Donna Summer died aged sixty-three at her home in Naples, Florida,U.S.A. on 17th May 2012. Her funeral service was held in Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, on the afternoon of May 23rd 2012. The funeral service was closed by David Foster and Natalie Grant performing "The Prayer". Guests followed the black hearse with Donna Summer's body to the Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens cemetery in Nashville, where her remains were interred.
Donna was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on December 31st 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA to Andrew and Mary Gaines, and was one of seven children. She was raised in the Boston neighborhood of Mission Hill, her father was a butcher and her mother was a schoolteacher.
Donna Summer's performance debut occurred at church when she was eight years old, replacing a vocalist who failed to show up.
Donna later attended Boston's Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. In 1967, just weeks before graduation, Donna left for New York where she joined the blues rock band Crow. After they were passed on by a record label that was only interested in the band's lead singer, the band agreed to break up. Donna Summer stayed in New York and auditioned for a role in the counterculture musical, 'Hair'. She landed the part of Sheila, and agreed to take the role in the Munich production of the show, moving there after getting her parents' reluctant approval.
Donna Summer eventually became fluent in German, singing various songs in that language, and participated in the musicals Ich bin ich, Godspell, and Show Boat. Within three years, Donna moved to Vienna, Austria, and joined the Vienna Volksoper. She briefly toured with an ensemble vocal group called FamilyTree, the creation of producer Günter "Yogi" Lauke. In 1968, Donna Summer released, as Donna Gaines, on Polydor, her first single, a German version of the title "Aquarius" from the musical Hair, followed in 1971 by a second single, a remake of the Jaynetts' 1963 hit, "Sally Go 'Round the Roses", from a one-off European deal with Decca Records. In 1969, she issued the single "If You Walkin' Alone" on Philips Records.
Donna married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973, and gave birth to their daughter (called Mimi) Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer, the same year. She provided backing vocals for producer-keyboardist Veit Marvos on his Ariola Records release 'Nice to See You', credited as "Gayn Pierre". Several subsequent singles included Donna performing with the group, and the name "Gayn Pierre" was used while performing in Godspell with Helmuth Sommer during 1972.
While working as a model part-time and back up singer in Munich, Donna Summer met German-based producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte during a recording session for Three Dog Night at Musicland Studios. The trio forged a working partnership, and Donna was signed to their Oasis label in 1974. A demo tape of Donna Summer's work with Moroder and Bellotte led to a deal with the European-distributed label Groovy Records. Due to an error on the record cover, Donna Sommer became Donna Summer and the name stuck. Donna Summer's first album was 'Lady of the Night'. It became a hit in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Belgium on the strength of two songs, "The Hostage" and the title track "Lady of the Night". "The Hostage" reached the top of the charts in France, but was removed from radio playlists in Germany because of the song's subject matter; a high ranking politician had recently been kidnapped and held for ransom.
In 1975, Donna Summer passed on an idea for a song to Moroder who was working with another artist; a song that would be called "Love to Love You". Donna Summer and Moroder wrote the song together, and together they worked on a demo version with Donna Summer singing the song. Moroder decided that Donna Summer's version should be released. Seeking an American release for the song, it was sent to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart. Bogart played the song at one of his extravagant industry parties, where it was so popular with the crowd, they insisted that it be played over and over, each time it ended. Bogart requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. Moroder, Bellotte, and Donna Summer returned with a seventeen minute version. Bogart tweaked the title to "Love to Love You Baby", and Casablanca signed Donna Summer, releasing the single in November 1975. The shorter seven inch version of the single was promoted by radio stations, while clubs regularly played the seventeen minute version.
