Wednesday, May 13, 2015
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
In everything she did, Donna Baldwin thought of others first and foremost. She could be counted on to bring comfort or to provide a listening ear, and her words were always rooted in timeless wisdom. There was no greater gift in Donna’s life than her family, and there was nothing she cherished more than becoming a grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. Upon meeting her, it only took a few moments to realize that her life was found in something special, something deeper, and that something was her unwavering faith. Donna was an amazing cook and a talented seamstress who enjoyed using her time and talents to meet her family’s needs. Deeply loved, Donna will be forever missed.
Although the 1920s were a prosperous time in America, things were a much different story in the 1930s as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Although jobs were scarce, cities, communities, and families came together to do whatever they could to weather the storm in whatever way they could. It was just as this trying decade was dawning that Jacob and Edna (Woodhouse) Banks were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as fall began to color the landscape in Plainwell, Michigan, in 1930. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Donna J. drew her first breath on September 23rd. She was the fifth of six children in her family and was raised alongside her older siblings, Kate, Myrnia, Jake, and Bill, and her younger sister, Marcia. To support their family, Donna’s father owned an oil business and delivered oil while her mother was a busy homemaker. Sadly, their family experienced great tragedy with the death of Donna’s mother when Donna was only 10.
For the most part, Donna was a young girl of her generation. She was a bit of a tomboy as she was always on the go. She was known for hunting frogs and cooking frog legs over the campfire. After the death of her mother, Donna was met with more responsibilities. She attended local schools in Plainwell, and in addition to her studies, Donna worked outside of the home. Donna spent some time in her teens living with her best friend, Roberta. This proved to be quite fateful since it was while living there that Donna met the young man with whom she would write a love story that would span more than 50 years. His name was Paul Baldwin, and he lived next door. They began hanging out together, and eventually their friendship grew to something deeper. Deeply in love, Donna and Paul were united in marriage when she was just 16. Although she left school at that time, Donna later earned her high school diploma while working as an adult.
The newlyweds needed to show Paul’s parents their marriage license in order to prove they actually got married, but once they did Paul and Donna moved in with them in Kalamazoo. They later bought their own cozy place in Kalamazoo. Together they welcomed three children including Terry, Gloria, and Cathy into their hearts and home. In 1960, they moved their bustling family to Plainwell where Donna remained for the rest of her life. In addition to caring for her family, she spent more than 30 years working for Allen Electric until she retired.
Throughout her journey Donna was a woman of many interests. She had a special place in her heart for animals, and over the years they had kittens and dogs in addition to ducks and chicks. Blessed with a creative side, she enjoyed painting scenery and animals on rocks and sewing, and as a talented seamstress she made many of her children's clothes. As a child, Donna learned to crotchet from a neighbor, and she crocheted many special items over the years. She also made several dolls over the last years. Quilting was another favorite pastime. Donna’s family certainly appreciated her skills in the kitchen, and among her specialties were her homemade noodles, enormous sugar cookies, and yeast biscuits. When listening to music, she preferred classic country and classic gospel.
A longtime resident of the Plainwell community. It was while going through a difficult time in her life that she gave her heart to the Lord, which was the day that her life was forever changed. From that point on, Donna was an active member of the United Methodist Church. As a mother she made sure that her children went to church, and she enjoyed singing in the choir for over 20 years. Donna also enjoyed being involved with the Red Hat Society, and her doll friends were also very near and dear to her heart. Even though she made friends all throughout her life, it was during her later years that Donna made her closest friends.
In 2001, Donna was deeply saddened with Paul’s death. With her strong faith and the love of her family, she continued on. One of the things she loved most was gathering with her family, and holidays were always filled with traditions and memories that she absolutely treasured. For as long as she was able, Donna was very active in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She was always there to offer her loved ones comfort and looked for ways she could be a blessing in their lives.
All who knew Donna Baldwin would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. For the most part she was quiet, but she did get a quip in for fun at times although she was much more of a listener than she ever was a talker. Donna was selfless when it came to others, and although she could be opinionated at times, she didn’t usually share her thoughts and opinions with others. Her beauty, her grace, and her compassion will remain alive and well in the spirits of those she leaves behind. Donna left this poem as a special message to all those she loved.
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free. I'm following the path God laid for me, I took his hand when I heard his call I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work, to play. Tasks left undone must stay that way. I've found that place at the close of day. If my parting has left a void then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss. Ah yes, these things I too will miss. Be not burdened with times of sorrow wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My Life's been full, I savored much. Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief; don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share with me God wanted me now, He set me free.
Donna Baldwin, of Plainwell, died May 9, 2015, at her home. Donna’s family includes her children: Terry Oakes, Gloria Baldwin, Chrissy Hergren, Cathy (Ed) Vist; 8 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren; 2 siblings: Bill (Nancy) Banks, Marcia (Gene) Roberts as well as several nieces and nephews. Donna was preceded in death by her husband, Paul and 3 siblings: Katherine, Myrna, Jake. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Wednesday, May 13 from 11:00-12:00 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral will follow at 12:00 p.m. at the same location. Please visit Donna’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to Benjamin’s Hope in Holland.