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Mount Ayr Record News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa

OBITUARY ~ DONNA MARIE (LILES) PICKENS

Donna PICKENS, 66, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died September 30, 2001, at her Cherokee home after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Donna was born September 16, 1935, at Thayer, Iowa to Jay and Opal (HAZEN) LILES. She was the eighth of nine children.

Donna began school at a country school north of Mount Ayr, Iowa where she lived on a farm with her parents, brothers and sisters. Donna started third grade at the Mount Ayr public schools and continued her education there. She graduated in may 1954 from Mount Ayr high school. While in high school, she participated in music, band and was the homecoming queen her senior year.

Donna married her high school sweetheart, Earl F. PICKENS, on May 30, 1954, at the Christian Church parsonage in Mount Ayr in the presence of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jay LILES and Mr. and Mrs. Robert PICKENS.

Donna and Earl moved to Ames, Iowa, where she worked for the Iowa State University Air Force ROTC as a secretary and Earl worked for Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc. They lived in Fort Madison, Bedford, Des Moines and Chariton, Iowa as Earl moved up in Hy-Vee before making their home in Cherokee, Iowa in January 1970.

Donna and Earl are the proud parents of seven children: Candace Sue PICKENS (who died in 1987), Barb JONES (Steve) of Rockwell City, Iowa, Ann ZISKOVSKY (Dwane) of Swisher, Iowa, Robert PICKENS of Vermillion, South Dakota, Michelle EIDEM (Gary) of Vermillion, South Dakota, Rodney LILES of Cherokee and Richard LILES (Nicole) of Rockford, Illinois.

They have 10 grandchildren: Steve and Kari JONES of Clive, Iowa, Jason JONES of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Katie, Tony and Darren ZISKOVSKY of Swisher; Andrew and Courtney EIDEM of Vermillion, South Dakota, Kayla LILES of Rockford, Illinois; and three great-grandchildren: Tori, Tyler and Madison JONES of Clive.

Raising their seven chilren in Cherokee, Donna was active in many service organizations, school acitivies, St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the neighborhood coffee club. At St. Paul's she tuaght Sunday School, was a youth leader in MYF and a life long member of Ruth Circle. She was a life-time member of Sioux Valley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and served as president for one term.

Donna was a member of Beta Sigma Phi. She was chairman for many years of the Butty Bar stand, the sority's main fund-raising project. Donna was very involved with the activities her children were involved in such as being a Cub Scout leader, a swim team mom, Booster Club member and avid fan of the sports and music activites her kids were involved in. The PICKENS' house was always open to everyone. You were treated as one of their own; just remember to take your shoes off at the back door.

Donna was an avid golfer and belonged to the Cherokee Country Club and Spanish Trails Country Club in Las Vegas, Nevada. She enjoyed the women's golf leagues and area golf tournaments that she played in.

While Cherokee was home as they raised all their kids there, Las Vegas was Donna and Earl's special home. They loved the scenery and the home they made there. Donna and Earl became associate members of First Trinity United Methodist Church in Las Vegas.

Donna was preceded in death by her daughter, Candace Sue PICKENS; her parents; a sister Myrtelle LILES; and a brother Hazen LILES.

She is survived by sisters, Lorraine REASONER (Daughn) of Mount Ayr, June RINEHART of Mount Ayr and Iola WERNLI (LeRoy) of Perry, Iowa; brothers, George LILES (Shirley) of Norwalk, Iowa, Robert LILES (Anne) of Sun City West, Arizona and Ronald LILES (Sue) of Des Moines, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews.

Donna was proud of the life that she and Earl made together. In 2001, they celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. They were able to travel to places and do things she had never dreamed of as she was growing up in Mount Ayr. Grandma Doni loved to have her grandkids around her and always kept the cookie jar full of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Donna's only regret is leaving Earl and all of her loved ones behind. She has had great friendships and left lasting memories with many people and her passing will leave a large void in their lives.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, October 3, 2001, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Cherokee with Reverend Gary ARMSTRONG and Reverend Jack WEIDA officiating. Pallbearers were Ken LEE, Mark SIMONSEN, Leroy SCHOON, Milo KINDWALL, Dennis HENRICH, Dr. Tom GARY and Jim MILLER.

Donna was laid to rest in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Cherokee.

The family requests that memorial be made to Sioux Valley Memorial Hospital.

Submission by Ann Wyer, July of 2012

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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