized the Cleveland Branch of the American Association of University Women in 1973, served as charter president, and chaired its publication, “AAUW Bicentennial Cookbook: Then and Now.” She held elective and appointive offices in the Tennessee State Division and served on its board of directors for several years. She held life membership in AAUW.
She was a founder of the James County Historical Society and chaired the publication of “James County: A Lost County of Tennessee” which received a Certificate of Merit from the Tennessee Historical Commission for its significant contribution to Tennessee history in 1984. Her book “The Life and Time of Captain David McNair” received a Certificate of Merit from the THC in 1998.
Her other affiliations included: the Bradley County Historical Society, Chattanooga Area Historical Association, Ocoee Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution which she served as regent, First Families of Tennessee and First Families of Franklin.
She is survived by one brother, Roy Lee Watkins Jr. of Florence, S.C.; two sisters: Lillian Wilson of Pompano Beach, Fla., and Virginia Kimsey of Anniston, Ala.; four nieces; and three nephews.
A Memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013, at Fike Funeral Home with the Rev. Joe Tanner officiating.
The family will receive friends from 1 to 2 p.m. at the funeral home on Saturday. Interment will be private.