Donna M. Mandelko, 87, passed away Tuesday, April 16, at the Gundersen Harmony Care Center, Harmony, MN, surrounded by her family. Donna was born February 2, 1931 to Earl and Ida (Kulsrud) Hahn at home in Preston Township, Fillmore County, MN. She married Delbert C. Mandelko January 4, 1953 at St. Paul (on the hill) church in Preston. Donna and Delbert lived a 64 year marriage until his death in 2017. Together, they welcomed all into their home.
Donna attended Preston Elementary School and graduated from Preston High School as valedictorian in 1949. She was a member of the band, choir, and editor of the school newspaper. She attended 1 year of college at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN, then transferred to Luther College in Decorah, IA, graduating with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught 3 years at North St. Paul Public School. In August, 1954, Donna and Delbert started farming in Carimona Township, and later they formed a partnership, Breezy Hill Farm, with their son, Steve and his wife, Susan. Through the years Donna was an active church member at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, and participated in the women’s circle, taught Sunday school, President of the Southeast Conference WELCA and a member of the Preston VFW Auxiliary. She supported her husband in his dairy farming and political organizations. Donna was a devoted wife and mother.
One of Donna’s many chores on the farm was her nurturing and raising of calves, in which she did an incredible job. Donna loved watching the birds, growing flowers, and walking in the woods. Her brownies and chocolate chip cookies were “world famous” according to those who were lucky enough to eat them. Creativity and fun were always “memories in the making” for all who knew her.
Donna is survived by her son, Steve (Susan), Preston, and 2 daughters, Joan (Dave) Wissing, Preston and Jean (Craig) Nagel, Onalaska. She is further survived by 3 grandchildren, Nathan (Cassie) Mandelko and their children, Jada and Jacob, Farmington, MN. Rocky Nagel, Onalaska, WI, and Stoney Nagel, LaCrosse, WI. Other survivors are a sister-in-law Delone Langum, Ramona, CA., brother-in-law, Allan (Virginia) Mandelko, Preston and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband, her brother, Robert Hahn, sister, Kate Pitney, grandson Justin Delbert Mandelko, and John Moore whom she loved as a son.
Donna lived her life with faith, grace, honor, gratitude, and integrity.
The family would like to thank the Gundersen Harmony Care Center for the excellent care to Donna and a thank you to the many friends and relatives who called, sent cards, and visited her.
Funeral Services 11 A.M. Monday, April 23 at St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Granger, MN. Pastor Mary Waudby will officiate. Burial will follow in St. Matthews Cemetery, in Granger, MN. Friends may call from 9:30-11 A.M. on Monday at the church. Hindt-Hudek Funeral Home, Preston, MN, is assisting the family.