Cover photo for CAROL CRAM DONLEY's Obituary
1937 CAROL 2023


November 14, 1937 — April 3, 2023

Carol Cram Donley, of Hiram, Ohio, died April 3, 2023 at the David Simpson House of the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, due to complications from COVID-19. She was 85 years old. Prior to falling ill in early March, she had lived independently.

Born Carol Louise Cram in Cleveland, Ohio on November 14, 1937, Carol was the eldest child of Spencer Erwin Cram and Jean Stiven Cram. She grew up in Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights, attending Malvern elementary and Roxboro junior high schools and graduated from Hathaway Brown school. Her distinguished academic career might reasonably be traced to getting sent to the principal’s office during grade school for burping the alphabet. She attended Mount Holyoke College for three years, majoring in religion, and finished her undergraduate education at Hiram College with a degree in biology and general science.

She met her future husband, Alan Donley, at a dance in the basement of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, while both were in the seventh grade. They were married in the same church in 1958.

Their three children, Gregory (Greg), Karen, and Theodore (Ted), were born in 1961, 1963, and 1966, respectively. In 1966, the family moved 30 miles southeast from Cleveland Heights to Hiram, Ohio, when Al took a job with the Hiram College admissions and financial aid office.

In the late 1960s, she returned to school and earned a master’s degree in English from Kent State University (KSU) in 1970, then in 1975 earned a PhD from KSU with a dissertation exploring the interrelationships of literature and physics in the early 20th century. In 1998 she earned a master’s degree in medical bioethics from Case Western Reserve University. She began teaching part-time at Hiram in the 1970s and went on to a long career at the college. She was the Andrews Professor of Biomedical Humanities and Professor of English. From 1990-2007 she co-directed the Center for Literature and Medicine at Hiram with her colleague, Martin Kohn, with whom she co-authored and co-edited 19 books, in the literature and medicine series of Kent State University Press. Along with Dr. Kohn, she directed the annual summer seminars in literature and medicine at Hiram College. These seminars, designed for health care professionals, ethicists, theologians, and literary scholars, used drama and other literary works to examine human relationships in health care contexts.

Her academic and professional honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the Vencl/Carr Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Coleman College Educator of the Year. Her professional memberships include the Society for Literature and Science, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Association of Practical and Professional Ethics, William Carlos Williams Society, and the Executive Committee of the Literature and Science Division of the MLA (81-86). She was Chairperson of the Hiram College Faculty 1988–1990. Her book publications include Einstein as Myth and Muse, co-authored with Alan Friedman (Cambridge University Press, 1985. Paperback, 1989. Japanese edition, 1989); Literature and Aging: An Anthology, co-authored with Martin Kohn and Delese Wear (Kent State University Press, 1992); The Tyranny of the Normal: An Anthology, co-authored with Sheryl Buckley, M.D. (Kent State University Press, 1995); What’s Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders, co-authored with Sheryl Buckley, M.D. Kent State University Press, 2000; Recognitions: Doctors and their Stories, edited by Carol Donley and Martin Kohn. (KSU Press, 2002); and 15 other anthologies.

Carol (usually joined by Al for at least part of the time) led a number of college-sponsored trips to Ireland, England, and continental Europe, often forming lasting relationships with the students and other faculty who participated.

Starting in the 1970s, Carol maintained an expansive vegetable garden next to their house in Hiram, and family dinners made good use of that bounty. She and Al became active in Christ Church, Hudson, in the 1980s, returning to their Episcopal roots, and remained members at that church thereafter. They taught Sunday school classes and acted as confirmation sponsors for high schoolers. They both served terms on the church vestry, and both participated in Education for Ministry. They traveled to Ireland to serve as Episcopal lay ministers in Sligo. Both became active in Kiwanis, supporting its emphasis on service to children.

In retirement, she returned to a longtime love of drawing and painting, taking classes in watercolor and producing lovely cards and finished compositions of birds and flowers, as well as many landscapes based on photographs from her children.

In 2022, Dr. Tom Andrews, Hiram College trustee, converted the Andrews Professorship in Biomedical Humanities to the Carol Donley Professorship in Biomedical Humanities. In March 2023, she won the Health Humanities Consortium’s Lifetime Achievement & Service Award.

Her husband Alan died in 2020. She is survived by her children Gregory of Cleveland Heights, Karen of Garrettsville, and Theodore of Worthington; by sister Marjorie of Toledo and brother Roger of Hiram; by 12 nieces and nephews; by grandchildren Andrew of Streetsboro and Gwendolyn of Cleveland Heights; and by great-grandchild Mira. She was predeceased by her parents and her younger brother, Richard.

Please join the family for a memorial visitation on Friday, May 12, 2023, 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 8382 Center St., Garrettsville, OH 44231. A memorial celebration will be held at on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 3:00 P.M. at Christ Church Episcopal, 21 Aurora St., Hudson, OH 44236.

In lieu of flowers, donors are asked to support the Carol Donley Endowed Scholarship at Hiram College, 11715 Garfield Rd, Hiram, OH 44234, or Christ Church Episcopal, 21 Aurora St., Hudson, OH 44236, in Carol’s name, to honor her memory.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of CAROL CRAM DONLEY, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Friday, May 12, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson Funeral Home & Cremation Services

8382 Center Street, Garrettsville, OH 44231

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 13, 2023

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Christ Church Episcopal

21 Aurora Street, Hudson, OH 44236

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 71

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree