Donna J. Mellem, age 88, of Yankton, South Dakota, was granted her angel wings on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, in Bondurant, Iowa.
A memorial service will be 1:30 PM on Monday, September 26, 2022, at Riverview Reformed Church in Yankton, South Dakota, with Reverend Jacob Van Der Linden officiating. A private burial will be held in Mission Hill Cemetery in Mission Hill, South Dakota. Visitation is from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Sunday, September 25, 2022, at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton, South Dakota.
Pallbearers will be Wayne Smith, Rick Smith, Randy Smith, Nate Hopf, Dale Thomsen, and Vernon Swensen.
Donna J. Mellem was born April 14, 1934 in Irene, South Dakota, to Wendell and Ethel (Swensen) Jensen. She grew up on the family farm as an only child, but had first cousins a couple miles away as her mother’s twin sister, Esther, married her father’s brother, Carl. Wendell and Carl both farmed together. Donna went to a one room country school and then attended and graduated from Irene High School. She was united in marriage to Robert Smith in 1952 and had two children, Bob and Pat.
Donna enjoyed cooking, sewing and taking care of the household. She was a good and excellent seamstress. In later years, she became interested in crocheting, making many quilts, hardanger and table runners that she gifted to friends and family.
Her husband, Bob, passed away in 1983. Donna married Ken Mellem in the fall of 1985. There were many get togethers with the blended families, where Donna cooked the main meal and others brought favorite dishes. No one left hungry!! They also enjoyed playing cards and board games. She enjoyed these gatherings, especially spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Ken passed away in 2012. Donna later enjoyed spending time and traveling with a special friend, Chuck Denzin. They traveled all over until Chuck’s health started to decline and he became a resident of Avera Sister James Care Center. Chuck later died in 2020.
Survivors include her daughter, Pat Kiernan of Bondurant, Iowa; daughter-in-law, Cindy Smith of Yankton, South Dakota; four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her spouses, Bob and Ken; and her son, Bob Smith.