Mignon Donaldson, Former First Lady Mayor of Aurora, Ohio Dies
At the age of 90, Mignon Donaldson, nee Farkas, passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 21, 2017. She is the beloved mother of Kristine Schwab (Robert) and Stephen Donaldson Sr. (Carol). She is also the beloved grandmother of Stephen Donaldson, Jr. and Courtney Donaldson. She is the daughter of the former Hungarian Consul in Cleveland, the late Stephen Farkas and his late beloved wife Edith Farkas Kohankie (Henry). Mignon was also the beloved sister of the late Stephen A. Farkas (Iona). She is the aunt of 7 nieces and 2 nephews and has numerous great nephews and nieces. Mignon was a graduate of Shaker Heights High School and Flora Stone Mather College (now Case Western Reserve University) where she graduated with a degree in languages. She was fluent in French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, and English. Despite being born in Cleveland, her first language was Hungarian, and she did not start learning English until she went to kindergarten.
Mignon went to work for Ohio Bell as a phone operator then moving into customer service. She received an opportunity to work for the superintendent of the Shaker Heights City Schools where she worked until she had her first child. She then managed apartments so she could be at home with her child. After having her second child and moving from her apartment, Mignon did a lot of volunteer work with the Warrensville City Schools assisting in their Distributive Education Career Assistance program by helping to find employers for students while they were in school that would lead them into a career after their graduation.
In 1966, the Donaldsons moved to Aurora where Mignon was asked by the Plain Dealer if she would be a stringer, going to city meetings, taking notes and writing up short articles about the town’s government. Aurora, being a growing community, was becoming the focus of a lot of new development. Because Mignon had become so knowledgeable about Aurora, she was persuaded to run for mayor. In 1978, she became the mayor with the sole intent of helping Aurora flourish into a well run city with proper city services and city facilities. Before Mignon left her post as mayor, she had set in motion the plans for building the new fire station, police station, and service center. In 2016, just before Mignon turned 90, the current Mayor of Aurora, Ann Womer Benjamin invited her back to see what her vision had accomplished and to present her with the key to the city. It was the ultimate honor of her career.
Mignon kept active in later years. She was secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary Greater Cuyahoga Lodge #75 for many years, and she was secretary with the Shaker Heights Alumni and their Hall of Fame. She also worked for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections setting up voting places and counting ballots. She often assisted friends needing rides to the store and doctor’s appointments. Mignon was a very caring and loving person.
The family has made arrangements for a private memorial service at Kindrich-McHugh Steinbauer Funeral Home in Solon, Oh. Mignon requested that in lieu of flowers, thoughtful donations to the Alzheimer’s Association 23215 Commerce Park Dr. #300 Beachwood, Oh 44122, the Hungarian Museum 1301 E 9th St #2 Cleveland, Oh 44114, and the No Kill Animal Shelter Northeast Ohio SPCA 9555 Brookpark Rd. Parma, Oh 44129 could be made.