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Donna Mae McDonald

Donna Mae Bata was born May 30, 1934, to Joseph Frank and Fairy Helen (Jones) Bata at home south of Diagonal in the Toman Hills. She was welcomed home by older sisters Louise and Reva. Later, her adopted brother, Joseph Albert, joined the family.

The temperature on Donna’s birthday was 97 degrees Fahrenheit, a record high that still holds today. She liked to tell people to have sympathy for her poor mother being in labor with no air conditioning in the heat. Sister Reva would tell people to have more sympathy for her and Louise who had to sit in a hot car all day with their father.

Donna grew up in the Diagonal area and attended Diagonal Community Schools. In 1950 she married Billy Joe Bunker. Donna and Joe welcomed daughter Deborah Lynn in 1952. They later divorced.

In 1957 Donna married Marion “Dean” McDonald in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dean’s work with Hughes Aircraft took them all over the country. They lived in Alaska, Florida, Michigan, California, Arizona, Utah, and Washington. While Donna enjoyed traveling and living in different parts of the country, she was happy to return to Diagonal in 1971. She lived in the same home until 2023 when she entered Clearview Nursing Home in Mount Ayr, Iowa.

In 1958 Dean and Donna adopted Dean’s niece, Valarie Ranae, in Spokane, Washington and raised her as their own daughter. In 1969 daughter Angela Michelle was adopted in Arizona to complete the family. Donna loved all her children and cared for many nieces and nephews over the years as well.
Donna worked various jobs during her life, waitressing and working in factories. She worked for many years at Bunn-O-Matic in Creston. She worked at Walmart in Creston. She especially liked working for her sister Reva at Revie’s Place in Diagonal and for Mike and Dwight Matheny at Mickey D’s in Clearfield. Donna made friends wherever she worked.

Cooking was a love of Donna’s, and she was known for her omelets, biscuits and gravy and homemade salsa. If you were lucky enough to be gifted a jar of salsa her only requirement was to return her canning jars so she could make more.
Donna loved owls and had an extensive collection of figurines, plates, pictures, pins, and shirts. She was known to wear Hooter’s t-shirts for the owls and people brought her shirts from all over the country and the world.
She loved music and dancing. Caldwell’s was a popular spot to cut a rug at for many years. If she couldn’t find a dance partner, she would go out on the floor alone. Donna would also make up her own little songs to serenade the coffee guys at Revie’s Place every morning.

Towards the end of her life, Donna had two cats that she loved dearly. Lucy and Desi were great napping buddies, and their antics made her laugh daily.
Donna passed away on November 17, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Dean; sisters Reva Shiflett and Louise Froit; brother Joe Bata and nephew Steven Shiflett.

Survivors include her daughters Deborah (Glen) Dodd and Angela McDonald; grandchildren Melinda (Terry) Kilberg, Aaron (Susan) Dodd; great-grandchildren Cael and Eyan Kilberg, Jackson Amunson, Aubree, and Saylor Dodd; and many friends.

Donna shared her love of life and laughter with everyone she met. She will be missed by all that know her. A memorial fund has been established in her name. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr was in charge of the arrangements. Services 1:00 p.m. – Wednesday, November 22, 2023, United Church of Diagonal, Diagonal, Iowa.

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