Donna was born on April 28, 1940 in Culver City, CA where her father worked as a carpenter on Hollywood movie sets. They moved back to South Dakota six weeks after she was born. Donna grew up on a farm outside Madison, S.D. with her mom Lillian, her dad Alfred, her brother Gary, and sisters Linda and Bev. The farmhouse had a wood burning stove in the kitchen for cooking and one coal stove in the living room for heating. In the winters her mother would heat several irons and wrap them in towels which would be placed into the bed she shared with her siblings. The farm didn’t have electricity or running water. The only modern entertainment was a battery powered radio where she would listen to the Lone Ranger, The Squeaky Door, and The Shadow! Donna’s mother, Lillian, didn’t want the girls to learn how to milk cows, because if they ever married a farmer they would be expected to do that in addition to the numerous other chores of life on the farm.
When they weren’t in school, life for Donna and her siblings included herding the cows, gathering eggs from the chicken coop, churning butter, and helping their dad, Alfred, by removing heavy rocks that had come to the surface in the fields.
Donna started first grade at five years old in a one room country school. She always looked forward to the Christmas program where she would sing carols and make a doll for baby Jesus. When she returned home after the program the presents would be on the front porch and her dad would tell the kids that he could see reindeer prints in the snow.
As she got older the family would go into town on Saturday nights. First to the dairy to get a malt for .25 cents and maybe to a movie. Donna attended Beadle High School in Madison, S.D. graduating in 1958. She talked about how she and her future husband, Jim, would throw corncobs with love notes tied around when her school bus would pass by.
Donna and Jim were married on October 18, 1958 in Minnesota. Jim joined the Navy and Donna moved to Newport, R.I. to set up a home where Jim was stationed. Her first son Tim was born in 1959, followed by daughter Robin in 1965, and finally her favorite, Jody, in 1972. Shortly after Jim got out of the Navy, the family moved to Denver in 1968. They fulfilled their dreams of having a home in the Colorado mountains in the early 70’s. Every summer Donna would enjoy the Rocky Mountain air while tending to her rock garden.
In 1982 the family moved back to Denver. Donna quickly began fixing up her new home with a country living style of décor and the best-looking flower gardens and yard in the neighborhood. Our memories of these times include her making homemade donuts, goulash, and fresh pies. She set up a workshop in the basement where she cutout and painted her own crafts and decorations. She was a self-taught artist, with a gift for drawing and painting. She began to sell her wares to a local shop called “Tennessee Country Crafts”.
Memories of Christmas' past when all the kids and later the grandkids would go to the basement on Christmas eve before Santa came. We would hear the bell dong and hear a woman's voice forced into a deep tone yelling, "Ho, ho, ho". One year Justin exclaimed, "That sounds like grandma!”
Donna took selfless care of her house, her husband and her kids. She nursed Jim in his final days before he passed away in 1999. Her austere upbringing gave her an iron strong emotional and physical strength in addition to a deep faith in her eternal salvation and love for the Lord which she passed on to her children. A long-time member of Amazing Grace Church, Donna served for years as a greeter, welcoming returning members and often the first to greet new visitors, and working behind the scenes at church functions. She was there every Sunday until her health finally prevented her continuing.
Donna saw the best in everyone she came across. When speaking of whomever she last met, her words were usually, “They were the nicest…”. Donna was well known for her loving heart, gentle spirit, and endless generosity. She dearly loved her grandchildren and devoted hours to taking them to McDonalds play land, watching war movies and having tea parties.
Donna is proceeded in death by her mother and father, sister Linda and brother Gary, and husband Jim.
She is survived by her sister Bev; children Tim, Robin, and Jody; grandchildren Brittnee, Kelsee, Justin, Josh, Cody, Austin and Timmy, and great grandchildren Brayden, Hailey, Robby, Charlee and Mylin; as well as several other friends and relatives.
Donna will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
May her soul rest in peace with our Lord.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna M. Pulford, please visit our floral store.