Donna Miriam Keiser, 88, of Gothenburg, died in her apartment at Stonehearth Estates in Gothenburg while crocheting a prayer shawl.
Donna was born on April 3, 1931, to Emil and Helen (Grady) Ludwig at the family farm east of Gothenburg. She attended elementary school at rural School District 47 and graduated from Gothenburg High School in 1948. She was the first editor of the Gothenburg yearbook.
Donna married her high school sweetheart, Daryl Keiser, on Dec. 2, 1951, at Christ Lutheran Church in rural Gothenburg. After Daryl came home from serving in the United States Army, they moved to the Ludwig family farm and began farming.
Donna was a planner. She was on the national planning group for ELCA youth gatherings. She planned local church ski trips to Colorado and helped the high school band get to El Paso, Texas. She was always thinking up something to plan.
Donna was a cook. She always had enough at her table for whoever showed up to eat. She and Daryl hosted nearly 30 exchange students throughout their life on the farm. She cooked for the guys at the “Breakfast House” on the farm well into her 80s. You could count on cinnamon rolls every Saturday.
Donna was a teacher. She taught elementary school at District 2 while Daryl was in the service. She continued to serve as a substitute teacher until after she was 70.
Donna was a 4-H leader for over 40 years. She led the Happy Gals 4-H Club and worked on the Dawson County Fair.
Donna was a lifelong member of the church, witnessing to her faith through her faithfulness, leadership and artistic activities. She passed on great strength of faith to her family and others in making health kits, baby layettes and over 1,000 prayer shawls.
Donna and Daryl traveled extensively, having visited every continent in the world except Antarctica. They traveled to all 50 states, 47 with their fifth-wheel camper. They traveled to Haiti several times with Water for Life.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Daryl; her parents, Emil and Helen Ludwig; and an older sister, Norma.
Donna is survived by her children, Bruce (Pat) Keiser of Colby, Kansas; Brian (Torey) Keiser of Gothenburg; Doug (Vickie) Keiser of Gothenburg; Gloria (Don) Keiser Dovre of Williamsburg, Iowa; and Joe (Carol) Keiser of Gothenburg. Donna is survived by 14 grandchildren, Michael (Kim) Keiser, Nathan Keiser, Kelly (Shane) Terrell, Amy (Bryson) Mahlberg, Katie (Kellen) Jorgensen, Tiffany (Bill) Svoboda, Jason (Alysa) Keiser, Anders (Jen) Dovre, Nels (Allison) Dovre, Jurgen Dovre, Inga Dovre, Emily Keiser, Heath Keiser and Helene Keiser; five great-grandchildren Clay, Brett, Nelle, Nora, and Henry, sister Glenda (Bob) Wilson of Gothenburg and brother Bob (Jan) Ludwig of Lincoln; and many nieces and nephews.
Donna lived in this life 88 years, 5 months and 26 days.
Memorials may be given to the American Lutheran Church, 1512 Ave. G, Gothenburg, NE 69138, or the 4-H Foundation. To sign the online guest book, go to blasestrauser.com.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at American Lutheran Church, with Pastor Jon Mapa officiating. Burial will follow in the American Lutheran Cemetery, Gothenburg. Visitation will be from 1 to 7 p.m., with family present from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3, at Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel, Gothenburg.