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1951 Donna 2023

Donna Howe

January 16, 1951 — January 20, 2023


Donna Mae (Jahner) Howe’s time for departure arrived on January 20, 2023 at age 72, while at home under the loving care of her husband and surrounded by family.    

Visitation is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck, ND, followed by a rosary at 6:40 p.m. with a vigil at 7:00 p.m.

The funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. at Church of Corpus Christi, 1919 North Second Street, Bismarck, followed by burial at Fairview Cemetery, Bismarck. Following burial, lunch will be held at Corpus Christi. To view the service livestream, go to the church's YouTube, linked HERE.

Donna arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dickinson, ND on January 16, 1951, the daughter of Frank and Eva (Sticka) Jahner of rural Regent.  Donna enjoyed being the seventh child of eleven with the advantage of having close relationships with both the older and younger siblings.

As a girl and young woman, Donna enjoyed horseback riding on the family farm and loved sports. She still holds the Regent school track record in hurdles, (ignore the fact that the event was changed from yards to meters). Donna excelled in softball, throughout her years, from farmyard ball to playing on adult women’s and couples’ teams. 

After arriving at Dickinson State in 1969, the beautiful freshman caught the eye of Berdette. They were married in a joint faith ceremony at St. Patrick’s Church in Dickinson on August 27, 1971. The newlyweds started their careers in Mandan.

As the new relationship and budding family took root, Donna kept her sibling ties strong when her work life also began to grow. As a part time college job, Donna worked at the Coca Cola plant in Dickinson with her brother Fred, the Office Manager. She later worked for The ND Education Association, Midco Data, Mandan Security Bank and then Social Services during a short period living in Valley City.

Donna and Berdette moved back to Dickinson in 1975 where Donna worked at First National Bank and later at JoAnn Fabrics where she applied her skills as a seamstress. Her kind spirit and her helpfulness there were appreciated by customers and coworkers alike. Donna stayed at home with her pre-school children while also providing in-home child care. She resumed work at Joann Fabrics after moving to Bismarck in 1991 until she retired in 2013.      

The couple enjoyed many memorable travels including Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Israel and roughly all four corners of the continental US. 

Donna is remembered for her infectious (and sometimes uncontrollable) laughter and her sweet personality that was enjoyed by her husband of over 51 years, her family, friends and acquaintances. Her strength – both in the joy of hard work and athleticism, her commitment to her faith, and perhaps most of all, her happiness in the precious moments spent with her five grandchildren, four children, their spouses and her husband, were most cherished and will endure. Her thriving four adult children and families are a testament to her success as a loving,  thoughtful mom and mentor.

Donna indicated recently that her parents didn’t have the means to provide a lot of material gifts growing up, but the most meaningful and lasting gift she received from them was her faith. Asked if she believed in Jesus as her Lord and Savior, the answer was, “Absolutely!” 

Donna loved to work outdoors - gardening, mowing, raising flowers and shoveling snow. A neighbor commented that they did not need to plant flowers, but only had to look at Donna’s yard to enjoy her flowers.  Favorite pastimes included long walks, playing cards and dancing at big family weddings … and impromptu dancing with her husband whenever (Sittin’on) the Dock of the Bay (her favorite song) or Wonderful Tonight came on. She was also renowned as an excellent baker and cook, including caramel rolls [with grandkids helping] and classics from her Germans-from-Russia heritage, like kasnip soup.

Donna had been dealing with a milder case of Parkinson’s for about 10 years, but the greater challenges were attributed to Lewy Body Dementia, especially over the last two years. As her illness progressed, her love and faith remained constant, ending her goodbyes with “Love you, God bless.”  Like the flowers so enjoyed by Donna, she has blossomed, flourished, borne fruit and now faded.  The love between us all, however, has grown, thrived, endured adversity and remains undiminished.  We miss you Grandma!  ‘Love you! God Bless!’

Grateful for having shared her life are husband, Berdette Howe; children and families in Seattle– Christopher Howe (Jennifer) Dakota, Eva; Lisa Galaites (Jimmie) Ella, Harper; Andrew Howe (Kacy) Margot; and Fargo family, Anthony Howe (Taylor).

Surviving siblings and spouses include Marvin (Alta) Jahner, Loretta (Nick) Reinert, Alvira (David) Schaaf, Gerald (Mary) Jahner, Francis (Teresa) Jahner, James (Connie) Jahner, Marie (David) Nasset and Connie (Les) Kirschmann, and Sister In-Law Pat Jahner.    

Siblings and spouses that have gone before: Fred Jahner and Barb (Gene) Bergee. Donna was also loved by her extended family that includes 54 nieces, nephews and their families.

The family is very thankful for the extensive support network that allowed for Donna to be cared for at home, including the ND Department of Aging Program, the Alzheimer’s Association, Innovative Therapies, CHI St Alexius Hospice and for the numerous family and friends that supplied prayers, meals, treats, cards, errands and visits.

For those inclined, Donna would be honored for memorials to go to St Gianna’s Maternity Home, Minto ND 58261 or the God’s Child Project, Bismarck, ND.


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