Donna Gail Schiferl (née Feltes), 81, Richmond, Indiana, passed away Thursday, March 2, 2023, at home, her hand held by Charles, her adoring husband of more than sixty years.
Born in Chicago to William and Shirlee (Wilkinson) Feltes on April 21, 1941, Donna and three younger brothers were raised in Oak Park, Illinois. Blonde, curly-haired and with clear blue eyes, Donna was the apple of her dad’s eye. She revered her father and fondly spoke of his influence on her life. Donna played violin as a child, remembered family trips to swim and boat at the lake, and being surrounded with love from her brothers, grandparents, friends and many cousins.
A 1959 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, Donna attended Rosary College (Dominican University). While working at Belden Wire and Cable in Chicago, Donna met the love of her life, Chuck. He asked to drive her home and they had their first date days later. They married in September 1962 at Ascension Church in Oak Park, and quickly began building and raising their family of six children in Franklin Park, Ill. Donna immersed herself in running a busy household, her children’s sports, clubs, academic pursuits and community volunteer posts. Together, Chuck and Donna were affectionally known as “Chonna” by their children due to their loving attachment and truest example of marriage partnership.
Donna and family moved to Richmond, Indiana in 1977. They joined First English Lutheran Church where her faith grew in strength and abundance. She was active in women’s auxiliaries, Bible study groups and church council leadership roles. She valued serving as a volunteer with Richmond’s school district, Zoning Board Commissioner, and giving her time and treasures to several women’s and ecumenical faith organizations.
Donna was a loyal, faithful and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt to dozens. Her friends were like family. Donna made people feel loved and appreciated through giving. Whether an item which caught her eye on her beloved QVC channel or regularly mailing greeting cards to mark occasions big and small, Donna took great pride in selecting thoughtful gifts and recognizing others’ milestones.
Called “Grandma Schiferl,” “Grandma Donna” or “G.D.” by her grandchildren, Donna had an amazing memory. She could remember the exact amount paid for a furniture purchase fifty years earlier, the names of grammar school classmates and could recall the birthdays of her numerous nieces and nephews. Donna was engaged in current events as an avid news junkie and book reader, as well as college basketball fan – particularly Duke basketball and her favorite coach, Mike Krzyzewski. She enjoyed visits to Ireland, Italy and Germany with family. Donna loved shopping and was famous for her extensive shoe collection.
If you spent time around Donna, you likely encountered her omnipresent lists made on small yellow notepads in her signature cursive writing for shopping, special occasions to celebrate, volunteer commitments and more. Chuck and family know she can cross “a life well-lived” off her list.
Those who knew her well will smile thinking how she likely talked to St. Peter for a few hours before entering the gates of heaven.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, William Clement and Shirlee Wilkinson Feltes; brothers Ronald and William (Sharon). She is survived by her husband, Charles Eugene Schiferl, their six children, Kevin (Carolyn), Zionsville, Ind.; Maureen Smith, Stuttgart, Germany; Karen (Sam) Dixon, Chicago; Michael (Joanna), La Grange, Ill.; Janet (Matt) Bracher, Westfield, Ind.; and Katherine (Matt) Hollcraft, Danville, Calif., grandchildren and great grandchildren Sarah (Blake), Eric (Sarah), Meghan, Anna, Daniel, Lydia, Evelyn, Charles, Alma and Amelia; her youngest brother Michael (Lori) Feltes, Mesa, Arizona, as well as many cousins, brother and sister in-laws, nieces and nephews.
A Memorial visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, March 11, 2023, at First English Lutheran Church, 2727 East Main Street, Richmond, Indiana. A Memorial service will follow at 3:00 p.m. at the church, with Pastor Chip Belanga officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor to First English Lutheran Church,2727 East Main Street, Richmond, Indiana 47374; Adult Daycare of Richmond, Inc. 2727 East Main Street, Richmond, Indiana, or Misericordia Mercy Home, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60660.