Jan. 29, 1929 -- Nov. 8, 2015
A funeral service took place Wednesday, Nov. 11 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake for Donna Marie Nelson Blake. Burial was at Afton Township Cemetery in Cherokee.
Donna Marie Nelson Blake was born on Jan. 29, 1929. She was raised on a farm between Alta and Aurelia by her parents, Adel and Herman Nelson. She had a happy childhood and grew up with three older stepsisters and a step brother and with two younger half-brothers. Her sisters were Mildred Nelson Gustafson, Lois Nelson Crapser and Ruby Nelson Laursen. Her brothers were Merle Nelson, John Nelson and Jim Nelson. Donna passed away on Nov. 8, 2015, at the Hawkeye Care Center in Spirit Lake.
Donna graduated from Aurelia High School in 1946, where she was active in music and plays. During high school, Donna met her future husband, Rolan Blake who had returned from active duty with the Army Air Corps during World War II. Donna worked for a year for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Cherokee and then Donna and Rolan were married on June 22, 1947, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Alta.
They farmed in Cherokee County for 11 years. She learned as a young wife about a woman's role on the farm, including feeding men working the fields, raising chickens, and growing a garden.
Rolan and Donna had two children, Patricia Mary and Alan Max. Each year was highlighted by many family get-togethers with both sides of their family including Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations.
Donna and Rolan embarked on a new career path in 1958, when they moved to Akron were Rolan went to work for the Farm Bureau Insurance Company. Their years in Akron were highlighted by their membership in a Lutheran young couples group called "YoMaCo's." They considered these years as very happy times and formed many lifetime friendships.
The insurance career led to a move to the Arthur-Odebolt area. They eventually purchased a real estate and insurance business from Dwight Meyer, which was a career move that they enjoyed until their retirement in 1991. They loved living in Odebolt where they filled their home with antiques and many happy memories. Their children, Patricia and Alan graduated from Odebolt High School and later brought their families to their Odebolt home for many fun times where they often enjoyed Donna's wonderful treats, including homemade rye bread, Swedish tea rings and the "perfect" chocolate chip cookies. Rolan and Donna were active members of Faith Lutheran Church in Odebolt.
Donna and Rolan purchased a cabin in 1988 on the East Shore of Big Spirit Lake where they loved fishing and playing with their children and grandchildren and those beautiful sunsets while sitting on their porch.
Rolan passed away in 1999. Donna moved to Spirit Lake in 2004 and enjoyed getting to know many people in the Spirit Lake community. She was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake. Donna had a lifelong interest in antiques and she was a member of Questers for over 30 years.
Donna loved music and enjoyed reading and mostly enjoyed her time with family and friends.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband, parents, siblings, and great-grandson Walter James Blake. She is survived by daughter Patricia (Doug) Koenck of Yorba Linda, California and son, Alan (Sue) Blake, of Spirit Lake. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Jason Koenck, James (Rachel) Blake, Jenny (Jon) Schibsted and Andrew (Shria) Blake, as well as 7 great-grandchildren, Ashley Koenck, Lily Koenck, Leah Blake, Owen Blake, Triston Radant, Alexis Radant and Hazel Blake. Also surviving are sister-in-law Eleanor Anderson of Aurelia, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Annette and Don Blake of Cherokee, many nieces and nephews.
The Schuchert-Lentz Funeral Home in Spirit Lake is in charge of the arrangements.