Meet the Board: Donna Potter Phillips

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee, six standing committee chairs and three appointed non-elected officers? Who are all these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them.

Donna Potter Phillips

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Donna Potter Phillips. Donna lives in Spokane and is WSGS’s Vice President, Communication Chair, on the Blog Team, and Region 7 Representative for Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Stevens Counties. She also served as WSGS Vice President a number of years ago. She is a proud member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society where she has been president (twice!), program chair, newsletter editor and held “jack of all” jobs. She is currently EWGS’s Federation of Genealogical Societies’ representative and Education chair.

Besides being a member of WSGS (since 1984) and EWGS, Donna is a member of the Mayflower Society, DAR, St. Clair County (Illinois) Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, Whitman County Genealogical Society and the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society. In addition, Donna was named a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2008 and 2014. That’s a lot of genealogy, but that’s what Donna does!

Donna, age 5

Donna Ruth Potter was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan to Francis Harold and June Magdalen (Gurney) Potter. She was named for the heroine Lady Dona in Daphne Du Maurier’s 1941 novel “Frenchman’s Creek.”

Donna and her husband John are the proud parents of three, grandparents of eight and great-grandparents of 2-3/4 great-granddaughters.

Donna’s been interested in genealogy for more than 40 years – since she first learned she was a direct descendant of Englishman William Bradford of the Mayflower. She got “hooked” in 1971, joined EWGS in 1976 and has been researching, sharing, educating and promoting genealogy ever since. One of her favorite experiences was going with her son Benjamin and his son Austin to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane to see a B-52 bomber jet on display. According to the serial number on the plane, it was one Donna’s father flew as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force. Such serendipity! And speaking of “serendipity,” Donna publishes a weekly feature on the WSGS Blog called “Friday Serendipity” – assorted musings to entertain one and all. She also publishes “Monday Mystery,” “Tuesday Trivia,” and “Wednesday Nostalgia.”

On Donna’s ever-growing genealogy To Do List:
• Get all her genealogy research and information in order in case…well, you know.
• Upload her photos to
• Put her family tree on Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage.
• Make sure her list of contacts and passwords are updated.

When Donna’s not doing genealogy, she enjoys gardening (both inside and out), reading, rock collecting, taking educational classes and travel, including her ancestral homelands: Germany, England and Wales. She’s also a devoted dachshund lover!

A few more interesting tidbits about Donna:
• Favorite genealogy sites: Ancestry, FamilySearch and the Washington Digital Archives
• Favorite color: red
• Favorite dessert: Anything chocolate
• Word or phrase that describes her: Outspokenly energetic!

Now you know a little more about another of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Donna, say hello and thank her for her service to WSGS.

One comment on “Meet the Board: Donna Potter Phillips

  1. Donna Ruttan says:

    Very nice history of Donna. Thank you.

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