Author D.J. Phillabaum

  • book-cover
  • Laurden-Davis Art Gallery 001
  • Laurden-Davis Art Gallery 007
  • 100_0464
  • 100_0836
  • 100_1677
  • 100_1687


I was born Donna Jean Ray in the country outside and south of Dayton, Ohio in Jefferson Township, Montgomery County on February 5, 1938.

My mother’s side was German and French and my father’s side English. My mother’s father actually came from Alsace-Lorraine but they both spoke what they referred to as Lower German. On my father’s side I was told my fourth-great grandfather, William Williams, signed the Declaration of Independence and that we were also remotely related to Mary Todd Lincoln. I believe other family members did search this out for proof but I never got into genealogy.

Most of my life I lived in the country and became what most would call a ‘tom boy’ and I guess never out grew it. All through grade school I had my aunts and uncles and one set of grandparents as neighbors so I had an entire family raise me.

My favorite things to do was go with my one uncle who would take me hunting, fishing, trapping, driving tractors, mushroom hunting and a whole lot more. One of which was flash card math.

My young education and grade school friends stuck with me the most. I still keep in touch with my grade school friends and could hardly name but a few of my high school friends who were in California and Arizona in classes of 1500 to 1600 at graduation. Grade school was something like 300.

So, as I said, I never outgrew being a ‘tom boy’. I had moments of being feminine while becoming a Girl Scout, a Rainbow Girl, and an Eastern Star member for over 50 years and a mother. I went on to become an executive secretary for the Federal Government at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. But, I guess you can’t shake ‘tom boy’. I drove semi-truck and straight truck for six years as an owner/operator. I was also owner/operator of a neighborhood bar, an air conditioning/heating business, a motel, a tri-axle dump truck business and rental apartments.

I had friends who told me when they received a letter from me it was just like being there them selves and told me I should write. So now I am attempting to see if a ‘tom boy’ can write. “Once and Forever Love” is my first self-published novel and I have started another “Once You Take the Wheel” which I hope people will enjoy.