Donna Jean Edwards, 67, of Canton, passed away on October 25, 2020 after a long, but brave battle with illness.
She was born on February 24, 1953 in Oktibbeha County to William and Dott Edwards. She is a proud alumna of Callaway High School and continued her education as a graduate from Louisiana State University. Her passion to help those struggling with mental health and disabilities led her to earn a Master's Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Psychiatric Social Work. She married Frank Finnegan in 1978 and together they raised three children. Donna was the Director of Mental Health at St. Dominic's Hospital for many years and retired after twenty-eight years of service from the State of Mississippi as the Deputy Director of Benefit Services for the Public Employees Retirement System.
“Do great things!” This phrase embodies the life of Donna Edwards. Whether it was the last words spoken to her children before the start of a school day or speaking with her grandchildren, the refrain was an inspiration she said with her beautiful smile. She wanted loved ones to find encouragement from her belief in their dreams and the importance of making a positive impact in their daily life. She was intelligent, witty and placed value in the pursuit of knowledge. She instilled in her children the values of hard work, compassion, and fairness. Helping others was her guiding principle throughout her career and life. She gave tireless effort to help other state employees, in particular those with disabilities, pursue stability and dignity in retirement.
Donna connected with many through her love of old movies, reading, and art. She was a great mother and fantastic grandmother. Though illness put many obstacles in her way, Donna used the power of prayer to our Lord and drew strength to face each challenge with grace. Her warrior spirit did not relent as she fought for each joyful moment. She was always thankful to be present for each wedding, birthday, recital or game. She loved family trips to the Grove and time at the beach to hear the ocean waves. She cherished the sound of laughter over weekends at Mimi’s. Donna’s embodiment of strength and perseverance is her lasting legacy and will be a guide to those who loved her and for future generations.
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Donna is survived by her daughter, Laura Efstratiou (Pete) of Canton; sons, John Finnegan (Maury) and David Finnegan (Lindsay) of Madison, MS; grandchildren, Zoe Efstratiou, Katherine Efstratiou, Jack Finnegan, Luke Finnegan, Liam Finnegan, Patrick Finnegan; mother, Dott Edwards of Jackson; sisters, Judy Fogg (Bruce) of Oxford, Lisa Edwards of Jackson and brother, Joel Edwards of Madison.
Donna was preceded in death by her Father, William Joel Edwards.
A memorial visitation will be held on Friday October 30, 2020 from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at Natchez Trace Funeral Home in Madison. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Rheumatology Research Foundation https://www.rheumresearch.org/home-page.