Donna M. Kuehnle, Mechanicsville, died Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Graveside Celebration of Life service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, September 26, 2020, at Rose Hill Cemetery Mechanicsville. The family has requested everyone in attendance to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Donna was born August 16, 1929 to Mark and Marie (Coleman) Orndorff in New London, Iowa. She attended New London Schools and graduated from Iowa State University with a Home Economics degree. After graduation, she moved to Elgin, Illinois and taught HomeEc.
Donna met John (Jack) Kuehnle at a softball game. Jack was pitching and Donna’s brother was catching. Introductions were made and courting began. They married December 19, 1954, in the rectory of Trinity Catholic Church in Dubuque. She was a protestant marrying a catholic, somehow they made it work. They started their married life in Puerto Rico where he was stationed in the Army and she taught.
After Jack was discharged from the army they settled in Mechanicsville, where Donna immersed herself into the community while raising their family: John (Michele), Mark (Julie), Anne (Joe), Sara (Joe) and Jane (Ken), plus their foreign exchange student, Belen. Like all grandparents she loved her grandchildren: Joel (Jackie), Francis (Kai), Paul, Ellen, Jill (Joe), Erik, Alison (Jessie) and Ian. Step grandchildren: Tony (Laura), Dan (Rachel), Rachael (Joel) and Heather (Trent). She enjoyed seeing the addition of her great grandchildren, Benjamin, Greyson and Leah, to the family.
She is survived by sister, Shirley Lange, sisters-in-law LouAnn Kress and Lois Orndorff, brother-in-law Bill Frommelt. She was predeceased: by her husband, infant daughter Lora, brother Ron Orndorff, grandchildren James, Emma, and Kayla, brothers-in-law Cecil Lange and Tom Kress, and sister-in-law Kay Frommelt.
Our mother was fiercely independent. She spent much of her time stating “I can do that” or “I’m not helpless”. It was her independence that kept her moving. She was tough and didn’t complain. She led by example by being involved in various activities in Mechanicsville: Camp Fire Leader, TTF, Garden Club, Trees Forever, Red Hat Society. She enjoyed reading and belonged to the Library Book Club. She was very active in the First Presbyterian Church and prepared funeral meals for many years. Fondly referred to as “cooking for the dead” by our father. She was the first woman elected to the School Board for Lincoln Community School District. She championed education for all children in their home districts. She was not a dog lover, which perhaps is why 4 of her 5 children have dogs.
She loved sports, especially the Hawkeyes. She attended Hawkeye sports for over 50 years, and if she wasn’t at the stadium/fieldhouse she was watching it on TV. She and Jack were able to travel including trips overseas, they belonged to a bridge club, and enjoyed time being with their family and friends.
Contributions may be made in Donna’s memory to: First Presbyterian Church, Cedar County Senior Dining, or Mechanicsville Public Library.