Donnie Morgan, loved and respected keeper of the Lillian Manter Youth Hostel, died on Nov. 22 in Chicago, Ill. Taken suddenly by an unexpected heart attack, she had just arrived there for a family gathering. Donnie, born on Oct. 19, 1958, was 58 years old.
Donnie served as dean of students at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in the 1990s, leaving that to care for family and to travel, landing here on the Vineyard in 2000. She stayed on as a staff member at the Manter Hostel for a year, traveled some more, and worked at other hostels, eventually becoming a manager in Buffalo, N.Y., and Eastham on Cape Cod. She returned to manage the Manter Hostel in 2010, and added several other regional hostels to her care since then.
In the tradition of Lillian Manter, she devoted her life to providing the best possible experience for visitors to the Island. Donnie brought a high level of professionalism and devotion to staff, seen in high ratings and numerous international awards. (See Tony Omer’s MV Times article “The Manter Hostel, a welcoming place for travelers,” August 27, 2014.) She will be profoundly missed by the many whose lives she touched and made better for it.
She is survived by her husband, Mike Gambone, who worked closely with her for the past 12 years. She is also survived by two brothers in Virginia, Chris and Steve Morgan, and her uncle from Kentucky, Bill Gooch. She was a devoted mom and grandmother to Mike’s son Tony and his family in Virginia.