Donna Lou Ford passed away peacefully in Boise, Idaho on March 13, 2016 with her loving daughter Sharon by her side. Donna was born in Minot, North Dakota on March 26th, 1928 to Albert and Faye Hahn. Donna was the youngest of three children born to this union. When Donna was 14 the family moved from North Dakota to Vallejo, California where her father established a successful dry cleaning business which he maintained for many years.
Donna later went on to do administrative work for Kaiser Permanente before meeting the love of her life, a handsome marine, Kenneth Calvin Ford. Kenneth and Donna married in Reno, Nevada in 1950 and started a life together in Vallejo. They welcomed three children into their lives, Sharon in 1952, Mark in 1954 and Tamsen in 1964.
Donna and Kenneth moved their family from Vallejo to Donner Lake, California in 1954. It was at Donner Lake that the family made many precious memories. Donna loved the Donner Lake/Truckee area and enjoyed watching her children swim in the lake from sun up till sun down throughout the summer … and make endless snow tunnels through the large snow drifts in the winter. Despite moving from Donner Lake, it was always home to her and she enjoyed the beauty of the area.
The family eventually settled in Markleeville, California in 1970, where Kenneth worked as an appraiser for Alpine County. Kenneth passed away in 1972, leaving Donna to care for her family on her own. Rather than succumb to hardship, she independently raised her three children, and secured a job at the local Forest Service guard station. She worked at that job for nearly 20 years and she was the “face of the Forest Service” as she greeted visitors to the station looking for forest information, maps and campfire permits. She radiated kindness and truly enjoyed helping people through her work. In addition to her duties in the Forest Service guard station, she worked on many forest fires, keeping time for the firefighters and keeping the mood of the camp light-hearted and jovial. She was admired and loved by all who had the opportunity to work with her.
In 1992 she retired from the Forest Service and moved to Pocatello, Idaho to be closer to her daughter Sharon and her family. She spent many hours enjoying her grandchildren, traveling, gardening, and pampering her dogs. She moved back to Reno in 1994 to be close to her son Mark and daughter Tamsen, and enjoyed time spent living with both of them. There were countless trips to California, slot-machine marathons, rib cook-offs, Awful-Awful burger outings, family BBQ’s and cherished memories. Donna made her final journey back to Idaho in December 2013 when medical concerns necessitated her move into assisted living.
Although her final years were spent battling dementia and chronic pain, she was able to enjoy many activities with family. She loved watching her great-grandsons’ sporting events, her great-granddaughter’s dance recitals, going out to yogurt, dinners at the Olive Garden, bingo, crafts, parties, holidays and especially having her day of beauty, with her daughter Sharon styling her hair and make-up. She was loved each and every minute.
Throughout her life Donna exemplified kindness. She was always concerned about others and unselfish in her ways. She loved animals, going out of her way to take in stray dogs that she treated like royalty. They in turn gave her loving companionship that she truly cherished. Donna’s life was full of adventure, love and accomplishment. She was a breast cancer survivor, blue-ribbon winning pie baker, master gardener, poker champion, and animal rights advocate.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents Albert and Faye, brother Harold, sister Bernice, and husband Kenneth. She is survived by her daughter
Sharon (Paul) Stuke, Kuna, Idaho; son Mark Ford, Reno, Nevada; daughter Tamsen Ford, Reno, Nevada; granddaughter Yvonne (Eric) Gerratt, Boise, Idaho; grandson Robert (Emily) Montgomery, Reno, Nevada; and 7 great grand-children. The family would like to thank the staff of Spring Creek Assisted Living, Valley View Nursing & Rehabilitation and Horizon Hospice for the support and care of our beloved mother and grandmother. Cremation is under the care of Bella Vida funeral home. A private family memorial will be held at Donner Lake.
Mom, I love you beyond what this world can put to words. You showed me perseverance, resilience, and tenacity, but most of all you showed in your own approach to life’s difficulties…… grace and sheer grit. Thanks mom, im always with you.
A beautiful woman inside and out.
Donna Ford was a beautiful person inside and out. I felt an instant connection with her and feel so lucky to have know her.