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Donna Varnau: 1945-2023


Donna Maronde Varnau, 77, with her family at her side, breathed her last in her Edmonds home on May 7, 2023, after a rapid decline from pancreatic cancer.

She was born on Dec. 5, 1945, in Los Angeles, California, to Dr. Robert Francis and Margaret Mary Maronde. Donna grew up in San Marino, California, as the second of four children.

In her early life, Donna enjoyed her annual family trips to Wyoming, where she developed her love of horses and the outdoors. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and then spent five years in France, teaching and working with the mentally handicapped.

Upon her return to the U.S., Donna married David Varnau and lived in the Los Angeles area until she, David, and their two small children relocated to Lynnwood in 1984.

Fluent in French as well as Spanish, Donna taught both subjects in the Edmonds School District at middle- and high-school levels. In 1992, Donna acquired a master's degree from Antioch University in Seattle and began her work as a psychotherapist, continuing her practice until just three weeks before her death.

Her pioneering work in Embodied Presence counseling was on the cutting edge of personal growth and spirituality, and garnered clients from across the U.S. and Canada.

After relocating with her spouse to Edmonds in 2007, Donna realized her dream of installing a sacred labyrinth in her garden, which was featured in

The Seattle Times. Their labyrinth is listed on the worldwide labyrinth locator and it, together with their garden, has repeatedly received accolades from master gardeners.

A certified labyrinth facilitator, Donna was devoted to sharing her meditation path and hosted annual candlelight winter solstice labyrinth walks, providing a source of year-end reflection for neighbors and local friends.

A gifted fiddler, Donna was much beloved by fellow musicians in the Northwest Scottish Fiddlers, with whom she shared her love of Scottish fiddle music and for whom she hosted monthly fiddle jams in her home.

Donna loved to travel, and planned an astounding number of international trips, which she enthusiastically shared with her family and friends. Those shared adventures were family highlights and served as a source of bonding for the family over the years.

All self-guided, the trips she skillfully designed included walking the Grand Randonee routes in France, the Ring Walk of Hilltop Towns of Tuscany, the Camino de Santiago, the Lycian Way in Turkey, the St. Francis Way in Italy, the Amalfi Coast Trail, the Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku in Japan, and a Cotswold's Ramble in the English countryside.

Bicycle trips were also a favorite of Donna's and included the Loire Valley in France, the Dolomites to Venice route, the Canal Route in Alsace, the Mincio River Route in Italy, and the Canal du Midi in France.

While traveling, she typically was planning the next trip on her bucket list. At the time of her early death, she and David were scheduled to be walking in Scotland on yet another trip; she was looking forward to playing her backpack fiddle in Scottish pubs.

Donna is survived by her spouse, David Varnau; son Gregory Varnau; daughter Heather Varnau; son-in-law Christopher Aiken; grandson Henry Aiken; granddaughter Abigail Aiken; as well as her brothers, Robert Maronde, James Maronde and Craig Maronde.

In her passing to the other shore, Donna is our bridge to eternity.

In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation in Donna's name to her favorite charity, www.focusing.org.