Donna Gladys Svendsen was born on April 17, 1927 to Arthur and Clara (Jensen) Nissen in Tyler, Minnesota. Shortly after her birth, she moved with her family to Ward, South Dakota where they resided for five years. Following this, the family rented farmland in Pipestone, Minnesota as Donna began her first five years of education. In 1937, the Nissen family purchased a 40-acre farm in Tyler, Minnesota and relocated on March 1st. During Donna’s last two high-school summers, she traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota and worked as a waitress in the Radisson Hotel’s coffee shop. This job offered several memories that lived on in Donna’s mind, including being among the height of celebration on V-J Day and even a brief brush with fame as she met Liberace. After graduating in 1946, Donna continued to work at the Radisson for a year. On August 15, 1948, Donna was united in marriage to her high school sweetheart, Allen Svendsen, at Danebod Lutheran Church where she had also been baptized and confirmed. Following their marriage, they built their home on East Oak Street. The couple shared many happy years together before Allen preceded Donna in death on May 20, 1992. After Allen’s death, Donna was thankful for the opportunity to care for and share the company of her mother. She continued to reside in their home for a year before relocating to the Danebod Village in Tyler. In August of 2019, Donna chose to become a resident of the Sunrise Manor in Tyler. Donna passed away there on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at the age of 95 years, one month, and 28 days.
Donna happily participated in the goings on of her church, including serving with the Ladies Aid and WELCA, Sunday School, and several committees. She was a member of the ladies’ masonic group, Eastern Star. Donna was also a long time member of the Variety Club made up largely of Oak Street families. This group of families united in fun and support of each other for decades. During her later years, she enjoyed being a part of the bridge club and helping with SW Coaches as a ticket salesperson and tour guide for day trips. However, Donna’s family always came first. Along with other neighborhood mothers, there always seemed to be picnics, dinner parties, or other activities planned. Donna will always be remembered for her delicious baked goods including the famous Danish filled coffee cake and kringle.
Donna is survived by her children, Marsha (Harlan) Petersen of Tyler, Deb (Stan Townsend) Burckhardt of Ruthton, Minnesota, Pam (Dean) Blomgren of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Charles “Chuck” (Diana) Svendsen of Minneapolis; grandchildren, Katie (John) Ivey, Kristi Murphy, Dustin (Lori) Burckhardt, Tonya Burckhardt, Tate (Lena) Burckhardt, Britny (Emin) Aklik, Tiffany (Emily) Blomgren, Toren Svendsen, Solveig Svendsen, Haakon Svendsen, and Elin Svendsen; great-grandchildren, Jacob and Sophia Kuechle, Jessica, Alex, David, and Matthew Ivey, Josselyn and Jalyn Burckhardt, Hans and Janna Burckhardt, Batihan, Selis, and Ejderhan Aklik, and Greer, Artem, and Otto Blomgren; sister, Anitra Lewko; and brother, Lee (Diane) Nissen. She was preceded in death by her husband, Allen; parents; brother, Howard (Doreen) Nissen; and brother-in-law, Harry Lewko.
Memorials are preferred to Danebod Village, Danebod Lutheran Church or your favorite charity.