Jeannine McDonel

December 5, 1936 - September 17, 2017

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   Jeannine Annette McDonel passed away in Westfield, Indiana on the afternoon of September 17, 2017 while under Hospice care for an extended illness.

   Jeannine is predeceased by her father Maurice E. Stapley, her mother Margarita M. Tarbox Stapley, and her brother Keith E. Stapley.

   Jeannine is survived by her husband Tinh Man Nguy, her devoted partner of 35 years. They were married in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 15, 2007.

   Jeannine will be missed by her three children, Elizabeth C. “Betsy” McDonel Herr, Bruce D. McDonel, and Anna M. Robinson, whom she shared with former spouse Bernard L. McDonel.  Also grieving are her sister Paula D. Stapley, and her son-in-law Paul M. Herr. She leaves behind with fond memories and best wishes a large cast of talented younger family members including a grandchild, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and their children, and in-laws whose lives she followed intently. Gratitude is extended to friends who called and visited in the last months of her life.

   Born in Hammond, Indiana on December 5, 1936, Jeannine graduated from Bloomington High School and earned a B.A. in English at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis later in life after raising her children. At heart a writer and an artist, her spirit of adventure and creativity imbued every project she approached. As a professional educator, technical writer, editor, and graphic presentation developer and artist, she worked in settings small and large from the Topics Newspapers, Indianapolis and Culver City High Schools, and American Art Clay Company Inc., to General Dynamics and Eli Lilly & Co. Jeannine’s many contributions have appeared in corporate publications and presentations around the world.

   Jeannine was a bold, well-respected and successful neighborhood activist in downtown Indianapolis. She directed her varied skills toward community development such as holding formal office in neighborhood associations, organizing holiday charity events, writing funded grants, and creating media for festivals and events, significantly improving the lives of community residents. She was a personal motivator and editorial mentor to family, friends, and colleagues as she helped them polish their words and projects for professional purposes. She and her husband Tinh collected vintage and antique furniture and objects in need of refurbishing and reimagining. Together, they masterfully brought those items to new life, showcased in a downtown Victorian home they renovated and shared for most of her adult life. She blossomed into an accomplished painter in retirement. As her physical mobility diminished she sustained connection with family, friends, and community by transforming photographs of their ventures into subject matter for her inspired canvasses. Her artwork graces many homes. As a lover of words and a good story, she read widely in fiction, the sciences, politics, and the arts. She often quipped about her own death notice, suggesting it merely say “Here lies Jeannine McDonel/writer/editor/English teacher, who lived in the present progressive tense, and suggests that you go and do likewise.”

Send Condolence

Jeannine was a wonderful neighbor- she will be missed.  I am truly sorry for your loss.

   Rob Diegel