Barbara Ann Eld1

b. 14 October 1936, d. 7 February 2019
Barbara Eld Donaldson
February 7 2019
Barbara Eld Donaldson
February 7 2019
Barbara Eld Donaldson
February 7 2019
Barbara Eld Donaldson
February 7 2019
     Barbara Ann Eld married William Edward Donaldson. She was born on 14 October 1936. She died on 7 February 2019 at age 82; BARBARA'S OBITUARY
Barbara Ann (Eld) Donaldson, 82, of Hagerstown, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at her home.

Born October 14, 1936, in Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of the late Ralph Walter and Hazel Dorthea (Stoughton) Eld.

Barbara was a 1955 graduate of Hagerstown High School and attended the University of Maryland.

Barbara owned and operated Starland Roller Rink, a business her parents opened in 1946, when she was 10 years old. She considered her customers as her family.

Barbara is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, William Edward Donaldson; her daughter, Lori Shillingburg and better half, Steve Bussard; her son, Bret Donaldson and wife Kimberly Kirkland; three grandchildren, James Tyler Shillingburg, Seyth Alan Kretzer, Stephan Phillips; a great-granddaughter, Keylee Grace Kretzer; and many friends.

A funeral service will be held at 1:00pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at Rest Haven Funeral Home, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, with Pastor Richard Daughtridge officiating. Burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Monday from 5-8pm at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made in Barbara's name to offset funeral expenses to Rest Haven Funeral Home, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21742.


  1. Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in this
    continuing series takes a look back – through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others – at
    a member of the community who died recently. Today’s “A Life Remembered” is about Barbara Ann
    (Eld) Donaldson, who died Feb. 7 at the age of 82. Her obituary was published in the Feb. 9 edition
    of The Herald-Mail.

    You can’t mention Barbara “Barb” Donaldson without Starland Roller Rink and vice versa. The
    names are synonymous, and for good reason.
    She has been the lifeblood of the roller rink, which has served as a safe haven for generations of
    Washington County youths, and more.
    Starland is in its 73rd year, and Barb has been there for all of it. An only child, she was 10 when her
    parents, Ralph and Hazel Eld, bought the vacant rink on Park Road.
    The family moved from Philipsburg, Pa., where they had a roller rink, and lived in an apartment
    above the Hagerstown rink.
    Barb helped at the rink and skated competitively in the artistic category, which is like dancing on
    skates. She also taught skating lessons.
    Her youthful look betrayed her 82 years.
    “I said the kids kept her young. She loved the kids,” said daughter Lori Shillingburg of Hagerstown.
    Christina DeVivio of Clear Spring said she was like many other skaters during her growing-up years.
    Parents knew that Starland was a safe place for their children to spend time.
    They trusted Barb to keep an eye on their kids and knew that Barb treated everyone fairly and didn’t
    tolerate bad behavior.
    “Her spirit was so big. I never thought about what it would be like without her here,” Christina said.
    Christina started skating when she was about 7 and became a competitive skater. She still skates at
    Starland 28 years later.
    “So this was family. This was a big part of my role model growing up, Barb and Lori. She was the
    spirit of Starland and my safe haven,” Christina said of Barb.
    Early years
    Barb graduated from Hagerstown High School in 1955 and earned a bachelor’s degree from
    University of Maryland in College Park.
    After college, she was a substitute teacher, while working at Starland. Barb got married and gave
    birth to Lori.
    “Her life revolved around here, the whole way through,” Lori said of the family-run roller rink.
    After her first marriage ended in divorce, Barb met William “Bill” Donaldson through a mutual friend.
    He worked at the Job Corps Center near Camp David.
    They got married in July 1966. Bill was transferred to Bar Harbor, Maine, where son Bret Donaldson
    was born.
    The family moved back to the area two weeks after Bret’s birth and Bill started a job with the
    Veterans Administration Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va.
    In time, they bought a house in Boonsboro. Family life revolved around the rink, and both children
    were competitive skaters who became coaches.
    “We were all rollin’ at 15 months,” Lori said.
    “People say it was a sheltered life, but it was a good sheltered life in these walls. So many people
    said they would never have made it without Mom.”

