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Donna Jean “Fai” Demark

January 8, 2024 | 12 comments

Born June 23, 1952. Died January 7, 2024


Donna Jean “Fai” DeMark was born on June 23, 1952 in Racine, Wisconsin to Joseph R. DeMark and Rosemary (Webers) DeMark. She was the third child of eight siblings- the second daughter. She went to school in Racine, and after graduating from Washington Park High School in 1970, she took college classes at UW Milwaukee earning a B.S. degree in Elementary Education in 1974.. She also worked at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco and later in life she studied Horticulture earning an Associate of Arts and Science from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1997 and a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2013.


Fai lived in Racine, Milwaukee, Madison, San Francisco, Viroqua and finally Onalaska, WI. She met the love of her life, Melani Fay in LaCrosse and they were married in 2015.She loved her family deeply, especially her nieces and nephews and had a great number of devoted friends.Fai was an active Democrat, Feminist and loving wife. Human rights were always extremely important to her and she devoted a considerable amount of time to women’s resource centers including Executive Director of Bluff Country Family Resources, Hokah, MN, November 2013 – January 2016, AIDS research, LGBTQ rights, homelessness and other humanitarian concerns. She loved to travel – once going to Benin, Africa to work with the Peace Corps. Fai loved music, movies, sitcoms, nature, gardening and laughing! She will be missed by all who knew her.


She was preceded in death by her parents and survived by her wife, Melani, her sisters: Diane Santi (Rico), Patti Knower (Charlie), Eileen Arnold (Arne), Terri Russo (Steve); her brothers: Bruce (Nancy), Brian, and Joe (Paula) and numerous nieces and nephews.


A memorial service is planned for this summer. Donations can be made to Bluff Country Family Resources, Hokah, MN,



  1. Susan

    My sincere sympathy to all of Fai’s family. May good memories be a comfort.

  2. Fay Greg

    I will miss her … she was a special lady … a good woman !

  3. Fay Garry

    Fai was such a prize sister. Loved her ways and words.

  4. Amoreena

    Thinking of you, Melani, and sending love and prayers for peace.

  5. Sandi smith

    Rest in peace!

  6. Mike

    My Aunt Fai inspired me at a young age to take risks and serve others. My condolences to Melani and Fai’s friends and family.

  7. Paul DeMark

    Rest in peace cousin Fai. You were always a wonderful

    • Robin Yaffe Tschumper

      Fai was a wonderful woman. I was proud she was hired to replace me at Bluff County Family Resources. I knew she would serve them well. I remember her fondly as fun and exuberant. RIP

  8. Edward Ludwig


  9. Kevin and Kathleen Manske

    Our condolences to Fai’s family.

  10. Betty DeBoer

    We send our sincere condolences to you, Mel, and to all of Fai’s family and loved ones. Fai always had a smile on her face that we will surely miss.

  11. Karen Zammit

    Fai, Fai, Fai. What a wonderful woman. Smart, beautiful, kind, relaxed, compassionate Fai. It saddens me to learn that she has passed. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones. I’m hopeful that someone could use my email to inform me of her memorial service this summer. And Fai… You’re unforgettable.

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