Donna Jean Brellenthen, 94, of Lake Geneva, entered in to eternal glory in Heaven on June 13, 2019 at Golden Years with her family at her side.
Donna was born in a snow storm on May 24, 1925 in Elkhorn, WI to Claude “Mud” and Alene (Desing) Eames. She attended Elkhorn Schools and was a cheerleader for the Elks. She graduated in 1943 and entered nurses training at Milwaukee Lutheran Hospital, receiving her RN pin in 1946. She worked at Walworth County Hospital in the obstetrical department.
Her cheerleading skills from high school had caught the eye of a certain lineman on the Lake Geneva High School Team. It probably helped that she was also pretty cute. She married Birdell “Burly” Brellenthin on June 7, 1947 in Elkhorn and just celebrated their 72nd anniversary.
Donna continued her nursing career as a private duty nurse until their first child John “Jack” Birdell was born in 1948. She and Jack accompanied Burly when he was recalled into the Air Force in 1951-52. Their daughter, Wendy Sue, arrived in 1952.
Donna excelled as a stay at home mom while the kids were young, frequently serving as “room mother”, helping Jack learn how to center a football and accompanying Wendy and Bobby Cook on the piano for their duets. She worked as a relief nurse at the Northwestern Military Academy, was very active in the Red Cross teaching classes and providing disaster relief in the area, and assisting with immunization clinics at the schools. When the kids were in high school and college, she took an RN refresher course and was employed at Lakeland Hospital and later at the Walworth County Counseling Center.
Donna and Burly traveled extensively throughout their years together, starting with camping trips with the children, and then to countries in five out of the seven continents and all fifty states. Burly estimates that they logged a half million miles in their motorhome.
Donna had many interests in life. She was club champion at Hillmoor Country Club and golfed until arthritis took hold of her hands and shoulders. She iceboated, attended UW football games for over 50 years and Packer games for over 30 years, directed the choir and served on the Altar Guild at church, enjoyed music, dancing and the arts. Her vibrant “chirpy” personality and love of life will be deeply missed.
Donna is survived by her husband, Burly, and Jack and Wendy and their families: Jack and Beth Brellenthin, Chattanooga, TN and their children, Rebecca and Douglas Bates Centerville, TN, Stephen and Ashton Brellenthin, Avon, IN and Joseph “Taylor” and Holly Brellenthin, Rossville, GA; Wendy and Dan Erickson, Eau Claire, WI and their children Mark and Jennifer Erickson, St. Paul, MN and Adam and Chelsea Erickson, O’Fallon, MO, great-grandchildren; Kathleen “Kitty” and Talulah Bates, John Brellenthin, and Camille Erickson, and baby Erickson due in August. Also survived by her brother Frank Eames and his wife Pat and their children Brad Eames, Glenn and Lisa Terry and Sandra and Brian Bleser, all of Elkhorn. Further survived by her cousin James Mason and his wife Susanne of Elkhorn.
Christian funeral services for Donna will be on Saturday June 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the church. A light luncheon will be provided after the service at the church. Burial of the cremains will be will be private at Hazel Ridge Cemetery in Elkhorn.
In lieu of flowers please direct memorials to First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lake Geneva.
Special thanks to the caring staff of Golden Years. Your love and compassion for Donna will never be forgotten. Sincere thanks to Mercy Hospice and Home Health Care for directing Donna’s care and keeping her comfortable in her last days. Donna and Burly deeply appreciated the visits from Pastor Schultz from the First Lutheran and for keeping them both in prayer. Special thanks to Helen Hacht.
Derrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services is honored to be serving the Brellenthin family. To sign the on-line guest registry Guestbook.
First Lutheran Church and School
1101 Logan St., Lake Geneva WI 53147