Donalee Burns

Friday, April 19, 2024 2:38 am

Donalee Burns, age 78, of Decorah, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Decorah Covenant Church (115 Washington St, Decorah, IA 52101) with Rev. Julie Chamberlain presiding. There will be a reception following the service at the VFW from 2 to 4 p.m.

Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 22, 2024, at Helms Funeral Home, 306 E. Water St., in Decorah. There will be no visitation prior to the service at the church on Tuesday morning.

Donalee’s service will be live streamed at the following link:¬†

Donalee was born in Dayton, Ohio. Her family moved back to Decorah shortly after her dad got back from WWII. She graduated from Thomas Roberts High School in Decorah in 1963. She attended Luther College in Decorah Iowa for a short time, but left to start her family. She married Harvey Lynn Burns in 1966. They divorced only a few short years later.

In 1979, Donalee made the decision to return to Luther College. As a single mother of 3 she was an unconventional student. But she had her family and determination on her side. She majored in Theater after falling in love with performing on the stage in high school. She graduated in 1982 with a degree in Theater Arts.

Donalee was also a founding member of the New Minowa Players in 1975. Along with being a board member, she also appeared in many performances and was involved in almost every aspect of production – from building and painting sets, to designing and sewing costumes, as well as laying out the programs and getting the advertising. The costume room was her pride and joy. She loved going over every piece and organizing everything so that anyone could find what they needed. Her last performance was in a Varity Show that covered the history of the NMP in 2023.

Donalee was one of those people who never met a stranger she did not know. She always had a kind word, and a big smile for everyone. As we all know her hugs were legendary. Her optimistic view of the world led her down many paths. Along with an extensive work history throughout the Decorah Community. One of her biggest passions was Decorah Covenant Church. Where she worked as the church secretary until she retired. Her church family, like everyone else, became an extension of her family.

Donalee is survived by her sister Darla (Rima) Stillions, Joshua Eide, Emily Pritchard; her daughter Kristine (Scott) Duder; her son Robert Burns; her daughter Dena (Larry) Bentley; her grandchildren: Daniel Burns (Megan Protsman), Allison Burns, Macie Rouse, Jeff Burns, Jade Burns, Jacob Burns; her great grandchildren Hailey Kennington, Carver Burns, Mason Rouse, Olivia Burns, J.R. Grifith, Charlie Grifith, Jemma Griffith; and her great-great grandson Oliver Kennington.

She was preceded in death by her parents Don and Arleen (Mull) Rima; her sister Marguerite Rima; her grandparents Ward and Florence Rima, Walter and Willamena Mull; her great-grand daughter Willow Grifith; and grandson-in-law Rocky Rouse.

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