Cover photo for Donna G. Catlin's Obituary
Donna G. Catlin Profile Photo

Donna G. Catlin

d. August 27, 2016

Donna Gail Catlin, 72, of Sherman, died Saturday the 27th on a family vacation in Utah.

Donna was the daughter of Barbara and Donald Arnold and was married to Carl Catlin for 55 years.  In 1961 she and her husband made the first of what would become several moves and travel adventures across the nation and around the world as a wife of a career Naval & Commercial Pilot. Throughout those years Sherman and its history stayed close to her heart.  When she returned 25+ years ago she plunged into researching the area’s history. Today she is the Village of Sherman’s official historian.  A skilled and award-winning photographer, her work often appears in the State Journal Register and on the pages of Historico.  Donna is active in many community organizations such as North County Teen Court and the Sangamon County Historical Society.

Donna is survived by her husband Carl, 3 children Lisa Catlin-Stone, Colleen Degenaar, Craig Catlin, son-in-law’s Larry Stone & Chuck Degenaar, daughter-in-law Sonja Catlin, brother Vance Arnold, sister-in-law’s Charlotte Arnold, Joyce Cooper & Janet Catlin, brother-in-law’s Don Catlin, Bob Catlin & Roger Cooper, 4 grandchildren, Nicole & Michael Degenaar, Tannyr & Cashlyn Catlin, 1st cousin’s Rebecca Finley & Ted Walschleger, considered to be a beloved brother and sister by Donna, 5 nieces, 4 nephews and numerous cousins.  She touched so many lives young & old, she was one of a kind, weaving herself into the fabric of our lives; she was friend, mentor, counselor and role model.  The world definitely is a little dimmer without her.

Visitation will be held at Williamsville United Methodist Church, 128 East Jones St., Williamsville, Illinois, on Monday, September 5, 2016 from 2:00 until 7:00 PM.  Funeral services will also be held at the church on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM.

Burial will be held at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.

Rev.  Dick Piscatelli will be officiating.

Memorials can be made to Ronald McDonald House, 610 N. 7th Street, Springfield, IL  62702, or Sangamon County Historical Society P.O. Box 9744, Springfield, IL 62704.


  1. Donna will be missed by so many people. She was a light in many lives. My heart and prayers are with you.

  2. My condolences to the friends and family of Donna Catlin. She was dearly loved by all in the community. Who can forget her and that camera at many events. God bless her.

  3. We are so sorry for the loss of a great lady. She has done so much good for everyone and will be missed by all. Donna never had a bad thing to say about anything and was always there to help others with her great smile. I know that she is in heaven right now taking pictures for the Lord. She was so good at that. I and others will miss her pictures and the friendship she had for us. God bless you Donna and I will always remember you. Eddie

  4. My sincere condolences to Donna’s family and friends! My thoughts and prayers are with you all!

  5. My deepest sympathies. Though the years have past, I remember Mrs. Catlin well. She was a great roll model and mother, not only to her children, but to her children’s friends as well. {Hugs}

  6. My sympathy to Donna’s family. While I did not know Donna well I was always delighted to be in her company at Sangamon County Historical Society events. She always made sure to greet you, and greet you with a warm smile. She was a very talented and knowledgeable lady, and not only is her great historical knowledge lost, but the world is a little dimmer with the lost of such a happy person. Peace to you Donna.

  7. My sympathy and condolences to the friends and family of Donna Catlin. I remember her very well, and she was dearly loved. I’ll never forget her and shall remember her always with fond memories from my first reenactment. Rest in peace and may God bless her.

  8. My heart goes out to Donna’s family and all her many, many friends. She will most definitely leave a void in all our lives. Too know her was to love her! The best friend, wife , mother and patriot I have known. Her family was her greatest love and Carl the love of her life! She never met a stranger and welcomed everyone into her world. Donna,

  9. Though family on the Stailey side, I didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know Donna until the funeral of my father, James Willis Boner. At the cemetery, Donna told me the relevance of the long train whistle in the background, which I thought only I knew! Family became friends.
    Many are grateful for her expertise, knowledge, kindness, dedication and intuition in piecing together puzzles of our past. Her late night emails containing words of wisdom, from family to wallpaper, and often with pictures will remain treasures to me.
    Donna is a bright star which will continue to shine and provide inspiration in our lives.
    My deepest condolences to her loved ones.

  10. Donna always kept in touch over the miles. We were so glad to see Donna & Carl and other family this Spring. We love you all and already miss Donna’s e-mails.

  11. My deepest sympathy goes to Carl and the family. I have known Donna for as long as I can remember. We went all through school together. She could tell me where some of my family was buried that I did not know. May God bless her and her family.

  12. We were so saddened to hear about the Catlin family’s loss of their rock, Donna. I will always remember our time together as young wives of Navy pilots and mothers. Our girls were in dancing lessons together and later Leslie and Colleen were roommates as they began their college experience. Her smiling face and positive attitude were always an inspiration to me. We will miss her! Glen

  13. Donna was a dear, caring friend to my family and me. She and Carl helped raise our kids when we lived down the street in Imperial Beach. Our families shared laughs and tears for over fifty years.
    She had an amazing memory and a loving heart. Donna will be missed by thousands of people whose lives she touched.
    Sarah and I offer our deepest sympathy and prayers for all those she loved so deeply.

  14. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are grateful that we were able to visit earlier this year.

    Our love,
    John and Pat

  15. Our sympathy and condolences go out to the entire family.

    Barry and Shaun Tobias

  16. I will certainly miss Donna and her camera at the Sangamon County Historical Society Events. Not only was Donna a wonderful photographer, she was a wonderful person who always had a great smile and a great wit. Who else could say, “Kathryn, let me get that picture of you with the that awful dancing Santa hat. We need to get that picture that in the Historico!!” And I was not even embarrassed when it did indeed appear. It brought a smile and I’m sure other members smiled too!! She took lots of pictures at the Lincoln Funeral Reenactment events as well. She will be missed and I extend my sincere condolences to her family. RIH, Donna!! There’s work for you to do in Heaven, too.

    My best,
    Kathryn M. Harris

  17. Sympathy to the family that meant so much to Donna! Her gregarious nature and outgoing personality made her a larger than life friend to my family and we hurt along with Carl, Lisa, Colleen and Craig. I wish we knew how to ease the pain of your loss. Offering condolences seem so insignificant for a friend who always made us believe she truly cared. Even in this writing, with a lump in my throat I smile,thinking of the enjoyable time spent with Donna in Chula Vista and a visit to her beloved Sherman! Vaya con Dios, mi Amiga,, Go with God, my friend!

  18. I met Donna last year when she took pictures of my local history book launch–and then kindly went on to buy multiple copies to place in local libraries. She was such an outstanding person, and it seemed even from my brief acquaintance, an adventurer at heart. I am so sorry for her sudden loss. My sympathy to her dear ones.

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