Remembering ‘Mom,’ Donna Schumacher

Don and Donna Schumacher at Treasure Island in Laguna Beach back in the 80s. Courtesy photo

Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the age of 87 Donna Schumacher passed from this world into heaven.

She leaves those who knew and loved her with a grateful heart for the time we had to share, laugh, love and fellowship together.

She created home for the homeless of heart, an anchoring place that touched the lives of many. She loved her family and was very proud of her sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Donna Schumacher was a precious gem, a shining light, a gold star mom and was a woman who made a difference. She touched the lives of many as she passed through this life. Her life had been an adventure.

Cooking was her passion and she was considered a gourmet cook. Her culinary talents were noticed where ever she lived. In Big Bear she cooked at a local restaurant visited by a movie cast and crew who were on a film shoot in the area. Donna was delighted when the star of the movie ‘The Night of the Grizzly’, Clint Walker requested that she cook for him and his friends, a family style meal each night during filming.

In the High Desert there were more interesting encounters with the famous while cooking for a much-loved nightclub and lounge in the area. It was there she met and fell in love with Daniel Schumacher better known as Don. The newlywed couple moved to a trailer park on the coast at Laguna Beach called Treasure Island. It was there the Schumacher’s rubbed elbows with those in the movie industry; from actors to producers and more.

Donna was the chair/social director of the community gatherings. These gatherings led to close relationships and encounters. For instance, a visit from the Frugal Gourmet was an unexpected and welcomed surprise and getting to know Pilar Wayne who became a close friend along with her children after admiring a wedding cake she made. Donna even had her own column in the local trailer park paper titled Donna’s Corner where she wrote about and printed her favorite recipes.

When the property sold the Schumacher’s eventually moved to a trailer park in Anza. Back then the Anza trailer park was the hub of the traveling social scene. Trailer Clubs often frequented the park and called the park there home away from home. Potlucks were held often with the weekenders and permanent residents alike leading to tight bonds that lasted years.

Community was important to Donna. Over the five years I had the privilege to know her she would reminisce about those days when the fellowship of community flowed and she and Don live happily together in the park.

That sense of community built around a good meal brought her great joy and though the park’s community changed over the years her commitment to share and be there for others never waned.

Daily in her later years she and her son Terry Pearcy would open their home as they prepared awesome meals and deserts to share. Feeding locals who wandered in; warming their hearts and minds with good food and fellowship. When needed, Donna would give an attentive ear and if asked sound advice in turn. Her Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was a comfort and a partner in all her endeavors, helping her deal with the loss of her son Robert Pearcy who died in the last days of the Vietnam conflict and comforted in the face of years without her beloved husband Don.

Her sense of community in her younger years were spread outside of the park too; cooking for the VFW, church events and fundraisers was a common thing.

Donna was called “Mom” by many and people often came far and wide to experience her specialties like her peanut butter pie and for those who like the hot stuff; homemade Habanero sauce.

Over Donna’s lifetime she had perfected and literally collected hundreds of recipes. Some were her own; others came from family and friends. Of course, Donna always put her own delicious twist on things. In truth getting to taste the dishes coming from her kitchen – full of love – was a delightful experience. Here food was always filled with a taste of wonder.

Donna also had a big heart this was the case as she decided to share in her 80s, to share some of her wonderful recipes with the readership of the Anza Valley Outlook. These recipes shared were combined with excerpts from her Treasure Island Journal. This made for an interesting twist; great recipes mixed with personal experiences with Hollywood’s elite. You can read these 22 articles by Googling the Anza Valley Outlook – Cooking Corner- Donna Schumacher.

Now that her work on Earth is through and she is reunited with those she lost of loved ones that went on before her and we who are left behind rejoice for her gain and cry for our loss.

All are invited to come to a ‘Celebration of Life’ to honor Donna Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. in the Anza Community Hall. The Anza Community Hall is located in the Township of Anza on Highway 371 across from the Circle K.

Still sharing her passion, Chef Donna Schumacher and son Terry Pearcy cooked and served a delicious holiday meal to their home park in Anza July 4, 2015. Courtesy photo

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