Donna Thayer, age 89, of Alma, Nebraska, formerly of Arapahoe & Hendley, Nebraska died on Friday, December 7, 2012 at Colonial Villa-Good Samaritan Society of Alma, Nebraska. She was born on November 2, 9123 at Yakima, Washington to Dorris (Anderson) Neubert.
She grew up on an apple ranch near Tieton, Washington and graduated from Tieton High School in 1942. In 1947, Donna graduated from Central Washington College in Ellensburg, Washington and then was hired to teach junior high social studies. Two years into her new career, her room mate asked her to go out with her cousin, a young man from Nebraska with curly red hair and freckles, John Robert Thayer. Bob had just been discharged from the Navy and was working in his uncle’s body shop. It was love at first sight and 3 months later, Donna became Mrs. John R. Thayer on April 3, 1949. They bought their first house in Selah, Washington where Bob worked for the telephone company and Donna taught school. It wasn’t long before Bob was ready to come back to the farm so in 1952 they moved to Nebraska to farm for Ralph and Edith Guy near Beaver City. Then in 1959, Bob’s dad was ready to retire so they moved back to the family farm near Hendley with three little red-haired girls. In 1960, a fourth little girl made Donna’s family complete. In 1964, Donna began teaching 5th grade in Wilsonville, Nebraska. She was one of only 3 teachers in the elementary school with a bachelor’s degree at that time. Life was a whirlwind during the 60’s and 70’s balancing work and family, church, and community activity. After the girls left home and Donna retired from teaching, she concentrated on sharing her gifts and talents with her community. She served many years as the delegate to the Annual Conference for the Beaver City United Methodist Church. She was a lifetime member of the United Methodist Women and always answered the call to serve. She was honored to serve the Nebraska UMW for a many years and made lasting friends with women all over the state as they traveled and worked together. Donna was proud to have been a census taker for the 1980, 1990, and 2000 census. She spent many hours by Bob’s side as his health declined, but she stayed busy crocheting caps for preemies, hats for needy children and prayer shawls that were donated to the church.
After Bob’s death, she continued to manage the farm. Donna’s insatiable appetite for learning took her across the nation, Alaska and two trips to Europe. She also enjoyed the fact that her daughters lived in other states so she had an excuse to travel. In 2000, she sold the farm and moved to Arapahoe. In 2011, Donna moved to Hillcrest Terrace in Alma where she could be close to her daughter
Welcoming her into Heaven were her parents, her brother Herman Neubert, and her beloved husband Bob.
Those left to cherish the memories of their mother are daughters Debra Lynn Moore of Holdrege, Nebraska, Karen Rae Montoya (John) of Hutchinson, Kansas, Tammy Kay Dodge (Brian) of Worthington, Massachusetts, and Linda Marie Dunlay (James) of Orleans, Nebraska. Grandchildren Christina Moore, Lincoln, Nebraska, John R. & Nathan Dunlay, Orleans, Nebraska. Great-grandson Charles Nowatzke, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Condolences and personal reflections may be left at wenburgfuneralhome.com
Visitation will be Thursday, December 13, 2012 from 10 AM till 8 PM at Wenburg Funeral Home, in Arapahoe, Nebraska. Funeral services will be Friday, December 14, 2012 at 1 PM at the First United Methodist Church, in Arapahoe, Nebraska with Rev. Michael Flury, officiating. Interment will follow at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Beaver City, Nebraska. Wenburg Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.