Donna Jabara Baker
is honored with a Medium Bench
from Fran Jabara.
Donna Lee Jabara was one of the nine children of incredible parents, Farris and Hannah Jabara, who came to this country from Lebanon in their teens. She and her twin sister Duana were born April 16, 1936 in Burden, KS, where she spent her childhood and where she was a member of the Burden High School girls' basketball team before the family moved to Wichita in 1956.
Donna and Duana, who later became Duana Jabara Starks, attended Wichita State University together. Donna graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Accounting in 1958. While attending Wichita State University Donna was a member of Pi Kappa Psi sorority. She remained very active in Gamma Phi Beta sorority after the two groups were affiliated.
Donna had a broad range of interests, including her love for intellectual pursuits, her love of working with young people and her interest in spectator sports and tennis. As an avid sports enthusiast, she thrived on competition.
Following in the entrepreneurial footsteps of her parents and siblings, Donna became a businesswoman. In 1973 she and her sister Helen Galloway co-founded The First Place, a unique store offering elegant jewelry and gifts to a discerning clientele. A former employee recalls that Donna was always relaxed, expressing her pleasure in serving her customers and taking delight in finding just the right gift for a special person or occasion.
Donna loved her family, and they loved her. After her father's death in 1957 she lived with her mother until her marriage to Loren Baker. She was a beloved wife, stepmother, daughter, sister and aunt. Her nephew, Harvey, honored her memory on the occasion of his marriage to Missy Hettick, a sorority sister in Gamma Phi. Donna and Missy had such a special relationship that she played matchmaker for Missy and Harvey. Harvey recalled her generosity of spirit at his marriage celebration in 1994 when he said: "May this ceremony not only celebrate our unity but also, in a small way, celebrate Donna's life on this earth and our everlasting memory of her. We thank Donna for her good deed, as she is the reason we are here tonight. We know she looks down upon us with a smile on her face. she knows this is a night for joy and happiness."
Donna Jabara Baker bestowed the very essence of style, grace and beauty. She was distinguished for her compassion, her passion, her huge heart, her generosity. Donna's spirit still enriches the lives of all of the family and friends who remember her wisdom, her kindness and her beauty with love and gratitude.
September 16, 1998