By early 1976, "Love to Love You Baby" had reached Number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and had become a Gold single, while the album had sold over a million copies. The song generated controversy due to Donna Summer's moans and groans, and some American stations, like those in Europe with the initial release, refused to play it. Despite this, "Love to Love You Baby" found chart success in several European countries, and made the Top five in the United Kingdom despite the BBC ban. Casablanca wasted no time releasing the album 'A Love Trilogy', featuring "Try Me, I Know We Can Make It" and Donna Summer's remarkable rendition of Barry Manilow's "Could It Be Magic" which was followed by 'Four Seasons of Love', which spawned the singles "Spring Affair" and "Winter Melody", Both albums went Gold.
In 1977, Donna Summer released the concept album 'I Remember Yesterday'. The song "I Feel Love", reached Number six on the Hot 100 chart. and Number one in the UK. She received her first American Music Award nomination for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist. The single would attain Gold status and the album went Platinum in the U.S.A. Another concept album, also released in 1977, was 'Once Upon a Time', a double album which told of a modern-day Cinderella "rags to riches" story. This album would attain Gold status. Donna Summer recorded the song "Down Deep Inside" as the theme song for the 1977 film 'The Deep'. In 1978, Donna Summer acted in the film 'Thank God It's Friday', the film met with modest success; the song "Last Dance", reached Number three on the Hot 100. The soundtrack and single both went Gold and resulted in Donna Summer winning her first Grammy Award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Its writer, Paul Jabara, won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for the composition. Donna Summer also had "With Your Love" and "Je t'aime... moi non plus", on the soundtrack. Her version of the Jimmy Webb ballad, "MacArthur Park", became her first Number one hit on the Hot 100 chart. It was also the only Number one hit for songwriter Jimmy Webb; the single went Gold and topped the charts for three weeks. Donna received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song was featured on Donna Summer's first live album, 'Live and More', which also became her first album to hit number one on the U.S.A Billboard 200 chart and went double-Platinum, selling over two million copies. The week of November 11th 1978, Donna Summer became the first female artist of the modern rock era to have the Number one single on the Hot 100 and album on the Billboard 200 charts, simultaneously. The song "Heaven Knows", which featured Brooklyn Dreams singer Joe "Bean" Esposito; reached Number four on the Hot 100 and became another Gold single.
In 1979, Donna Summer won three American Music Awards for Single, Album and Female Artist, in the Disco category at the awards held in January. Donna Summer performed at the world-televised Music for UNICEF Concert, joining contemporaries such as ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for a TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world's children. Artists donated royalties of certain songs, some in perpetuity, to benefit the cause. Donna Summer began work on her next project with Moroder and Bellotte, 'Bad Girls'. Mororder brought in Harold Faltermeyer, with whom he had collaborated on the soundtrack of film 'Midnight Express', to be the album's arranger. Faltermeyer's role would significantly increase from arranger, as he played keyboards and wrote songs with Donna Summer.
The album went triple-Platinum, spawning the number-one hits "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls", that went Platinum, and the number-two "Dim All the Lights" which went Gold. The week of June 16th 1979, Donna Summer would again have the number-one single on the Hot 100 chart, and the number-one album on the Billboard 200 chart; when "Hot Stuff" regained the top spot on the Hot 100 chart. The following week, "Bad Girls" would be on top of the U.S.A. Top R&B albums chart, "Hot Stuff" remained at Number one, and "Bad Girls", the single, would climb into the top five on the Hot hundred. The following week, Donna Summer was the first solo artist to have two songs in the Hot 100 top three at the same time. In July 1979, Donna Summer topped the Hot 100 singles chart, and the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the Soul singles chart simultaneously. In the week of November 10th 1979, "Dim All the Lights" peaked at Number 2 for two weeks. The following week "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" would get to Number 3; and once again Donna Summer would have two songs in the top 3, on the Hot 100. One week later, "No More Tears" climbed to Number one spot on the Hot 100 chart, and "Dim All the Lights" went to Number four. She again had two songs in the top five of the Hot 100 chart. In the span of eight months, Donna Summer had topped both the singles and albums charts simultaneously, three times. She became the first Female Artist to have three number-one singles in a calendar year. With "Mac Arthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and the Barbra Streisand-duet "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", Donna Summer achieved four number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart within a twelve month period. Including "Heaven Knows" and "Dim All the Lights" she had achieved six top four singles on the Hot 100 chart in the same twelve month period. Those songs, along with "Last Dance", "On the Radio", and "The Wanderer", would give her nine Top five singles on the Hot 100 chart in just over a two-year period. The single, "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" would sell over two million copies becoming a Platinum success. "Hot Stuff" won her a Grammy Award in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, the first time the category was included. She was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and both Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, as well as Best Disco Recording. That year, Donna Summer played eight sold-out nights at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
Casablanca then released 'On the Radio:Greatest Hits Volumes I & II,' her first (international) greatest hits set, in 1979. The album was mixed differently than the original songs issued on it, with each song leading into the following one, and included two new songs "On the Radio" and "No More Tears". It would be the first time that such an album package would be made. The album went Number one, her third consecutive Number one album on the Billboard 200, and gained double-Platinum status. "On the Radio", reached Number five selling over a million copies in the U.S.A. alone, making it a Gold single. Donna Summer would again receive a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Donna Summer received four nominations for 1980 American Music Awards, and took home awards for Female Pop/Rock and Female Soul/R&B Artist; and well as Pop/Rock single for "Bad Girls". Just over a week after the awards, Donna had her own nationally televised special, The Donna Summer Special, which aired on ABC network on January 27th 1980. After the release of the On the Radio album, Donna Summer wanted to branch out into other musical styles, which led to tensions between her and Casablanca Records. Casablanca wanted her to continue to record disco only. Donna Summer was upset with President Neil Bogart over the early release of the single "No More Tears"; she had penned "Dim All the Lights" alone, and was hoping for a number-one hit as a songwriter. Not waiting until "Dim All the Lights" had peaked, or at least another month as promised; Donna Summer felt it had detracted from the singles chart momentum. Donna Summer and the label parted ways in 1980, and she signed with Geffen Records, the new label started by David Geffen. Donna Summer had filed a 10-million-dollar suit against Casablanca; the label counter-sued. In the end, she did not receive any money, but won the rights to her own lucrative song publishing.
Donna Summer's first Geffen album, 'The Wanderer', featured an eclectic mixture of sounds, bringing elements of rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. The Wanderer was rushed to market. The producers of the album wanted more production time. The album continued Donna Summer's streak of Gold albums with the title track peaking at Number three on the Hot 100 chart. Its follow-up singles were, "Cold Love" Number 33 and "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'", Number forty. Donna was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Cold Love", and Best Inspirational Performance for "I Believe in Jesus" at the 1981 Grammy Awards.
Donna would soon be working on her next album. It was to be another double album set. When David Geffen stopped by the studio for a preview, he was warned that it was a work in progress, but it was almost done. That was a mistake, because only a few tracks had been finished, and most of them were in demo phase. He heard enough to tell producers that it was not good enough; the project was cancelled. It would be released years later in 1996, under the title 'I'm a Rainbow'.
Over the years, a few of the tracks would be released. The song "Highway Runner" appears on the soundtrack for the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. "Romeo" appears on the Flashdance soundtrack. Both, "I'm a Rainbow" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" would be on her 1993 Anthology album. David Geffen hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Donna Summer's next album, the eponymously titled 'Donna Summer'. The album took over six months to record as Donna Summer, who was pregnant at the time, found it hard to sing. During the recording of the project, Neil Bogart died of cancer in May 1982 at age thity-nine. Donna Summer would sing at his funeral. The album included the top ten hit "Love Is in Control "; for which she received a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Donna was also nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Protection", penned for her by Bruce Springsteen. Other singles included "State of Independence" and "The Woman in Me". Geffen Records were notified by Polygram Records who now owned Casablanca, that Donna still needed to deliver them one more album to fulfill her contract with them.
