Donna died peacefully at home on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Suffering losses of an Alzheimer- type dementia, she had been under the faithful and loving care of son, Scott, and her caregiver, Freidas Almazon. Through much of the illness, her pride in Scott was evident when she would say, “Scott works in Disneyland...he’s one tall dude.”
Although born in Stockton, Calif., on October 5, 1942, most of Donna’s childhood was spent in Smith River, with her mother, Emogene, and step-father, Ted Westbrook.
Following schooling in Smith River and graduation from Del Norte High School, Donna enrolled at Humboldt State College in Arcata. Enjoying the studying of German, French and Spanish, she graduated with a degree in German in 1965. This followed in June of 1966 with a California Teaching Credential with a Specialization in Secondary Teaching.
Married in February of 1966, Donna and Rudy moved to Southern California in June for teaching jobs. She taught in Lake Arrowhead and in Rialto. Later, she went to work for Bank of America where she especially liked working with business people and their daily receipts. She had started her work history as a checker at Westbrook Market in Smith River.
As both friends of over 50 years and each a former roommate, Renate Hirt and Sharon Eller Sligh recall Donna’s great sense of humor, laughter and competitiveness in cards, Yahtzee and ping pong. It was easy to talk with her, she was a caring friend. Renate remembers Donna setting aside her own concerns about a “fender bender” to share in the celebration of Renate’s naturalized citizenship.
She was an avid Lakers, LA Rams and Angels fan, a prodigious reader, and she enjoyed her TV.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband Rudy Engelke, father, Sid Small, step-father, Ted Westbrook, father-in-law, Hans Engelke, sister Gwynna (Small) Morris, step-sister Jane Westbrook, step-sister, Joan (Westbrook) Carpenter, nephew Christopher Carpenter and nephew Brad Roberts.
She is survived by: her son, Scott Engelke; mother Emogene Westbrook; mother-in-law, Betty Engelke; sister, Relina Gaye Minion; step-sister Mary Jean (Westbrook) Maples and husband, Ken; step-brother, Owen Westbrook and wife, Kathy; step-sister, Kay (Westbrook) Roberts and husband, Jay; brother-in-law, David Morris; sister-in-law Elona Engelke; sister in-law, Marion Wagner; and nieces and nephews, Tim and Sean Minion, Paul and Angela Morris, Aris and Melina Westbrook, Vickie Roberts, and Heidi Carpenter.
In lieu of flowers, persons may donate to Alzheimer’s Research or your local Hospice.
Family and friends will gather at Sunrise Cemetery on Friday, September 16, at 2 p.m. Following a graveside remembrance, Donna will be laid to rest beside her husband
Arrangements are under the direction of Gobles Mortuary.
— Submitted by Family