Floral 17

Donna C. Merriam

September 8, 1943 ~ March 22, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Donna Merriam Obituary

Donna Merriam, 80 years old, passed away at 4:23 AM on Friday, March 22, 2024, at Holy Cross Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, South Bend, IN. Donna was born on September 8, 1943, to the late John and Esther (Morris) Nielsen. She had 3 siblings: John Nielsen (deceased) married to Linda, June Bays married to James Philip, and Robert Nielsen married to Vera. She had 9 nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and nephews.

Donna was married for 6 years to Leanard Pack and for 7 years to Jim Jackson. Both marriages ended in divorce. She married Tom Merriam on September 4, 1988. Tom had two children from a former marriage named Jennie and Michael. Donna and Tom remained married until Tom’s death on January 15, 2018.

Donna was raised on a farm near Lostant, Illinois. She enjoyed playing games with her siblings and loved living near nature and animals. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time outdoors with her dog, Rex, and two ponies, Sandy and Dusky, as well as rescuing and taming numerous wild animals. After her marriage to Tom, they had a couple of cats, a dog named Penny, and a robin named Corky whom she had rescued before she married Tom.

After graduating from Lostant High School in Lostant, Illinois, she attended Masonic Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago and received her diploma as a registered nurse in 1964. Immediately following, she joined the Army Nurse Corps and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and Fort Hood, Texas. She attained the rank of Captain during her three years of active duty. She then, in 1978, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and in Administration of Justice from McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois.

She enjoyed a varied and colorful nursing career in California and as a civil servant at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Columbus, OH. Following retirement, she worked as a security guard at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ, and later was self-employed doing data entry jobs.

She enjoyed reading, hiking, and time with friends and family. She and her husband were involved in the church and their relationship with God was important to them.

Donna will be remembered by those who love her as kind, caring, giving to others, courageous and adventurous. She wrote an autobiography entitled “This Country Girl” detailing these experiences.

It was Donna’s request to be cremated and to have her remains placed with her husband’s remains in his crypt in Central Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery near Killeen, Texas. Memorial services will be held sometime this summer in Georgetown, Texas by Gabriels Funeral Chapel. Memorial gifts may be made to The Worship Place in Georgetown Texas, the Lostant Methodist Church in Lostant Illinois, or a favorite animal shelter.

Palmer Funeral Home- Hickey Chapel assisted the family.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.

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