Apr 9 2010

This company has been built on the special talents of many.

Sadly, we have lost some of these bright lights over the years.

Donna MaskellDahna Maskell was one of those bright lights. In 2001, Dahna (also known as Donna) became McMenamins' first Master Coffee Roaster. Her roasted coffee beans elevated the coffee experience in the company. From 2001 until her death in October 2007, she shared her passion for coffee with us.

In her memory, Mike McMenamin asked me to paint a picture of Dahna to honor her and what she gave us.

Wearing her handmade traditional Whirling Dervish costume*, which she delighted in wearing whenever the occasion called for it, I have painted her smiling and toasting us with a cup of joe. Of course, the roaster is splashing into that cup of coffee, but that doesn't faze this enthusiastic woman who touched deeply all those who knew her.

Thank you, Dahna!

* "The costume, with its colorful embroidery, special buttons and charms, is a descendant of those first worn by the Sufi order of Shadhili mystics who inaugurated the art of coffee brewing in the 13th century. These Muslim mystics used the potent brew to sustain all-night spinning ceremonies intended to get closer to God by altering their consciousness through ecstatic gyration. They were dubbed Whirling Dervishes by westerners who witnessed these ceremonies. As the Muslim religion was spread by these wandering Shadhilis throughout the Islamic world, so too was the popularity of coffee. Before long, the steaming beverage shed its religious associations and became a common drink in secular households around the globe."
-- Tim Hills, "McMenamins Roaster: A Bottomless Cup of Passion, Aroma and Tradition." 

About the author: Myrna Yoder is one of our McMenamins artists and has worked with the company since the early-1990s.
3 comments Post a comment


Comment on this Posting:

#1 M G

This is sad. I am sorry to hear it. I wanted to let you know that everyone really enjoys your paintings. I always look to see who's work each thing is, Jenny, yours, lyle, or others.

Keep up the good work!

#2 Jon

I stumbled across this while we were moving a bunch of new works away from a flood coming through the ceiling of the basement. I was happy to be able to "save Dahna" in a way I could not in real life. I only knew her for a short time but I miss her. She was a special person.

#3 Anne B

I was a close friend of Donna's and am happy I stumbled upon this beautiful painting of her. Does anyone know where I can see it in real life? I'd like to show it to her son and daughter. Thanks.