May 29, 1922 - June 30, 2019
Donna L. Gabrielsen, 97, Phillips, died on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in the Lakeside Villa in Phillips while under the care of Flambeau Home Health and Hospice. She was born in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, on May 29, 1922, the daughter of Walter and Ella McCoy. At eight years of age, her family owned and began operating McCoy’s Grocery in Eau Claire, where she worked during her childhood and through her college years. She graduated from high school and attended her first two years of college in Eau Claire, where she met the love of her life, Stan. Soon after that relationship started, WWII broke out and Stan left to serve his country in North Africa and Europe. The next four years their relationship was sustained and enhanced by four years of letter writing until the war ended. They married shortly after his return on Dec. 26, 1945.
Donna graduated from the UW-LaCrosse with a double major in Physical Education and Math. She was the first woman from that school to graduate with a physical education major. She taught Phy Ed in Tomah for two years, and after they married, she continued with substitute teaching.
While Stan pursued a career in teaching and school administration, they lived in Winter, Westboro, and Bruce, before moving to Phillips in 1959, where they remained until their passing. Donna loved dancing, many forms of outdoor recreation, traveling, all types of games — especially if they were competitive — and doing anything with family. She was particularly proud of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Stan, in 1999, and is also preceded in death by her parents and siblings.
She is survived by her three children: Jim (Carol), Peggy (Gene Carlson) Straight of Ogema, and Gary of Phillips; by seven grandchildren: Chris Straight, Kent (Elizabeth) Gabrielsen, Weston Gabrielsen, Kristi (Adam) Speer, Rosie Carlson, Bryn Aschenbrener, and Jordan (Kristin) Gabrielsen, and six great-grandchildren: Hailee, Philip, Matthew, Camden, Ella, and Ruth.
Donna was a lifetime member of Saint John Lutheran Church of Phillips and was involved with several civic and community organizations over the years. After Stan’s retirement from school administration, they owned and operated Phillips Land and Title and Abstract Co. Inc for several years before their retirement.
Donna was a very positive and encouraging person to be around. She enjoyed using her quick wit and caring thoughts to make people smile. Her happiness came from people and relationships much more than it did from “things.” She cared about others. She would often express how fortunate and blessed her life of 97 years has been. Her family and friends were her life. She truly appreciated the caring staff and friends she made at Lakeside Villa, where she resided the last several years of her life.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, July 3, at Saint John Lutheran Church in Phillips with Pastor Glenn Sokolowski officiating. Interment was in the Lakeside Cemetery in Phillips.
Online condolences may at expressed at www.heindlfuneralhome.com
The Heindl Funeral Home is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.