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Rewa Donley

October 15, 1919 ~ August 18, 2020 (age 100)


Tryon, NC-- Rewa Marjorie Donley, 100, passed away on August 18, 2020 at her home in Tryon, NC.

Rewa was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. During her formative years in NZ, Rewa was an avid sailor and competed in swimming and basketball. She could often be found in the company of Mervin (brother) and Joyce (sister) sailing the bays, rivers and oceans that make up the coastline of her native land. Shortly after WWII began, she moved to England to attend nursing school over the objections of her mother who wanted her to become a secretary. She and her fellow classmates would occasionally take “holidays” and travel Europe by bicycle. There they’d tour countries like France, Italy and Spain by day and stay in hostels or in residents’ homes along the way at night. After completing her nursing program, she was employed in local hospitals around Kensington England to help with the wounded coming back from the war as well as the citizenry. With the war over, and while working at one of these hospitals, she met her future husband Don. They were wed in April of 1952 and spent the early years of their relationship exploring post-war Europe and England (by car this time). Their first son (Mark) was born in 1956 and three months later Rewa convinced her husband to purchase a boat and sail across the Atlantic to America. Once in the US, and settled in California, Rewa and Don had their second son (Grant) in 1959. Subsequently they moved to Florida and bought their second boat – one that they lived aboard for several years raising and educating their young children. They purchased a house in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida so their children could attend public school and lived there until they graduated from high school. Once schooling was completed, they purchased their third boat and sailed to the Bahamas and other Caribbean ports for several years. Rewa and Don moved to Tryon when they decided it was time to stay on land and have been there ever since. Rewa was a skilled artisan in wood, paint and carving and enjoyed playing bridge, cooking, gardening and taking care of the birds in her yard. She is preceded in death by her husband Don, brother Mervin and sisters Joyce and Ester. She is survived by her sons Mark and Grant as well as eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

A service is to be scheduled. Please visit the website of McFarland Funeral Chapel ( for details on time and place.

Donations in Rewa’s memory may be made in lieu of flowers to any of her favorite charities, Humane Society/SPCA, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association or Hospice of the Carolina Foothills.

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