Donna Summer recorded and delivered the album 'She Works Hard for the Money' and Polygram released it on its Mercury imprint in 1983. The title song became a major hit, reaching Number three on the US Hot 100, as well as number one on Billboard's R&B chart for three weeks. It also garnered Donna Summer another Grammy nomination, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "Unconditional Love", which featured the British group Musical Youth, and "Love Has a Mind of Its Own" did not crack the top 40. The album itself was certified Gold, and climbed to number nine on the Billboard 200 chart; the highest chart position of any female artist in male-dominated 1983. The song "He's a Rebel" would win Donna Summer her third Grammy Award, this time for Best Inspirational Performance.
British director Brian Grant was hired to direct Donna Summer's video for "She Works Hard for the Money". The video was a success, being nominated for MTV Music Video Awards for Best Female Video and Best Choreography; Donna Summer became one of the first black artists, and the first African-American Female Artist to have her video played in heavy rotation on MTV. Grant would also be hired to direct Donna Summer's Costa Mesa HBO concert special, A Hot Summers Night. Grant who was a fan of the song 'State of Independence' had an idea for a grand finale. He wanted a large chorus of children to join Donna Summer on stage at the ending of the song. His team looked for local school children in Orange County, to create a chorus of 500 students. On the final day of rehearsals, the kids turned up and they had a full rehearsal. According to Grant, "It looked and sounded amazing. It was a very emotional, very tearful experience for everyone who was there." He thought if this was that kind of reaction in rehearsal, then what an impact it would have in the concert. After the rehearsal Grant was informed that he could not use the kids because the concert would end after 10 pm; children could not be licensed to be on stage at such a late hour.
In late 1984, David Geffen enlisted She Works Hard for the Money's producer Michael Omartian to produce 'Cats Without Claws'. Donna Summer was happy that Geffen and his executives stayed out of the studio during the recording and thanked him in the album's liner notes, but her request for the lead single would be rejected. The album failed to attain Gold status in the U.S., her first album not to do so. It was first album not to yield a top ten hit, since 1977's Once Upon a Time. The Drifters cover "There Goes My Baby" reached Number twenty-one and "Supernatural Love" went to Number seventy-five. She would win another Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance for the song "Forgive Me".
On January 19th 1985, Donna sang at the nationally televised 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan.
In 1986, Harold Faltermeyer wrote the title song for a German ski movie called 'Fire and Ice', and thought Donna Summer would be ideal to sing the song. He decided to reach out to Donna Summer and, although she was not interested in singing the song, she was very much interested in working with Faltermeyer again. After a meeting with David Geffen he was on board with the project. Donna Summer's main objective for the album was that it have stronger R&B influences; Faltermeyer who had just finished doing the soundtracks to Top Gun and Fletch, was after a tough FM-oriented sound. On completion, Geffen liked what he heard, but his executives did not think there were enough songs that could be deemed singles. They wanted Faltermeyer to produce "Dinner with Gershwin", but he was already busy with another project, so another producer was found. They also substituted a previous recording called "Bad Reputation", songs like "Fascination", fell by the wayside. Geffen had shared the vision of moving Donna Summer into the R&B market as a veteran artist, but these expectations were not met. Faltermeyer, in a 2012 interview with Daeida Magazine, said, "She was an older artist by then and the label's priority may have been on the youth market. The decision was made afterward by executives who were looking for a radio hit for 1987 and not something the would perhaps last beyond then."
