Obituary | Donna Louise Kowalske
Donna Louise (Jackson) Kowalske was born Oct. 29, 1936 in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin to Robert and Gladys Jackson and died Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 in Kingman, Arizona.
Donna grew up in her family hometown of Fond Du Lac and attended St. Peters Lutheran School and graduated from Winnebago Lutheran Academy. When Donna was 16 years old she contracted spinal meningitis and almost died. This life threatening illness caused many health problems for Donna throughout her lifetime but it did not stop her. Donna was strong. She worked extremely hard to graduate with her class even though she missed almost an entire year of school.
Donna worked for an investment company right out of high school and was a very savvy businesswoman. She built a foundation that has helped countless people over the years and will continue to bless others for generations to come. Donna also worked for the Wisconsin State Highway Patrol and had many fond stories of her time there.
Donna married David Kowalske on Oct. 6, 1956. Upon the advice of doctors, Dave and Donna decided to move to a drier climate. They saw an ad for a flower shop in Kingman and a week later they sold their home in Wisconsin, packed up their belongings and drove out West. They purchased Kingman Rose Garden and started working the first day they came to town. They worked tirelessly and created a very successful business. In 1971 when the catastrophic Doxol propane tanker exploded and numerous Kingman volunteer fireman, local heroes and workers perished, Donna and Dave worked day and night to create funeral bouquets and wreaths for the services, at no charge to the families.
Donna was an active member of the community having joined many clubs and organizations. She especially liked the Soroptimist Club of Kingman because they helped women and girls. She helped charter the “S” Club and was an advocate of the Venture Club and through her overwhelming support, the “Splash Pad” project became a reality. She was a dedicated member of this group, always there to help in any way she could. Donna celebrated 50 years of perfect attendance with Soroptimist in 2014.
Donna was truly and steadfastly committed to the community – always volunteering her time and energy. She never hesitated to give to so many projects. She wanted to make a difference in the community she loved, and she did. She was a charter member of Grace Lutheran Church where she served on the church council, supported the preschool and was active in the church choir, as well as the Mohave Community Choir. She was instrumental in building the columbarium at Grace Lutheran Church. She served on the City of Kingman Clean City Commission; Kingman Chamber of Commerce; Kingman Elks Ladies, Kingman Garden Club; Girls Ranch of Arizona; Kingman Cancer Care Center; Kingman Area Food Bank; KAAP; and Special Olympics. Donna was a founding member of Living Word Lutheran Church and remained a member until her death.
Donna had countless volunteer hours with the Mohave Museum of History and Arts and was instrumental in preserving the history of the Elks Lodge.
Donna raised over $30,000.00 for the Kingman Fire Department’s Fire Safety House in memory of her daughter, Wendy Marie. She made hundreds of quilts that were distributed to area schools, veterans and children’s hospitals.
Donna is survived by her brothers, Robert (Carol) Jackson and Gary (Addie) Jackson; nephews and a niece. Donna was preceded in death by her beloved husband, David, and children, Wendy Marie and Mark David Kowalske.
Donna lived her life as a true humanitarian and has had a tremendous impact on the lives of others. When she saw a need in our community, an individual or family, she rallied to the cause and the need was met. Many described Donna as having a “HEART OF GOLD.”
Kingman would not be the same without Donna’s contributions and we were blessed to call her friend.
A memorial service will be held at Living Word Lutheran Church on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 at 1 p.m. Seating is very limited, therefore, all are encouraged to view the service live on Living Word’s Facebook page.
A Memorial Fund has been established and gifts may be sent in Donna’s memory to: “Living Word Lutheran Church Memorial Fund,” 3880 Stockton Hill Road, Suite 103, Box 300, Kingman, AZ 86409.