Donna Lee (Hess) Hoey, 87, of Le Mars, passed into the arms of our Lord on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Her husband and four children shared her journey home with their hands in hers.
Donna was born in Pipestone, Minnesota, on April 16, 1935, the youngest of eight children born to Josephine (Newell) and Vernon Hess. She attended country school and graduated from Pipestone High School in 1952.
After graduating from Westmar College in 1954 with a two-year teaching degree, Donna began teaching elementary school in Rock Rapids. While in summer school at Westmar earning her 4-year degree, Donna met James Hoey; their Romantic Literature class was short a book, so the teacher asked Jim and Donna to share.
They married in the Salem EUB Church in Pipestone in June 1957; that fall Jim joined the Rock Rapids teaching staff, where Donna’s reputation alone served as his interview.
The two lived in Rock Rapids for three years, welcomed their first child there, and then settled into Le Mars, for the remainder of their 65 years together.
While in Le Mars, three more children were born. Donna continued to teach and substitute over the years, as well as volunteer at church. Still, her first call to service was to her family, both immediate and extended.
Without pause, Donna pulled children under her wing, making each feel special with her calm nature, roast beef meals with her special coleslaw and “grannysauce” on the side, and love.
Donna was a master at planting gardens, preserving foods, sewing, and needlepoint. She loved solving Sudoku puzzles and watching Duke, Iowa, and Twins games. She could track dates and compute numbers faster than typing it into a computer.
Her interest in her family’s activities and lives was always expressed; they brought her such joy. One of Donna’s amazing feats was that as copilot and “chief cook and bottle-washer” for the annual family (plus) vacations. Donna and Jim continued to enjoy traveling and camping well into their retirement years, often enjoying the camaraderie of Phil and Jeanne Hoey.
Donna’s most stellar role, however, was that as soundboard and keeper of her husband’s and children’s joys, sorrows, celebrations, tasks, worries, and deepest thoughts. Donna’s quiet strength was that she strengthened others. Her smile is planted deeply in our hearts.
Grateful for the way Donna poured her love and presence into their lives are her husband James Hoey; her four children: Danelle (Jim) Bolton, of Akron, Gail Brow, of Carson, Julie (Scott) Roy, of Le Mars, and Daniel (Rebecca) Hoey, of Hartford, South Dakota; her 13 grandchildren: Haley (Caley) Waysman, Ashley Molzen, Ryan (Darci) Molzen; Caitlin (Zac) Poynter, Tessa Brow, Keegan Brow; Michael Roy, Lara Roy, Austin (Mary) Roy; Simon, Izaak, Elijah, and Tehya Hoey; and eight great-grandchildren: Norah, Maeve, Thea, and Atlas Waysman; Kai and Tae Molzen; Evan and Elli Molzen; Esther and Coraline Roy. Donna honors her only surviving sibling, Dorothea Stratton, and her brother-in-law Phillip and his wife Jeanne Hoey.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, six siblings, many in-laws, and two nephews.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 19, at the United Methodist Church of Le Mars. The Rev. Eric Sayonkon and The Rev. Mike Janes will officiate. Burial will follow in Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars.
Visitation with the family present will be from 4-6 p.m., on Sunday, Sept. 18, at Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until service time on Monday at the church.
Arrangements are with the Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars.
Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.