Donna M. "Meme" Thurlow, 64, died unexpectedly, yet peacefully, following a lifelong illness, Sunday, March 3, 2013 at Knox Center for Long Term Care in Rockland.

Born in Rockland, Nov. 28, 1948, she was the daughter of Guy and Marion Blake Penney. Educated locally, she was a 1967 graduate of Rockland High School. After graduation, Donna worked for a brief time with Tibbetts Industries in Camden.

Following the birth of her two children Donna became a fulltime, stay-at-home mom and devoted her life to taking care of her children. They both remembered their mother as a wonderful cook, always making fresh donuts for the entire family. Her sister-in-law Beth, whom she considered her sister, said Donna was the ‘go to person’ for any recipe.

Donna loved playing games and spending time with her grandchildren. Taking care of her family was her first priority and she looked forward to daily visits from her mother. Together they enjoyed taking car rides and going shopping to Hannaford and JC Penney.

Donna also took great pleasure in spending time at the family camp on Davis Point in Cushing. As a young woman she enjoyed going for boat rides with her friends, and taking picnics out to the rocks. Picking blueberries was another favorite pastime, although the bucket was usually empty before she returned home.

Even after contracting polio as a child, and despite losing the use of her legs, Donna faced each day with a smile and the strength and tenacity that most people could only hope for. Her family said she never complained, and was always thankful for what she had even though she had challenges of her own.

Predeceased by her father, and an aunt Jeanette A. Blake; Donna will be dearly missed by her mother, Marion Penney of Rockland; her son Thomas Merrill Iott Sr. and his companion Paulette Curtis of Owls Head; her daughter Chanda Emery and her husband Tristo of Camden; her brother Richard Penney and his wife Beth "Sis" of Rockland; seven grandchildren, Alexandra Curtis, Cody Iott, Thomas Iott Jr., Ian Iott, Kasey Emery, and twins Reygan and Blake Emery; as well as several nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be announced in the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, Donation Department, 516 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104.

To share a memory or read a full obituary, please visit her Book of Memories at Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland.