In Memory of

Donna Jean Lewallen

October 3, 1949 - May 23, 2018
From: Cherokee, IA

      Donna Jean Baker was born on October 3, 1949, to Helen Marie (Schott) Baker and Ervel Albert Baker. She grew up on a farm near Schaller, Iowa and attended Schaller Community Schools graduating in 1967. She then attended Wayne State College majoring in English. Graduating in 2 ½ years, she began her student teaching at age 19 in Cherokee, Iowa. She then accepted a position at Cherokee High School teaching English. It was while teaching in Cherokee that she met her husband, Jim. They were married on December 28, 1971, at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Schaller, Iowa. She continued her career in education until the birth of her children, Jennifer Joy and James Thomas Ervel. She found great joy in raising her family and transforming the Senator Guy Gillette house into a home she loved.
   She worked many years in Cherokee as a substitute and cheerleading sponsor in the Cherokee school system. She also worked at Hanken’s Law Office where her clients and co-workers became her extended family. Throughout her nearly 50 years in Cherokee, she remained proud of the Cherokee community. Donna was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church throughout her adult life, serving as a CCD teacher, past parish council member, pianist, eucharistic minister, and past president and member of Catholic Daughters of America. Donna also gave much of her time and energy to philanthropic organizations which included PEO, TTT, and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. As an avid reader, Donna enjoyed attending book club, and she cherished the times with the friends in all of these organizations. Donna had a love of gardening. She spent endless hours tending to her yard and flowers. She was so appreciative of the many friends and community members who helped tend her gardens when she was not able. When hearing of her death, a friend’s comment expressed it well: “The flowerbeds in heaven are going to be phenomenal.”   
   Donna’s heart belonged to family and friends. Her nieces and nephews were her children, and she continued to open her heart to those with need. There was always time, always energy, and always more love to give to family and friends. Donna particularly excelled in her role as a grandmother. She was adored by her granddaughters and rarely visited without bringing Cheetos.
   Donna passed away on May 23, in Madison, WI surrounded by her family following a six year battle with pancreatic cancer. She continued to demonstrate her determination, and sense of humor. When family surrounded her and expressed their concern, love, and emotions she simply looked at them and said “Don’t count me out yet.” Donna’s life will continue to exemplify courage and the power of love.
   Donna is survived by her husband Jim; children Jennifer Lewallen Rohlwing (Jeff) and their children, Thea, Solee and Linnea of Madison, WI, and James Lewallen (Andrea Nelson) of Madison, WI; sister, Diane Baker of Yankton, SD; brother-in-law, Thomas Lewallen (June) Dyer, IN; sister-in-law, Jane Leckrone of Crawfordsville, IN; and 11 nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Ervel Baker, brother, Thomas Baker, sister-in-law, Donna Marie Baker, brother-in-law, Paul Leckrone.
   Donna's family wishes to extend thanks to countless friends who have provided meals, driven her to appointments, cared for her yard, visited, and been her prayer warriors. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifs may be made to Cherokee Public Library (712-225-3498) or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (pancan.org)

    

SERVICES
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cherokee, Iowa.
OFFICIATING
Father Randy Schoon and Father Timothy Schott
VISITATION
Visitation will begin at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, with the family present from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Greenwood-Schubert Funeral Home in Cherokee. There will be a 4:00 p.m. rosary followed by a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night at the funeral home.
INTERMENT
At a later date.