    Bret did both artistic skating and racing competitively. When it became too much to do both, he
    chose racing, which he still does.
    “We were that family. Most families don’t see each other every day,” Bret said.
    Even though Bill wasn’t a competitive skater, he became a coach by studying other skater’s
    techniques. He coached Bret and they traveled all over the country for competitions and for the
    nationals tour, Bret said.
    He said even though he traveled primarily with his father, his mother was his biggest fan.
    “If it wasn’t for the rink, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities racing and the travel that I had,” Bret
    “Even for a mom-and-pop rink, what we’ve accomplished at the national level, who we’ve coached.”
    Miss Barb, as she was known by most at the rink, was quick to give warnings for bad behavior, but
    she was also all about giving people a second and third chance.
    Jodie Zanolini of Funkstown has been skating at Starland since she was a child and helps out at the
    rink as though she were family.
    “There was no hanky- panky. You didn’t get away with anything. She could just give you a look,”
    Jodie said of Barb.
    If a skater split a seam, Barb was quick to pull out a sewing kit she kept at the rink and with a few
    quick stitches, had the skater out on the rink.
    “She reached out and touched so many people. Everybody just loved her,” Lori said.
    There are memories of countless birthday parties, church youth group events and skating on days
    off from school. Lori’s wedding reception, Christina’s bridal shower and even a wedding were held at
    The Starland Facebook page was flooded with postings from people sharing memories of Barb and
    the positive impact she and the roller rink had on their lives.
    The family has been overwhelmed by the number of cards they’ve received, as well.
    “My mom carried on a legacy of my grandfather,” Bret said.
    Away from the rink
    It wasn’t all life on skates for the family. Lori said her parents enjoyed traveling, and Bill’s interest in
    history led the family to destinations such as Williamsburg, Va.
    They enjoyed beach vacations to Nags Head, N.C., when Lori was in elementary school, back when
    the beach was undiscovered and they didn’t have to share it with others.
    Both children graduated from Boonsboro High School. Barb made sure her children knew they could
    consider “life outside of the rink,” that they weren’t expected to follow in the family legacy, unless
    they wanted to.
    Owning a small business was a big commitment and required 24/7 availability. That dedication made
    Christmas dinner, which Barb loved hosting at her home, all the more special.
    “It was about the only time we had off to enjoy each other. That was very important to her,” Lori said.
    Bill retired in 1998 and about that time, he and Barb moved to a home on Landis Road in
    Unexpected departure
    Barb had been ignoring a croupy cough all week and Lori suggested going to the doctor. Barb had no time for the doctor as she worried about getting W-2 tax forms done on time.

    Besides managing the rink, Barb lovingly cared for her husband of 52 years. Bill has Alzheimer’s
    disease and enjoyed spending time at the rink, still able to pick up a broom when needed to help as
    he can.
    Barb hadn’t been at the rink as much in the past six to eight months as she cared for Bill, but she
    always checked in with Lori to find out how the skating sessions went and who was there.
    “She would remember everybody. It was unbelievable, just unbelievable,” Lori said.
    “She loved being up there, because she just loved connecting with people. That was the hardest part
    of the last year. She was a social butterfly. That was her adrenaline, being around people.”
    Lori arrived at her parent’s home on Feb. 7 to find them both snoozing in the living room. When she
    couldn’t wake Barb up, Lori called 911 and started doing CPR, with Bill’s assistance, but to no avail.
    “Mom just wore out,” Lori said.
    Bret will miss the conversations he and his mom had about skating and the people they knew.
    “Everybody knew my mom and dad in skating,” Bret said.
    Lori will miss hearing her mother’s voice on a daily basis. Lori called Barb every morning over coffee
    and they came up with a plan for the day, complete with a to-do list.
    “As a mom, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Lori said.

    Janet Heim
    Janet Heim writes the Sunday feature "A Life Remembered."