Donna Mason Adams passed away January 20, 2024, after a valiant two-year battle with cancer. She was deeply loved by her family, her husband, and dozens of friends and former students. Donna was born June 28, 1964, in Burbank, CA. Her parents, Esther and Jerry Mason, raised 3 children in the San Fernando Valley. She was the youngest of the family and the only girl. The family enjoyed living all throughout Southern CA and eventually rooted in Encino, where her love for art and horses grew from when Donna attended Castlemont Elementary until she graduated from Chatsworth High School.
She went on to Pierce College and Cal State Northridge, where Donna found her love of sculpting and continued to nurture her studio work for decades to come; winning contests, participating in dozens of art exhibits, and having her sculptures displayed in galleries all over the country. Soon after college, Donna married and welcomed 2 children: her son, Vaughn, and daughter, Rachael.
After divorcing, the family settled in Thousand Oaks, where Donna continued to showcase her art and teach art classes, both independently and throughout the Conejo Valley within parks and recreation, senior centers, and the school district including 25 years with Madrona Elementary.
Donna truly loved working with students, teaching the wonders of color, texture, and imagination. Alongside her passion for teaching art, she was an animal lover and rescuer. She spent many years caring for horses and contributed to a robust horse community for which she fostered a connection between animal lovers and was beloved by all. She loved adventuring whether it be hiking on the local trails or navigating the terrain of a foreign country.
A pivotal event in her life was meeting her love, Matthew Burke, in 2007 where their magnanimous smiles and laughter delighted each other during an art exhibit at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. Donna is survived by her husband Matthew, son Vaughn Adams, daughter Rachael Gildea (Sean), and grandson Owen.
She was predeceased by her parents Esther (2009) and Jerry (2012). She was widely known for her remarkable loving and light-hearted energy, and will always be remembered for her radiant smile, enthusiasm for life, and beautiful spirit.
Donna asked that donations in her memory be made to PanCAN – the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (Donate to Donna’s Tribute Page Here), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) , and/or The Nature Conservancy because she never wanted animals to be without love and felt deeply connected to nature and the environment.
Donna and family at PanCAN’s Purple Stride run in 2023.
A memorial service is planned at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks on March 12. Further details have not yet been finalized.
DONNA’S ART CLASS + STUDENT’S ARTWORK
DONNA + THE SINGER BURKE STAFF