Donna Grace Nelson, a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, entered into eternal life on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, after a brief stay at Renown Hospital. She was an incredible woman: strong, wise, feisty and independent. Her family and her dog were always her main priorities.
Donna was born in South Sioux City, Neb. on Nov. 19, 1925 to Walter Lloyd Neal and Emily Martha Krueger Neal at a time when life was simple but hard. She remembered ice skating to school, ice sickles inside the family farmhouse in winter and making May baskets for neighbors as a child.
In 1936 her family moved to Los Angeles where she attended Franklin High School. She marveled at the produce and new foods California had to offer, especially her favorite, avocados. Her father joined the Marine Corps in 1942 at which time her family moved to Camp Kerney. Donna transferred to Hoover High School her senior year, which required a 30 mile bus trip by bus, where she graduated from in 1943.
World War II would present many changes in her life. Her father was transferred to NAD Hawthorne in 1943 and the family moved to Babbitt, Nev. Her only brother, Bill, was lost to action Japtan Island in 1944.
Nevada would become Donna’s permanent home. She worked for Security National Bank, Mineral County Power System, NAD Hawthorne and the Hawthorne Federal Credit Union, where she retired as assistant treasurer in 1989 after 36 years.
In 1948 Donna married Arthur Thomas (Tom) Nelson. Their marriage would last more than 60 years until his passing in 2012. They enjoyed camping at Virginia Lakes, sledding in Corey Canyon, pine nut gathering, traveling and supporting their daughters’ school activities in Hawthorne.
1991 would mean a move to Reno to live closer to family. The acquisition of a new home included gaining new friends and neighbors who were wonderful. Donna loved Reno. She loved being with family, the activities, the restaurants, shopping and spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren at Lake Tahoe.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Bill Neal; her infant daughter, Jeanette Nelson and her loving husband of 63 years, Tom Nelson. She is survived by daughters Joni (Louie) Test of Reno, Nev. and Mimi (Jeff) Gutman of Monte Sereno, Calif. She is also survived by granddaughters: Jaci (Kameron) Konold, Megan (Chris) Greiner, Hayley Paige (Danny) Walli, and Melissa Test; great grandsons: Kasen and Rylan Konold; caregiver Rommel Maralit and best-dog, Dolly.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. at Pinocchio’s (5995 S. Virginia, Reno). Please remember Donna with a toast of a martini and a donation in her name to the Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Ln, Ste B, Reno 89502.