Donna Marie Schocker Kolb, lifelong resident of Austin, Minnesota, passed away at the age of 89 on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at Sacred Heart Care Center in Austin, Minnesota following her courageous battle against multiple illnesses, which included diabetes, congestive heart failure, congestive kidney failure, and a stroke.
Donna was born on Saturday, September 2, 1933 to William Wallace Schocker and Edith Daisy Davis Thompson Schocker in Austin. She was the second of six children, namely, Dewaine, Donna, William “Billy”, Marlys, LeRoy, and Eleanor.
After graduating from Austin High School in 1951, she married Duane Joseph Kolb on July 7, 1951. To this union, six children, two daughters and four sons, were born, namely: Rose, Raymond, Rodney, Russell, Renee, and Rolland. Many years after the children were grown, Duane and Donna divorced in 1995.
Donna was a diligent worker who sacrificed her own needs to help provide for the family. She successfully juggled her time as wife, mother, and breadwinner, working multiple jobs throughout her life. She was a Candy Striper, warehouse checker, clerk at Piggly Wiggly grocery, baker for Gordy’s Super Valu, and a chicken deboner for Banquet Foods / Blue Coach Foods / Tyson Chicken, retiring in 2005.
Donna loved homemaking, fishing, thrifting, gifting, and listening and dancing to old time and country western music. She enjoyed eating out and visiting casinos when she traveled. She collected a huge array of porcelain dolls, and she also appreciated motorcycles. It was a thrill for her to visit relatives in and around Summit, South Dakota. She and her brother, Dewaine, spent every childhood summer with their paternal aunt, Lillian Schocker Watkins and her husband, Bill, returning to Austin again only in time to start another year of school. Aunt Lily’s and Uncle Bill’s farm was Donna’s second home; and the bonds she built there, having fun with cousins and other SD relatives were lifetime memories about which Donna often spoke with reverence and fondness.
She lived each day of her life with a positive attitude, a beautiful smile, and a heart-warming, robust laughter. She was ever alert and responsive to the needs of others, seeking the ways and means to bless others with empathy, encouragement, and gifts. Her crowning glory was her spiritual strength and stamina. She was an example of patience in trial, persistence through adversity, genuine compassion, gracious unselfishness, and a steadfast, unshakable faith in God.
From 1995 to 2021, Donna walked a road that few parents walk—the path leading to the gravesites of five of her six children. She lived her last years with a broken heart as she experienced both the tragic accidents and/or illnesses that caused their deaths: Russell in 1995, Raymond in 2018, Rolland in 2018, Rodney in 2020, and Rose in 2021. Donna found solace in prayer and meditation, and told others that the only way she could survive in such grieving was by “giving it all to God.” Indicative of her firm faith, at the funeral of her son, Rally in 2018, Donna spoke this spontaneous tribute and farewell to him:
“First of all, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for attending this service that our family has put together for my son, Rolland. He’s been through a lot. He’s conquered a lot, and he’s seen a lot. He said to me, ‘Mom, there’s a Maker and there’s a Taker; and I’m ready to go Home.’ So as a Mom, I send him with my blessings that he may reach The Golden Gates and walk The Halls of Heaven and be with Our Maker and Our Taker. I send you off, Son, with God’s blessings. We all love you. Farewell, Son.”
In so saying, Donna, in effect, spoke her own tribute and farewell. She, too, has been through a lot. She has conquered a lot. She has seen a lot. Donna trusted in her Maker and her Taker. Now, we send her Home with our blessings that she may reach The Golden Gates and walk The Halls of Heaven and be with Our Maker and Our Taker. We send Donna off with God’s blessings. We all love her! Farewell, Donna! Blessed be Donna’s life. Blessed be her memory.
Donna is survived by her daughter, Renee Escherich of Kiester, MN, a son-in-law, Gerry Grunig of Peoria, Arizona, a daughter-in-law, Patricia Kolb of Kellogg, MN, a sister, Marlys (Terry) Hawley of Blue Earth, MN, a sister-in-law, Charlotte Schocker of Albert Lea, MN, a former brother-in-law, Dennis (Darlene) Kolb of Austin, MN, 22 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her parents, William and Edith; her husband, Duane, her brothers and sisters, Billy (Christine), LeRoy, Eleanor (Ralph Klingbeil), Dewaine (Kay), brother-in-law, Roger Larson; her children, Russell, Raymond, Rolland, Rodney, and Rose, and also a great granddaughter.
Visitation will be at Mayer Funeral Home on Thursday, March 16, 2023 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin, MN on Friday, March 17, 2023 at 10:00 a.m., with viewing at 9:00 a.m. prior to the funeral service. Interment will follow at a later date at Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Renee Escherich family in Donna’s memory.
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