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Donna Lea Hill

March 25, 2018

Donna Lea Hill, 78, passed away on Sunday March 25, 2018 at Golden Ours Convalescent Home in Grant. Donna was born on November 29, 1939, in Grant County, NE.  She was the first child of Walker and Donna (Curtiss) Hill. She spent her early childhood years living with her parents and two younger brothers on the Ambler Rothwell ranch, where her father was employed. When Donna was seven, her parents decided to move the family to Hyannis, so that the children could attend school. Donna Lea began elementary school in Hyannis and celebrated her 7th birthday that November.

During early adolescence, Donna contracted the dreaded polio virus. She spent over a year at the Children's Hospital in Omaha, away from her family and much of that time was spent in an "iron lung". Within a few months it became apparent to the doctors that Donna also had scoliosis. Before she was dismissed from the hospital, she was put into a back brace to stop further curvature of the spine. By the time she returned home, she had missed two years of schooling, but that wasn't going to stop Donna, she was determined to graduate high school with the class of 1964.

Following high school Donna went to tailoring school. She worked at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tailoring uniforms for the officers and cadets for a few years. She then moved to Missouri where a friend had work lined up for her. She spent several years working in a motel that included a cafe, doing all the necessary duties of motel work, plus cafe cooking.  When the scoliosis began to give her enough trouble that she could no longer do the work., she moved back to the Ogallala area to be near family. In the early 1980's, she had major back surgery to install metal rods along her spine in the hope that it would give her spine support. She spent many months in a body cast. After recovering from surgery, Donna Lea went to work at TRW (now ASC) in Ogallala. She worked there for many years. In 2002, she retired from work and had more time to spend with family and friends.

She moved to Rapid City, SD, where she lived for five years sharing housing cost with her longtime friend, Sis, whom she had worked with in Missouri. When Sis became ill, Donna was there to help. After Sis's death, Donna Lea moved back to Ogallala. She enjoyed being engaged with other people. She became active in the RSVP group in Ogallala, enjoying the meals and activities at the Keith County Senior Center and riding with friends to the different community bingo nights. She always had a ready laugh and like "Kidding around".

Donna Lea was gifted at embroidery, cooking, and jigsaw puzzles. She loved to play cards and go fishing. She spent many hours enjoying the outdoors and patiently sitting in her lawn chair on the bank, waiting for that big fish to come along! She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution Association. She was also a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ogallala, where she attended faithfully, until mobility and health issues made it too difficult. After moving to Golden Ours in Grant, Donna continued to attend the Church serves held there each week. She also enjoyed the many activities planned for her each day in the Golden Our Community. She loved her family, especially her nieces and nephews and their children. She was always grateful for the help that others gave her when she couldn't do a task herself. Her faith was strong and the Lord was her Shepherd through all her trials and he was ready for her to come home to him, to give her ease from her pain.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, William and Leona Curtiss of Alliance; her parents; two uncles, Howard Curtiss and Alan (Mary Ann) Curtiss of Alliance, and two brothers Robert and Curtiss Hill.

Survivors include a younger brother Jack (Vicki) Hill of Brule; a younger sister Christine Hill of Grand Island; a beloved aunt Phyliss Knoflicek of Alliance; two nieces, Jackie (Matt) Hill of Charlestown MA, and Jennie (Paul) Hill of Omaha; two nephews Wade (Kimberly) Hill of Grant and Corky Hill of Omaha; and many cousins.

Visitation will be Wednesday April 4th at the Draucker Funeral Home from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm. Funeral services for Donna will be Thursday April 5th at 10:30 am at Draucker Funeral Home with Pastor Linda Martin officiating. Graveside services will be at 1:00 pm in the Hyannis Cemetery. 

A memorial has been established in her memory. Online condolences may be sent by signing the Guest Book.  The service will be live streamed for those unable to attend.  

Draucker Funeral Home of Ogallala is entrusted with arrangements.

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