Donna La Rue passed away on January 1, 2023. She was born on January 27, 1953, in Lenoir, North Carolina, and spent her early years in Ohio. She had stage 4 ovarian cancer.
Donna Marie LaRue was born to Donald Ellis LaRue and Mary Colvill LaRue, the first of their four children. She was raised in Grandview Heights, Ohio a close suburb of Columbus. Donna is survived by sister, Anna LaRue, brothers Larry and Gary LaRue and niece Kyra LaRue.
Music infected Donna at a young age, learning accordion in first grade. Ballet lessons, First Community Church choirs, school bands, drama, swing choir were all taken in stride. She continued her faith,, music and dance at The Ohio State University in addition to performing professionally at restaurants etc in Columbus before moving on to a larger stage on the East Coast.
Donna lived her adult life in Boston and its adjacent communities. She will be remembered as an independent scholar and educator. She brought her scholarship to her service as a Tour Guide for the colonial burying grounds in Boston and Cambridge. On given occasions she would dress as a colonial matron, “Mistress Elizabeth,” and offered ample engagement to wide-eyed spectators for her special sensitivity to material culture. She brought the dead to life. Donna was a musician and was frequently engaged to play her accordion which she did with a special joie de vivre.
She was dedicated to her work as an independent scholar. In this she focused on the visual and performative liturgical arts, considering the place of the arts in the life of faith. She worked with French medieval manuscripts from Sens Cathedral, looking particularly at those referring to dance, music, theater, and ritual and processional movement. In seeking to understand the context of medieval dance, she explored medieval dance iconography; period dance terms and dance music; and the use of medieval civic and liturgical spaces for ritual and performative movement. No obscurantist, she maintained an active interest in dance in the present, having directed and choreographed for several dance choirs; taught workshops at national and international conferences; and written commentary and critical works on dance and music performance in the present. Donna’s academic teaching has been in the related area of the visual arts, art and architecture history, and the place of the arts in the life of faith.
Donna worked as a volunteer for many of the programs of the Boston Theological Institute. She supervised an annual ecumenical service, supervised a certificate of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) in Liturgy, Worship, and the Arts, and led in the development of a Choirfest for the ten theological schools of the BTI. Donna was a faithful participant in the weekly eucharist at Harvard Divinity School.
After 2016 Donna served as Executive Assistant and Assistant Editor for the Lord's Day Alliance of the U. S. In that capacity she assisted the Director in producing programs, semi-annual Board of Managers meetings, and related materials. She edited articles, located visuals, and provided short bios for twice-yearly 'eSunday Magazine' (ldausa.org).
She was a friend of the homeless and of progressive social causes. She worshipped at Christ Church, Cambridge, and in other ecumenical settings. She was a highly motivated team player with a sense of humor and a willingness to assist others to achieve their goals in a timely and effective manner. A memorial service is being planned 11 am, March 18, 2023 at Christ Church Cambridge (contact Rev. Kate Ekrem at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Melissa Hirshson at email@example.com).