The label's President Ed Rosenblatt would later admit that the company never intended to focus on established superstars. The album 'All Systems Go', did not to achieve Gold status. The single "Dinner with Gershwin", (written by Brenda Russell), stalled at forty-eight in U.S.A, though it became a hit in the UK, peaking at Number thirteen. The album's title track, "All Systems Go", was released only in the UK, where it peaked at Number fifty-four. For Donna Summer's next album, Geffen Records hired the British hit production team of Stock Aitken Waterman, who enjoyed incredible success writing and producing for such acts as Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, and Rick Astley, among others. The team describe the working experience as a labour of love, and said it was their favourite album of all that they had recorded. Geffen decided not to release the album 'Another Place and Time', and Donna Summer and Geffen Records parted ways in 1988. The album was released in Europe in March 1989 on Warner Bros which had been Donna Summer's label in Europe since 1982. The single "This Time I Know It's for Real" became a top ten hit in several countries in Europe, prompting Warner Bros.' sister company, Atlantic Records, to sign Donna Summer in the U.S.A. The single peaked at Number seven on the US Hot 100 and became her twelth Gold single in America. She scored two more UK hits from the album, "I Don't Wanna Get Hurt" and "Love's About to Change My Heart".
In 1989, Donna Summer and her husband, Bruce Sudano, had been in talks to do a new kind of reality-based sitcom. It would be based on their own hectic household. At the time, they lived with their children Amanda, Brooklyn and Mimi, two sets of in-laws, and a maid. The television network started changing the premise of the show, making it less funny, says Sudano, "And because we were an interracial couple, they didn't want us to be married anymore". In 1989, this was "an issue. So with that mentality we just backed out of it."
It was also during this period that Donna Summer started to have gallery showings of her paintings. Rick Solomon, chairman of Fine Circle Art, was impressed by the brash colors and images of Donna Summer's work. He said that he had been in business for twenty-six years and that Donna had her own style and that she was no Sunday painter and that some critics had felt it necessary to knock her.
In 1990, a Warner compilation, 'The Best of Donna Summer', was released but no U.S.A issue. The album went Gold in the UK after the song "State of Independence" was re-released there to promote the album. The following year, Donna Summer worked with producer Keith Diamond and emerged with the album 'Mistaken Identity', which included elements of R&B as well as new jack swing. 'When Love Cries' continued her success on the R&B charts, reaching Number eighteen. In 1992, Donna Summer embarked on a world tour and later that year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She reunited with Giorgio Moroder, for the song "Carry On", which was included on the 1993, Polygram issued 'The Donna Summer Anthology'; it contained thirty-four tracks of Donna Summer's material with Casablanca and Mercury Records, and from her tenures with Atlantic and Geffen.
Donna Summer signed with Mercury/Polygram that same year, and in 1994 she re-teamed with producer Michael Omartian to record a Christmas album, Christmas Spirit, which included classic Christmas songs such as "O Holy Night" and "White Christmas" and three self-penned songs,"Christmas is Here", "Lamb of God" and the album's title track. Donna Summer was accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Another hits collection, 'Endless Summer:Greatest Hits', was released featuring eighteen songs. There were two new tracks "Melody of Love" and "Any Way at All". In 1995, "Melody of Love " went Numbert one on the USA dance charts, and Number twenty-one in the UK.
During this time, Donna Summer had role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel's Aunt Oona. She made a few appearances in 1997. In 1998, Donna Summer received the first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, "Carry On", was released in 1997. In 1999, Donna Summer was asked to do the Divas 2 concert, but when she went in and met with the producers, it was decided that they would do Donna in concert by herself. Donna Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled 'Donna Summer – Live & More Encore', producing the second highest ratings for the network that year, after their annual Divas special. A CD of the event was released by Epic Records and featured two studio recordings, "I Will Go with You" and "Love Is the Healer", both of which reached Number one on the U.S. dance charts.
In 2000, Donna Summer participated in VH1's third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, she sang the Supreme's hit Reflections, and her own material for the show. "The Power of One" is a theme song for the movie 'Pokémon:The Movie 2000'. The dramatic ballad was produced by David Foster and dance remixes were also issued to DJs and became another dance floor success for Donna Summer, peaking at Number two on the same chart in 2000. In 2003, Donna Summer issued her autobiography, 'Ordinary Girl: The Journey', and released a best-of set titled 'The Journey:The Very Best of Donna Summer'. In 2004, Donna Summer was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame as an artist, alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb. Her classic song, 'I Feel Love', was inducted that night as well. In 2004 and 2005, Donna Summer's success on the dance charts continued with the songs 'You're So Beautiful' and 'I Got Your Love'.
