Donna Bel Hillyer
November 14, 1929 - May 30, 2021
Donna Hillyer, 91 of Shenandoah, IA, formerly of the Imogene, IA area, passed away on May 30, 2021 at the Shenandoah Medical Center. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at the Strahan United Methodist Church, south of Hastings, IA. Burial will be in the Malvern Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Loess Hills Funeral Home in Malvern is caring for Donna and her family.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials are to the Strahan United Methodist Church
Donna Bel Hillyer, 91, of Shenandoah, passed away May 30, 2021.
Donna was born November 14, 1929 in Amazonia, Mo., to John W. and Pauline Harvey.
Her parents were life-long educators who moved to Strahan, Iowa, after her father was hired as superintendent of the Strahan Senior High School. He learned about the job from his brother-in-law, Lester Hall, who was the Methodist Church minister at Strahan and Malvern, Iowa.
During a church youth group meeting, Donna met Floyd Hillyer. Shortly after, Donna and her parents moved to Savannah, Mo. But their courtship continued while Donna attended college at what is now Northwest Missouri University. She was employed at a local bank.
Floyd eventually proposed and they were married October 18, 1952. They moved to the Cottonwood Valley Dairy Farm near Imogene, Iowa, and had five children, Harva, twins Scott and Gregg, Paula and Brian.
Donna was a remarkable and loving homemaker with many talents and interests. Caring for five rambunctious kids occupied much of her time during her early years of marriage. She spent countless hours cleaning, cooking, baking (delicious pies, cookies and rolls) and ironing. Her large garden produced a bountiful harvest each year, filling the basement pantry and freezer with vegetables and fruits for the family to enjoy. She also readily shared strawberries and cantaloupes with friends and neighbors.
As a grandmother, "Nana" spent many hours babysitting, chauffeuring and attending her grandchildren's many school, sports, music and 4-H activities. The grandkids also loved the extra attention from Nana and looked forward every Holiday to her hand-dipped chocolates and ice cream Christmas trees. Donna also kept a secret stash of chocolate in the house for herself and to share (sometimes) with her grandkids throughout the year.
Flowers were one of her many joys and passions. Each spring she would plant over 250 gladiolus bulbs and watch them bloom into a rainbow of colors. Fresh bouquets were often displayed on the kitchen table and the church alter. Other flower favorites included Iris and peonies.
As a life-long member of the Strahan United Methodist Church, her faith in God was unwavering. She made sure the family attended services every Sunday no matter how bad the weather or how busy things were on the farm. Donna taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and chaired the church's annual Turkey Dinner and Bazaar for many years. She was also active in the United Methodist Women, holding multiple local offices, as well as a District officer. Donna was also a strong advocate of the church's mission work, supporting both local and global efforts throughout her life.
An avid reader and traveler, Donna visited all 50 states and destinations around the world--from China and Canada, Brazil and Belgium to Australia and Austria. Local excursions hosted by Niehart Tour & Travel provided entertaining getaways as well. One especially memorable trip included hosting the entire family (kids and grandkids) to Banff, Alberta, Canada. It was during this outing that granddaughter Brooke accepted the wedding proposal from Rob Johnston. Following every trip, Donna put together a detailed scrapbook highlighting what she had seen and done.
Other pursuits that Donna enjoyed included playing card games such as pitch, bridge and O' Heck and watching as many baseball games as possible of her beloved St. Louis Cardinals.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd, parents John W. and Pauline Harvey and brother John R. Harvey.
Donna is survived by her children and spouses, Harva and James Paul (Hastings, Iowa), Scott and Dawn Hillyer (Imogene, Iowa), Gregg and Julia Hillyer (Lake St. Louis, Mo.), Paula and Bob Singleton (Galena, Ill.), and Brian and Karma Hillyer (Kahoka, Mo.). Nana was cherished by her 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.