Obituary of Donna Jean Cocchia
Donna Jean Cocchia
Donna Jean was born in Ardmore, PA on November 3, 1944, the daughter of the late Samuel J. and the late Jeanette ( Fiander ) Cocchia. Donna was born and raised in Ardmore, PA.
She graduated from Archbishop Prendergast High School, earned her bachelor’s degree from Cabrini University, and obtained her master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, New York.
Donna Jean lived an amazing life. She started her career as a Catholic school teacher, working at St. Anastasia and St. Thomas Aquinas teaching elementary school. Her students adored her and affectionately referred to her as “Ms. Donna.” Although she loved teaching, her true calling and one of many of God’s gifts in her life was that of a jazz singer. Donna started singing at a young age and she followed in her father’s musical footsteps and became a professional Jazz singer. She was well known and respected in the Philadelphia Jazz circuit. Donna performed throughout Philadelphia and in New Jersey. She was named Best Jazz Vocalist in Philadelphia magazine and won The Villanova University Jazz Festival on more than one occasion which afforded her the honor/opportunity of performing at the Academy of Music. Donna’s singing career led her to teach at Temple University as an adjunct instructor in Jazz Voice Performance and at Camden County Community College.
After Donna retired from publicly singing and teaching, she pursued her education rooted in religious studies and social justice. After she earned her master’s degree, she became a social worker at the Juvenile Justice Center of Philadelphia, advocating and helping vulnerable children who were at risk of abuse and neglect. She poured her soul into this second career. Her love for children and her quest to help people who were marginalized was her second calling. She worked at JJC for seven years until she officially retired.
Donna Jean was a passionate, loving, and empathetic woman. Her compassion, empathy, and resilience defined who she was. Donna had an amazing ability to make people laugh, to make people feel important, to make people feel included, and to always see the good in others. Donna enjoyed and loved many things, especially her love for the Philadelphia Eagles and her love for animals, especially her family dogs, Mickey, Riesa, and Sonny. She enjoyed watching television, especially her British movies. Donna was known to be an amazing cook who enjoyed Italian food, pasta in particular! She loved gardening, reading, and watching a wide variety of movies and true crime shows. She enjoyed doing all these things with her life partner, Shawn, who was her companion, caretaker, confidant, and best friend. What brought Donna the most joy was getting together with other people, especially with her brothers, sisters, and extended family. She adored her granddaughters whom she loved with all her heart. She enjoyed vacationing in Ocean City, New Jersey, every summer where she would relive many happy childhood memories and singing in Sommers Point, NJ with her father’s band. Donna would always say that her greatest accomplishment in life was raising three beautiful children of whom she was so proud and whom she loved, treasured, and cherished more than life itself.
Although Donna Jean’s health challenges started 25 years ago, she lived as a survivor. She was the epitome of strength and resilience. She was determined never to miss anything, to do all she could to help others, and to give her children and all who loved her the best that she had to give, be it on stage performing, in a classroom teaching, in a stranger’s living room, or at home. Through it all, Donna Jean’s tenacity, faith in God, and perseverance afforded her the ability to never give up and to trust in God to see any and every adversity through. Donna Jean loved going to church and prayed daily for others. Her last church home was St. Vincent’s DePaul in Germantown, PA. She found a deep spiritual connection there that strengthened her faith in God and her deep admiration for Jesuit teachings.
On behalf of Donna Jean’s family, we want to thank the amazing doctors and nurses from Lankenau Medical Center, for providing her with the best of care. Much gratitude to Dr. Ned Carp and Dr. Frias Saidi, and all the nurses from Main Line Home Health Care, especially her visiting nurse, Daniel Knight. A special thank you to Teresa Rende, a family friend and one of Lankenau Hospital’s Nursing angels who brought so much comfort, laughter, companionship, and genuine love when visiting hours were over. Thank you for always being there and checking in on her between visitation hours.
A special acknowledgment of gratitude is extended to her best friend, and Sister in law Patricia Korey who provided Donna with unconditional love and friendship over many years. To Donna Jean’s mentor and beloved friend, Dr. Leonard Primiano, from Cabrini University thank you for the all the time, the journeys taken, the friendship, companionship, spiritual and intellectual stimulation you shared together. To all of Donna’s friends, family, students and musical colleagues, we hope that your memories of her stay with you always and when you hear a song that reminds you of her, you are comforted and it brings a smile to your face.
Donna Jean’s survivors include son Joseph (& Conchita) Glasgow of King of Prussia, PA, daughter Jeanine (& Joseph Williams) Glasgow of Jeffersonville, PA, daughter Dyana Jean Glasgow of Philadelphia, PA, Life Partner Dashawn McHerron of Philadelphia, PA her granddaughters, Madelyn and Ava, brother Stephen Cocchia of Holland, PA, sister Maria Bacon of West Chester, PA, sister Valerie Pogue of Royersford, PA, brother Andrew Cocchia of Philadelphia, PA, brother Peter Cocchia of Devon, PA, sister Susan Snyder of Limerick, PA, sister Regina Hayduk of Elverson, PA,
Along with her parents she was preceded in death by her brother, Samuel Cocchia.
Her Memorial Mass will be held Monday, August 10, 2020, at 10:30 AM from St. Matthew's RC Church, 219 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA.
Friends may call on Monday morning from 9:30 to 10:15 AM at the church.
Interment will follow in St. Denis Cemetery, Havertown, PA.
Memorial Contributions may be made in her memory to: The Juvenile Justice Center of Philadelphia (www.juvenilejustice.org), 100 West Coulter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144.
Due to Covid-19, Facial coverings must be worn and social distancing observed.
Arrangements by Moore, Snear & Ruggiero Funeral Home, 300 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA, (610) 828-0330.
300 Fayette Street
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Phone: (610) 828-0330
East Norriton Location
19 East Germantown Pike
East Norriton, PA 19401
Phone: (610) 277-1600
224 West Main Street
Trappe, Pa 19426
Phone: (610) 489-7900
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