Loved to entertain family and friends
Donna Suntjens was born November 23, 1931 in Drumheller, Alberta the second child of four, born to Donald and Vera McFarlane (nee Martin). Donna passed away on January 6, 2015 at the Red Deer Regional Hospital with Gayle waiting for her return from surgery.
Donna and her family moved south of Coronation, to the Hiram District, following the return of her father Donald from the Second World War. Their closest neighbours, across Dent Lake, just happened to be the Suntjens family. To attend high school Donna had to move into Coronation and board with Anna and Gerrit Bruggencate, whom she always spoke fondly of.
During this time she also met Dorothy Aronyk (nee Trussler), and this was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. After graduating from high school, Donna and Dorothy worked for the Coronation Weather Station and also stood up for each other when they got married.
In 1951 Donna married Henry Suntjens and moved to the farm, south of Coronation, which they farmed together for 55 years. Donna also worked away from the farm, She worked for Marshall Wells (Bert and Vera Gilks), Coronation Farm Equipment (Ken and Lil Anderson) and Parkers Variety Store (Sid and Kay Parker).
Donna was also a very active member in the community: She was a member of The Ladies Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Legion and The Association of Oil Wives Clubs. After moving into Coronation (2006), she volunteered her time to The Coronation Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.
Donna loved to entertain as did Henry. They for many years, had a Christmas Eve party for their family, as well as other families in the area. This included Santa Claus and gifts for all the children,. They worked very hard for this event but always felt it was worth every bit. They also would host corn roasts and Grey Cup parties, which many times also happened to be on her birthday.
Donna loved her family and friends and lived life to the fullest. She will be dearly missed.
Donna is survived by her three children; as well she was the proud grandmother to 10 grandchildren and 20 great – grandchildren:
Gayle (Ken) Steffan of Red Deer
Dean (Teresa) Steffan of Edmonton, Riley and Arielle
Kari McTaggart of Calgary, Caeleb and Joshua
Kevin (Kim) Steffan of Bentley, Blaine, Tyler and Tayler.
Ian Suntjens of Coronation
Krista ( Pat) Soleski of Edmonton
Kody Suntjens (Jolene) of Coronation, Kolby and Kaeli
Lee (Kathy) Suntjens of Red Deer
Trina (Craig) Suntjens-Turner of Edmonton
Brooklynn, Mckenzie and Jordyn
Tara (Sheldon) Davis of Provost
Payton, Emma and Brenna Davis
Trisha (Kelly) Gates of Red Deer, Sawyer.
In 1959 they opened their hearts and home to Joan Anderson (Harley) Bartlett of Calgary
Mae (Rod) Szarka of Edmonton, Logan and Taryn
Brian ( Merry ) Bartlett of Calgary, Luke, Kyle and Joel.
With the unique distinction of having three sets of fraternal twin great grandchildren.
Donna was always very proud of her family and with the addition of each new great-grandchild she just got prouder.
Donna is also survived by sisters-in-law, Marge McFarlane of Edmonton, Mary (Elwood) Deanne of Vancouver and Janet Suntjens of Coronation. Also numerous nieces and nephews are left to mourn their Auntie Donna.
Donna was predeceased by her loving husband Henry, granddaughter Shila, daughter-in-law Sharlene, her parents Donald and Vera, sister Doris, brothers Len (Noel)and Howard, Henry’s parents Henry and Marie, as well as Henry’s sisters Elizabeth and Effie; Henry’s brothers Siebert, Francis and Lawrence.
The funeral service for Donna Suntjens was held at the Coronation Community Centre, Coronation, AB, on Monday, January 12, 2015 at 1 p.m. with the Pastor Clayton Grice officiating.
Barbie Berg and Margaret Evans played for the congregational hymns “How Great Thou Art” and “In The Garden”.
Rod Szarka gave the eulogy. Stuart Somerville played the pipes as a special request from the family.
Granddaughter Trina Suntjens-Turner shared fond memories of her Grandma.
The active pallbearers were grandsons, Kody Suntjens, Dean Steffan, Kevin Steffan,Sheldon Davis, Craig Turner, Rod Szarka, Brian Bartlett, Pat Soleski and Kelly Gates.
The interment took place at the Coronation Cemetery.
Lunch was prepared and served by the Evangelical Free Church Ladies.
As an expression of sympathy and in loving memory of Donna, memorial contributions may be made to STARS or to the Alberta Diabetes Foundation in care of Coronation Funeral Home P.O. Box 358, Coronation, Alberta, TOC 1CO; Heather Caseley has been entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements. 403.578.2928 Condolences can be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.coronationfuneralhome.ca.
Card of Thanks
There are no words that can really express how thankful we are for the wonderful people that were part of our Mom’s life. Hard to know where to start. All of the doctors that tended to her during her last difficult years, your understanding and gentle care; the hospital staff that continued this care, you are an outstanding group of care givers.
Now how to thank the staff of Assisted Living and Home Care; when Mom came to you, you were the most gentle and compassionate group of care givers we have ever seen. You not only gave this care to Mom you gave it to us as well, how fortunate for all of us.
Mom had a vast amount of friends in this small community that were always there for her as well as her family, thank you so much.
To our Cinder girl, your love and caring did not go unnoticed, by us or your Auntie Donna. Our Mom was very lucky to have a wonderful group of three, Verna, Marlene and Mary without you not too sure how any of us would have made this journey, you certainly smoothed out the bumps.
Pastor Grice, your care and compassion for Mom as well as her family, we thank you. The ladies of the Evangelical Free Church for the lovely lunch you provided.
Heather Caseley and the staff of the Coronation Funeral Home, your kind professionalism, was much needed and appreciated.
To say thank you does not seem to be enough, but you need to know it is said whole heartedly.
Thank you all,
Gayle, Ian, Lee and Joan and our families