Condolences

Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 10:56 AM
“I was saddened to hear about Donna's passing. I remember at one of our class reunions, she was late because she was playing the piano or organ for her church service. It seems she lived a life of service and that means she will be greatly missed. ”
- Cyndi Grundmeier Houser
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“I am so sorry to hear of the passing of such a sweet woman. She had such determination and yet with a sense of humor. (Plus, she made a good witch at Ruth's annual party!)
I did send a contribution to Pancreatic Cancer in her name to help further research in this dreadful condition. If it works as hard and makes as much of an impact as Donna did in her lifetime, pancreatic cancer will soon be in the past. ”
- Ann Tell
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“Remembering the both of you and wishing you comfort.”
- Gary Templeman
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“Donna will truly be missed. Please accept our sympathy.”
- Ken and Diane Slater
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“So sorry to hear of Donna's passing. She was a great teacher and a very special person. She will be missed by many. Jim you takw care of yourself. Sue (Grohe) Roberts”
- Sue Roberts
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“She was one of the best ladies that crossed my path! She was kind, and very humbled. May God bless her loving family. She will be smiling down on all of us from heaven. ”
- Kevin Kennedy
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM
“I am indeed surprised that as active as Donna was, and I as well from the 1970's forward - that in a city of this size we did not get directly connected to share a friendship. Given now her passing I see that the merited recognition hailed toward her - t'was indeed my lose. Family members please be assured that I join you in thanksgiving and prayer this Wednesday as I offer an afternoon mass at Maryhill for Donna and for your intentions. ”
- Fr. Gene Sitzmann
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM
“I feel so blessed that I was able to know Donna. Her smile and hugs were always a gift when I would see her at her visits to St. Luke's. Her love for her family was an inspiration. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. ”
- Julie Cruz
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 9:27 AM
“Mrs. Lew, as the wrestling team referred to her, was our most loyal cheerleader. She was a special lady to all the wrestlers. Her love and compassion for the wrestlers was unmatched and unconditional. We knew from the first whistle to the last, Mrs. Lewallen would be supporting our efforts. This energy and support helped many young men win matches they might not otherwise win. I am appreciative for the love provided to me and my family by Mrs. Lew over the years, and now return that same love to Coach, Jenny, and James. God Bless you all and know many are so proud to have known your awesome wife/mother.”
- Dewey Hupke
Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 9:19 AM
“Donna's zest for life, love of family and friends, and faith in God are just a few of the wonderful traits she possessed. Her warm smile that she always greeted me with when visiting Cherokee will truly be missed. ”
- Heather (Holton) Swarthout
Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 9:19 AM
“We are so sorry for your loss. Donna was such a fighter for the past 6 years. So inspiring to hear what was said about the “flowerbeds in heaven”. They are going to be breathtaking! Jesus holds her close and she will get to embrace all her granddaughters again one day. We love you and will be praying during this time. Love, Alex, Lisa, and Sal Marchetti”
- Alex, Lisa, and Sal Marchetti
Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 9:19 AM
“Donna was full of spirit and spunk and she will be fondly remembered in our family. We were so fortunate to get to know Donna when visiting in Madison and at St. Luke's over many years.
So many memories will point us back to Donna, including her shine for a good hunk of berry or banana cream pie.

With deepest sympathies from our family to yours.
May your mom's memory be a blessing.
Megan, Edward, Paris, Miles and Paige Boswell.
- The Boswell Family
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 12:04 PM
“I met Donna when we were young student teachers in Cherokee. She was always happy, optimistic and a friend to all, traits that remained throughout her life. We reconnected many years later when she and Jim visited their 2 children in Madison, Wisconsin where we live. We were dismayed to learn of her illness but it didn’t affect her great smile or her wonderful attitude. She was full of good humor and good will through the last time we met. She was a great friend and will be sorely missed.”
- LewTerpstra
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“Our prayers are with you all.. many fond memories of your mom when my grandparents were neighbors to her mom.. beautiful woman inside and out”
- Karmen Hodgdon
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“ Jim, Jenny & James...
The news of Donna’s passing is heartbreaking. Your life with your wife, Mom & Grandma is an incredible gift—I know you realize that, & will always be grateful for the way she served such a high purpose in life, including helping you grow & learn & to expand your capacity to love.
You have so much to be proud of in your wife & Mom’s life. In this time of sorrow, mixed with gratitude for the sheer joy of Donna’s life, please know I am with you.”
- Tricia Vredenburg
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“I’m so very sorry for your loss. Donna was a lovely person. She will be missed by many. ”
- Pam French
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“My heart aches for all of you. It's hard to imagine this world without Donna in it. I'm so sorry I have to be in Council Bluffs to babysit my granddaughter Tuesday and Wednesday. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. ”
- Linda Struck
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“Our thoughts are with you in the memory and celebration of your wife and mother, Donna Jean. Donna was a special neighbor. Always a friend, always sharing her beautiful home with others, always a heart warming role model to our three daughters. Her garden was an inspiration and a homage to God. May memories of Donna warm your heart forever. Fondly, Larry & Barbara Florke”
- Larry & Barbara Florke
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“Our thoughts are with you in the memory and celebration of your wife and mother, Donna Jean. Donna was a special neighbor. Always a friend, always sharing her beautiful home with others, always a heart warming role model to our three daughters. Her garden was an inspiration and a homage to God. May memories of Donna warm your heart forever. Fondly, Larry & Barbara Florke”
- Larry & Barbara Florke
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:07 AM
“Thinking of your family and praying for you as you grieve. I remember Donna as such a kind, friendly, smiling neighbor and friend to our family. I pray you will know she touched many lives. With love, Lisanne (Florke) Kaufmann”
- Lisanne (Florke) Kaufmann
Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:06 AM
“I'm thinking of you Jim! May Donna rest in peace!”
- Steve Conley
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