Donna Viola Nelsen died on Jan. 7 after battling a long-term illness. She was surrounded by family.
Nelsen was born on June 10, 1947, in Willows, Calif., to Howard and Rosetta Koertje. She was the second of four children.
The family moved to Burns when she was just a baby. She learned to walk while living at the Roaring Springs Ranch, where her grandfather had once driven for the Harney County Stage.
She went to school at Slater Elementary. The family then relocated to Greenville, Calif., where she attended junior high and high school.
After school, Nelsen went to work for a nursing home. There she obtained training and became a certified nursing assistant.
It was while she was living and working in Greenville that she met her sweetheart, Ronald Nelsen. They were married in her parents’ home on June 17, 1965.
She continued her work at the nursing home until they moved to Fall River Mills. They had their first son, Kennith, while living there. After a time, they returned to Greenville, where their second son Kevin was born. They moved to Burns when Nelsen was offered a job at the nursing home in town. Their third son, Kelly, was born in Burns.
She worked for several years at the nursing home. She finally left that job to go into private health care, providing services to people in their homes. After a time, she retired from that work, but she continued to serve her family and grandchildren for the rest of her life.
Some of her hobbies and interests included knitting and crocheting, gardening, decorating her home and yard and collecting. She collected such things as wind chimes, Boyd’s Bears, Avon dolls and decorative plates. She especially enjoyed outdoor activities, including camping and fishing.
Nelsen is survived by her husband, Ronald; sister, Dorothy Price and husband Frank; brother, Howard and wife Mary; son, Kennith and wife Gail; son, Kevin; son, Kelly and wife Mandy; grandchildren, Zach, Tyson and Ieasha; and many nieces and nephews.
Nelsen was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Leonard “Skip” Koertje.
She will be remembered for her caring, thoughtful ways and service to others.