Donna Jean (White) Smith, 87, of Dubuque, died peacefully on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at Ennoble Nursing and Rehabilitation in Dubuque. As was true of so much she did, her passing was graceful, gentle, and beautiful.
A memorial service, coordinated through the Leonard Funeral Home and Crematory, will be scheduled for summer 2021, in what the family hopes will be a post-pandemic celebration of Donna’s miraculous life.
Donna was born on October 8, 1933 in Guttenberg, Iowa, the youngest of five children to Olive and Thomas White. She grew up going to Methodist Sunday school classes, working at the town bakery, and enjoying weekly movies at the local cinema. She was especially close to her older sister Greta, who was a kind of second mother to her. Donna graduated from Guttenberg High School and moved to Dubuque, where she earned her Cosmetology degree and opened her own beauty parlor business. For many years she was a cashier at the Dubuque Packing Company’s Retail Store. Always a people person, she later worked on the cut line at the Pack, at the Dubuque Memorial Gardens south of Dubuque, and then as a cashier at Kwik Stop near Key West. She loved her co-workers and customers, and they enjoyed interacting with her.
More than anything, Donna loved spending time with her family in her home. Her dining room table was the gathering place where several generations joined together in shared stories, memorable meals, and steady streams of laughter and love. Donna enjoyed good conversation and she had a bright and brilliant wit. She was always interested in the lives and concerns of her children, grandchildren, and friends, and she always warmly welcomed them home. She loved angels and lighthouses, and showered treats on her beloved dogs Shadow and Arthur. She loved solving crossword puzzles, playing cards, and dominating at Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Boggle. She would joyfully play board games for hours with her children and grandchildren. Recently, she was able to meet her newly arrived great grandson.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Olive and Thomas White; her sister Greta and her husband Andrew “Red” Hummel; her bothers Carl, Kenneth, and Douglas White; and by her husband, Orrin L. Smith.
Surviving Donna are many for whom she modeled kindness and compassion, many she taught how to love: Her sons Andy (of East Stroudsburg, PA), Scott (of Dubuque), and Steve (of Cedar Rapids, IA), and their respective spouses: Nandini, Ann, and Gloria; her grandchildren, Casey and his wife Courtney, Mitchell, Drew, Daniel and his wife Carmen, Elanor, and Abigail; and her great grandsons Carter and Tucker. Inseparable from Donna’s family is longtime friend Jim Quick, and the newfound friends she made at Ennoble, including her roommate Kathy O’Brien.
The family extends its deep gratitude to all those who helped support and care for Donna. Your compassionate caregiving has given all of us more time with her, an unforgettable and immeasurable gift. Our profound thanks to the incredible staffs of Ennoble, Mercy Hospital, and Hospice of Dubuque. A special thank you to Doctors Katherine Parker and Jennifer Mohr, for all you have done to help Donna.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Hospice of Dubuque, with our thanks, and accompanied by Donna’s beautiful smile and easy laugh.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Jean (White) Smith, please visit our floral store.