Donna Sue Groves Death – Donna Sue Groves has died on November 13 at the age of 73. Sue is best known for having created the concept of barn quilt trails, a grassroots public art project. She was born on June 9, 1948, in Creed, West Virginia, to the late Warren Blaine Groves and Nina Maxine Green Groves. Donna Sue graduated from Charleston High School and attended West Virginia University before moving to Xenia, Ohio with her parents. In 1974, she was elected as Xenia City Commissioner, she helped rebuild the city after a devastating tornado.
The “clothesline of quilts” started in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio, with neighbors agreeing to be part of a driving trail for which they would hang painted wood squares that resembled blocks in a quilt on their barns. Donna Sue was a proud, sixth-generation Appalachian who never forgot her roots. For more than forty years, Donna Sue was devoted to helping Appalachian artists and underserved communities. Her true passion for uplifting her community continued through her roles at the Community Development Corporations VISTA project (Volunteers in Service to America), Ohio’s Appalachian Arts Initiative, and the Ohio Arts Council.
Sue earned a lot of awards and honors which includes; the 2001 Friends of Southern State Community College; the 2004 Outstanding Philanthropist by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio; the 2006 Sinclair College Wayne White — Unsung Hero Award; the 2010 Friend of the Arts by Ohio’s Appalachian Country; and the 2010 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Community Development and Participation. Donna Sue was also given the Jenco Award from the Jenco Foundation Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio in 2004, and again in 2015 in recognition of her model service and leadership throughout the region.
Donna lost her job with the Ohio Arts Council in the nationwide recession in 2008, at the age of 60, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. A year later, filmmaker Julianne Donofrio met Donna Sue and documented her personal health struggles, and the impact of the barn quilt trails in the award-winning film Pieced Together. In 2012, Donna Sue and Suzi Parron co-authored the book Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement.
The cause of her death has not been posted to the public. Donna’s funeral arrangements and obituary will be officially her family.
Photo Credits – PiecedTogether