Cover photo for Donna Oakes Dills's Obituary
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1941 Donna 2023

Donna Oakes Dills

July 7, 1941 — November 6, 2023


Donna Oakes Dills born July 7, 1941 in Lynchburg, VA passed away in her sleep early in the morning on November 6, 2023. Donna was married to and predeceased by the love of her life and husband of 62 years, Dennis Brent Dills. Her parents Frances and Darrel Oakes, sisters Frances Reams (Dick), Betty Smythe (David) Barbara Mohesky (Gene) also predeceased her. She is survived by daughters Stuart Dills West, Lee Dills Henry (Steve), grandsons Brent West, Jake West, Jackson Henry, Carter Henry, sister Priss Riley (Bill), brother Dewey Oakes (Cathy) as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. 

Donna grew up in Lynchburg, VA. She graduated from EC Glass High School where she was a cheerleader and met Dennis Dills. The two were a force whose love story spanned over 6 decades. They went to college in Farmville. Donna was at Longwood University and Dennis at Hampden-Sydney College. They married after their freshman year on December 17, 1960. Together they started Dills Sandwich Service. While he was off in class, Donna made sandwiches for Dennis to sell to the students in the evening. She was very proud of her kitchen’s Grade A certification from the health department. Donna and Dennis travelled during Dennis’ time in the United States Navy. After the Navy, they settled in Raleigh, NC where they made many lifelong friends. Donna dedicated her life to caring for Dennis and “the girls”. She volunteered her time at the Episcopal churches over the years and in the many cities where they lived. After Raleigh, they lived in Winston-Salem, NC, Edina, MN, and Atlanta, GA. She had several jobs along the way working in marketing, real estate, and consignment shops. She helped start a homeless shelter ministry in Winston-Salem and was on the vestry at the churches they attended. In addition, she supported Dennis and the girls in everything they pursued. Her pride and joy are her 4 grandsons who affectionately call her “Dingma”. 

A Celebration of Life service will be held for Dennis and Donna on Friday November 10th at 11:00am at Trinity Episcopal Church 104 Walnut Hollow Road Lynchburg, VA 24503. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Donna’s name to Trinity Episcopal Church,, the Westminster Canterbury Foundation Lynchburg, VA or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.  

The family would like to thank all the staff at Westminster Canterbury Lynchburg, VA for their wonderful care. 

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donna Oakes Dills, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, November 10, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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