Donna Jean Wampler was born Oct. 13, 1933, in Skidmore, Mo., the youngest of six children (three boys and three girls). She passed away Nov. 12, 2011, in Sun City West, Ariz. She is survived by her brother Daryl and his wife, Margaret, of Grants Pass, as well as two Salmon brothers-in-law; many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Her surviving children are Colleen, Karen and Bud, plus six grandchildren.
The family migrated from the Missouri dust bowl with a group of people and landed in Hood River in the late 1930s.
We met as the only two girls in the fourth grade at Frankton Grade School when we were 10 years old. From then on we were friends in school and in church, serving as church janitors, enjoying many sleepovers and graduating in the class of 1952.
When I got married in that church, she was my maid of honor and her future husband was best man. Six months later she married him at the church and I was her bridesmaid.
We both worked in Portland and shared apartment buildings. Then her husband finished college and was hired by IBM before he was drafted and I moved to San Diego, Calif., with my job so we were separated.
My family and I were at the Seattle World's Fair and found Bill and Donna in a crowd. From then on, we made contact as families frequently. While she lived in Idaho, Oklahoma, Colorado Springs and Bellevue, Wash., I lived in Prairie City, Iowa. We both retired - her from school board administration and secretary, and me from managing my husband's medical practice, in addition to 20 years involvement in local government.
Donna and I came to the 35-year Hood River High School reunion and enjoyed the camaraderie - especially with Gary and Lois Thelen. After that the six of us traveled together on some special trips.
Bill rented a yacht and the six of us cruised the Straits of Juan de Fuca for a week, vacationed a week in South Padre Island, took several Mexico trips to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, and cruised the Panama Canal, to name a few.
Most recently, a group of Class of 1952 grads and spouses do an annual week together (compliments of Paul Van Etten) to Seaside Ore., Depot Bay, Ore., Windsor, Calif., in the redwoods, and Angels Camp, Calif., in the Sequoias to name a few. Our last trip was a repeat to Seaside. We enjoyed being roommates with Bill and Donna.
For me, Donna was always my skinny friend with a fabulous sense of humor. In 1993 Salmons and Thelens came to Iowa to spend a week with us and play golf. On one occasion, we girls were in a nearby town of Pella when we ran into a friend of mine. I said, "I would like to have you meet these gals who have been friends of mine for 50 years." Donna promptly said, "They may be old, but I'm NOT."
Her quick wit was unforgettable.
I can honestly attest to her being a wonderful mother, a faithful and loyal friend, and a soul mate to her husband of almost 58 years.
She was who she was and will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
By Erlene Fullington (Veverka Smith)
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