Donna Marie Passamonte

Jan. 25, 1959 - March 16, 2016

Donna Marie Passamonte, who lived on Gingerbread Lane in East Hampton Village until 2002, died at the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead on March 16 at the age of 57. The cause of death was pneumonia, her sister-in-law, Diane Rogers Passamonte, said.

Ms. Passamonte, who was born on Jan. 25, 1959, at Southampton Hospital, was a year and a half old when she contracted encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain often caused by an infection, after being stung by a wasp. She suffered severe brain damage, her family said, and spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Her mother, the former Jessie Zelinski, cared for her until she was almost 80, at which time Ms. Passamonte went to live at the Independent Group Home Living in East Moriches.

Her mother died in 2011; her father, Charles Passamonte, had died many years before.

All these years later, the Passamonte family is still grateful for the many women in the East Hampton community who tried to help her sister-in-law, Diane Passamonte said. In the 1960s, they assisted with the process known as “patterning,” which is said to help with neurological development.

Donna Marie Passamonte is survived by her older brother, Charles Justin Passamonte of Springs. She also leaves a cousin, Gary DeAmario, and his wife, Ursula DeAmario, of East Hampton, who remained close to her.

A funeral Mass was said at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton on March 19, followed by burial at the church cemetery. Memorial donations have been suggested to the Independent Group Home Living Program Inc., 65 Pine Street, East Moriches 11940.