Donna Elizabeth Quasthoff, 97 passed away on September 1, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was preceded in death by her parents, Evelyn and Carl Quasthoff, and by her brother Carl (Elisabeth) Quasthoff of Sweden, and by her sister, Evelyn (Charles) Wright of Lyons, IL.
She is survived by her faithful scribe of 64 years, Hope A. Curtis of Santa Fe. Other survivors include proud nieces: Barbara (William) Siebel of Chicago, IL, Patricia (David Ranney) Wright of Chicago, IL, Deborah (Michael) Maggio of Park Ridge, IL, Donna ( Patrick) Herendeen of Deerfield, IL, Pollyanna (Morton) Helsing of Norway, Lisa (Mat) Holmstrom of Sweden; and proud nephews: Charles (Lisa) Wright of Lemont, IL, James (Sue) Wright of Schaumburg, IL, Fritz Quasthoff of Sweden. Also by proud cousins: Michael Eiter of Tucson, AZ, Marylou (David) Long of Chicago, IL, and many grand nephews and nieces.
Donna was born August 14, 1924 in Chicago, IL. She attended Alvernia Catholic High School where she was either president or chair of at least five student organizations.
After graduation from high school in 1941, she enrolled in the school of The Art Institute of Chicago and graduated with a B.F.A. After graduating, she taught sculpture and drawing at The Art Institute, The Girls Latin Intitute and Rockford College.
At the age of 25, Donna went to Paris to study with cubist Ossip Zadkine at the Academie de la Grande Charmier. After her studies, she travelled to England, Africa, and throughout Europe to study art. Donna often said, she “had the good sense to move to New Mexico while still young.”
In 1954, she embarked on a career as architect and sculptor in Santa Fe. In 1975, she received her M.A. in architecture and planning from UNM and soon became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); and served as a New Mexico State Architect.
Donna received numerous commissions for sculpture projects, most of which are in bronze. They range in size from relatively small commemorative medallions and statues, culminating in several large and highly visible works in downtown Santa Fe. She was hired by John McHugh (c.1984) to sculpt the bronze doors of Saint Francis Basilica, and, at the age of 78, she sculpted the three-tired monument in Cathedral Park.
Donna is also known for her whimsical figures made of stones, welding rods and glass. She also loved to draw the human figure and often went to a sketch class with live models.
Traveling was a great delight for her. She and Hope hiked throughout England over two summers and also travelled to Israel, China, Japan, Russia, and more than once to France, her favorite country – love that food!
In 2006, Donna was designated a “Santa Fe Living Treasure” in recognition for her volunteerism and for her many contributions to Santa Fe culture.
She loved animals and was an avid supporter of The Humane Society as well as The Santa Fe Opera.
Donna was a loving and most certainly inspirational woman. Her friends and family miss her dearly.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Berardinelli Family Funeral Home, 1399 Luisa Street, on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 11:00AM.
In keeping with Donna’s love of animals, donations to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and the Humane Society would be appreciated.
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