In 2008, Donna Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled 'Crayons'. Released on the Sony BMG label Burgundy Records, it peaked at Number seventeen on the U.S. Top 200 Album Chart, her highest placing on the chart since 1983. The songs 'I'm a Fire, Stamp Your Feet' and 'Fame (The Game)' all reached Number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart. The ballad 'Sand on My Feet' was released to adult contemporary stations and reached Number thirty on that chart.Donna Summer said that she wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it and she did not want it to be any one baby. She just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world and there was a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else and its like when you are cooking.
On July 29th 2010, Donna Summer gave an interview with Allvoices.com wherein she was asked if she would consider doing an album of standards. She said that she actually was, probably in September and she would begin work on a standards album.
In August 2010, Donna Summer released the single "To Paris With Love", co-written with Bruce Roberts and produced by Peter Stengaard. The single went to Number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in October 2010. That month,Donna Summer also appeared on the PBS television special Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends. In it, Donna Summer performed with Seal on a medley of the songs "Un-Break My Heart / Crazy / On the Radio" before closing the show with "Last Dance".
On September 15th 2010, Donna Summer appeared as a guest celebrity, singing alongside contestant Prince Poppycock, on the television show 'America's Got Talent'.'
On June 6th 2011, Donna Summer was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit, in an episode entitled "Dance Floor Royalty". In July of that same year, Donna Summer was working at Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producer O'Mega Red. Together they worked on a track titled "Angel".
On December 11th 2012, after four prior nominations, Donna Summer was posthumously announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame., and was inducted on April 18th 2013, at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater.
In the mid-1980's Donna Summer was embroiled in a controversy. She allegedly had made anti-gay remarks regarding the then-relatively new disease, AIDS. Donna Summer, by this time a born-again Christian, was alleged to have said that AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals. Because of this alleged statement, thousands of her records were returned to her record company and she became the target of a boycott which hurt her career. Some years later, Donna Summer publicly denied that she had ever made any such comment, and in a letter to the AIDS campaign group ACT UP in 1989 said it was "a terrible misunderstanding." In explaining why she did not respond to ACT UP sooner, Donna Summer stated that she was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters and if she had caused pain then to please forgive her. She closed her letter with Bible quotes (from Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians).
Also in 1989, Donna Summer told The Advocate magazine that a couple of the people she writes with were gay, and they had been ever since she met them.
Donna Summer was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Donna Summer married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973, and gave birth to their daughter (called Mimi) Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer the same year. They divorced in 1976, but Donna Summer kept the anglicized version of her ex-husband's surname as her stage name. Donna Summer married Brooklyn Dreams singer Bruce Sudano on July 16th 1980. On January 5th 1981, she gave birth to their daughter Brooklyn Sudano, and the next year on August 11th 1982 their daughter Amanda Sudano was born. In Los Angeles, Donna Summer was also one of the founding member of Oasis Church.
Donna Summer and her family moved from the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1995, where Donna took time off from show business to focus on painting, a hobby she had begun back in the 1980's. In 1995, Donna Summer's mother died of pancreatic cancer; her father died of natural causes in December 2004.
TMZ obtained a copy of Donna Summer's funeral program, which included Proverbs 31. According to the program, Pastor Tim Johnson started the service and welcomed the guests. Afterward, Ricky Gaines, Donna Summer's brother, gave a speech. Donna Summer's sisters, Linda Gaines Lotman, Mary Ellen Bernard, Dara Bernard, and Jenette Yancey, performed "We've Come This Far By Faith", and Mary Ellen Bernard performed "Because of Whose You Are". Rick Dohler, a son-in-law of Donna Summer's, gave a speech, and Pastor Johnson spoke again. Other guests included Giorgio Moroder and singer Tony Orlando.