Grace Donker, 79, of Chadron, NE, died early Saturday morning, August 20, 2011, at Prairie Pines Lodge.
She was born December 28, 1931, at the home of her parents, Dick and Anna Luurs, outside Platte, SD. She was born the fifth of eight children.
Grace was raised on the South Dakota farm, attended school until she graduated from the eighth grade, and was very proud to go back to school to complete her GED in 1972. When she was eighteen, she took a job taking care of a couple in a small town not far from home.
While she was working for this elderly couple, she met Albert (Rusty) Donker on a blind date with his best friend, Arlin Plooster, and his sister, Noreen Donker-Plooster. Grace once said that she married Rusty because he was so much fun to be with. Rusty and Grace were married on January 29, 1953, and were married for almost 51 years before Rusty passed away. When they were first married, they lived and worked on the Mule Head Ranch outside Farifax, SD, right along the Missouri River. A few years later, they moved to Hot Springs, SD, where they bought a Mobil filling station, and a few years later they took over the operation on the Standard Oil Bulk Fuel Company. In 1968, they moved their family to Chadron, NE and bought the Culligan Soft Water Plant, where they worked together to make it successful. They retired in 1998, but continued to help with the business for another couple of years. To this union, there were four children born: Jerry (Red) Donker, David (Dutch) Donker, Steven Donker and Nancy Donker-Eitler.
She was a long time member of the First Congregational Church, where she served as an officer for many years for the Ladies Aid groups. She was also a member of the BPO Does for many years, and more recently was an active member of the Eastern Star.
Her family was the most important part of her life, and she enjoyed family gatherings and activities, including church activities- she loved to have her entire family attend church with her at the holidays. She also enjoyed family holiday meals.
Grace is survived by three of her four children, Nancy (Gary) Eitler, David (Karen) Donker and Steven (Dani) Donker, and daughter-in-law, Teala (Jerry) Donker. She is preceded in death by her eldest child, Jerry, and her husband, Rusty, who preceded her to her reward by seven years. She is also preceded in death by her parents, three sister and two brothers. She is survived by two brothers and numerous brothers and sisters-in law, eleven grandchildren, two step grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and two step great grandchildren.
Her funeral service will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Chadron with Dr. Russ Seger officiating. There will be a viewing on Wednesday, August 24 at Chamberlain Chapel from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery.
A memorial has been established. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.