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Donna Keister Brings Her Talents to UVTO’s Window Shoppe

By Carol Keochekian

Donna Boileau Keister has spent most of her life in Southern California. Born in Pomona, Calif., when it was dominated by orange trees, smudge pots, and open spaces. Donna grew up in a close, quiet community. She spent many vacations in the mountains and deserts, her dad being a geologist. Her grandfather and uncle ran and expanded Home Oil Company, an oil and gasoline distributor in the Pomona Valley. Her dad also worked there and became part owner.

Donna attended La Verne College for two years and then enrolled in USC where she obtained two teaching credentials—one in general elementary and one in kindergarten/primary. She also had a second major in music. While there she was part of the college chorus and traveled throughout California to perform. During her enrollment at USC, she also became engaged to Richard Keister. He had grown up only a block from her in Pomona and attended the same high school, but they really didn’t get acquainted until they re-met at USC.

In January 1962, Richard graduated and was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy, and married Donna on February 4. Following their wedding, the Keisters moved to the Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia for six months training and then to Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego, for two weeks where he received nuclear weapons training.

Richard was assigned to Midway Island when his training was complete, and Donna soon followed when a job in teaching became available. Every aspect of her education came into play with her Midway position. In the first year there she taught science, civics, and physics. In the following five months, Donna taught Algebra 1 and 2, Plane Geometry, and 7th and 8th-grade math. Donna remembers going to bed at 2:00 a.m. finishing her class and student assignments.

Port Hueneme was Richard’s next (and final) post as supply officer, although he stayed in the active reserves for 22 years. After the move to Ventura County, the couple lived in Oxnard for eight years and later made their home in Camarillo. Donna taught first grade in Oxnard until their second child was born in 1965 and then left teaching until their children, Bryon and Cheryl, were in school. She resumed teaching in 1972 at Ocean View Elementary School in Oxnard and the family relocated to Camarillo. After 33½ years of teaching, Donna retired from teaching, and the Keisters were now grandparents to nine grandchildren.

In February 2018, the Keisters moved to University Village. Once settled in, Donna called to see if volunteers were needed for the Window Shoppe and learned that there were only three volunteers. This was in April 2018. In July the head volunteer moved to La Costa Glenn, and Donna became the manager and only volunteer. The other two volunteers had served for the previous five years and retired.

Donna had 10 years of experience running garage sales for the Philanthropic Education Organization (P.E.O.), and so she moved ahead here. She put out requests for more volunteers to sign up, and nine ladies responded. The Shoppe membership continues to grow and today there are around 23 volunteers.

One month after the Window Shoppe held a very successful jewelry sale in February, Covid-19 pushed into California, and the store had to close down along with all activities in University Village. Finally, on July 8, the Window Shoppe was allowed to reopen outdoors on the dining room patio from 10:00 a.m. to noon every Wednesday morning. All of the revenue from the Window Shoppe goes to the Employee Appreciation Fund.