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Donna Jane (Burgess) Grabianowski 1933-2021


Posted By: Barry R Huntsinger (email)
Date: 10/10/2021 at 07:07:35

Donna Jane Grabianowski was born on January 6, 1933 to Edward and Lillie (Jones) Burgess on a farm near Armstrong, IA. She died on Monday, August 30, 2021 at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN at the age of 88.

Donna attended and graduated from Armstrong High School, Class of '51. She worked in Armstrong before marrying Eddie Grabianowski on February 23, 1957 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Armstrong. She was a lifelong resident of Emmet County.

Donna was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and was a member of The Altar Society, serving in all offices, the president of Circle for 25 years, an usher, and was also a church custodial worker. She was a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary Post 5232 and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She, alongside with Eddie, organized and worked countless VFW breakfasts during the entire span of time they were held. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, knitting, crocheting, and cheering on her favorite sports teams: The Vikings and The Twins.

Donna was raised on a farm just west of Armstrong on a hill which overlooks the river valley. In addition to farm work, as a young girl she occasionally accompanied and helped her father when he transported various goods and livestock on consignment to Chicago markets/exchange for area farmers. She worked at the town sale barn in the canteen, and she assisted in tending livestock during auctions.

Donna formed very close bonds with several nieces and nephews as she spent much time with her older siblings’ families whenever they visited their parents at their homestead and later when her own family would visit her siblings. Later in life, she helped an older brother overcome issues with alcohol when she and Eddie encouraged him to live with her family unconditionally until he found positive purpose in his life.

Throughout her working life, Donna worked in various jobs all around the Armstrong area. Examples include the town movie theater, grocer, the East Side and Whitehouse cafes. She was a talented cook/chef in both town supper-club restaurants. She worked in the custodial field at both Rim and Wheel and TGI businesses. She operated a successful Avon business for three decades. In 2020, during the brunt of the COVID-19 Pandemic, she volunteered her sewing talents by making masks for many individuals.

Donna was a member of the band boosters while all her children were in school. She volunteered to help open and operate the snack bar for Armstrong’s Little League Baseball for many years. She was active in the snowmobile and CB radio clubs. She joined the town women's bowling league and became an avid and skilled bowler. Her compassion, honesty, integrity, spirit, drive, and her commanding knowledge of Armstrong and the surrounding area's history shall be missed. An interesting footnote is that with the passing of Donna, she and her eight siblings lived a total of one hundred and eight years spanning from 1913 to 2021.

Donna is survived by her children, Gary (Kimberly) Grabianowski of Parker, CO, Dennis E. Grabianowski of Albuquerque, NM, and Jill (Sean) Geist of Castle Rock, CO; her grandchildren Maria (Jose) Sanchez, Joseph, Nicole (Julian Einfrank), Andrew (Brittany), Tanner (Cassie Jarvis), Bailey, Anaka, and Dalton; and the following great-grandchildren Lillian, Rosalynn, Jose, Teyla, Ryland, and Grady. Plus, several nieces, nephews, and their families.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Eddie Grabianowski; her parents, Edward and Lillie (Jones) Burgess; five brothers Gilbert Burgess, Delbert (Tuffy) Burgess, Byrl Burgess, LeRoy Burgess, Arnold Burgess; and three sisters Bernada Skoge, Mavis Loewenberg, Mary Alice Woody.

A funeral service was held Friday, September 17, 2021 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Armstrong with interment at Armstrong Grove Cemetery, Armstrong, IA.

(Source: Henry-Olson Funeral Home, Estherville, Iowa.)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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