Donna Belle Finley, at the age of 86, entered the kingdom of Heaven with her family surrounding her singing hymns of praise on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013.
Donna was the eldest daughter of the Rev. Ross K. and Esther Hellyer, and was born Dec. 27, 1926, in Ipava, Ill., on her mother’s birthday.
During her father’s pastorate in Catlin, Donna met and fell in love with John Finley. The preacher’s daughter married the farmer’s son on Aug. 12, 1945. John preceded her in death Oct. 16, 2002. She also was preceded by her parents; two brothers, Jim Hellyer and Bill Hellyer; one sister, Betty Grigsby; and two sisters-in-law, Opal White and Alberta Miller.
She will be sadly missed by her children, Karen (Bill) Smith, Donna Kay Meeker, Vicki Delhaye and Gary (fiancée, Laura) Finley; her grandchildren, Leah (Michael) Warren, Darcy (James) Hatke, Karla (Darren) Morgan, Richard (Cammy) Delhaye, Denise (Eric) Zanders, Michelle (Kevin) Noggle, James G. Meeker, and Jason Finley; and her great grandchildren, Justin Warren, Johnathan and Caitlynn Hatke, Kaleb and Chase Delhaye, Erika, Jared, and Ross Zanders, Logan and Landen Noggle, and Cheyenne Meeker. She also is survived by: a sister, Jodi (Ken) Windle; a brother-in-law, Arthur (Carol) Finley; sisters-in-law, Clara (Ed) Kizer and Charlene Hellyer; and many special nieces, nephews, and loving friends.
As a pastor’s daughter, Donna didn’t feel that she actually had a “home town.” However, some of her most treasured childhood memories were from the time they spent in Long Point, Ill. She had fond memories of singing in different churches with her brother, Bill, and sister, Betty. Growing up in a very musical family, it was only natural she would carry that on in her life. Donna loved playing the piano and served as a pianist at Liberty Independent Church; although she was convinced she wasn’t nearly as talented as her mother!
Donna had a servant’s heart and was a tremendous supporter of the church where she served as an Elder. Her church family was a very important part of her life.
She was totally devoted to her family, celebrating their accomplishment, listening to their joys and sorrows, advising, encouraging and enjoying their adventures. She held them up in prayer every day. Her grandchildren were precious to her, and her great-grandchildren were adored.
The family was assisted through this time first with excellent care at Presence USMC. The nurses and CNAs were so appreciated. Her continuing care could not have been done by a more devoted, professional staff than was provided at Hawthorne Inn. She was treated with much tenderness, love and affection — we will forever be grateful for their care and support.
A celebration of Donna’s life will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Sunset’s Houghton-Leasure Funeral Home, Georgetown, with visitation being held two hours prior to her service. She will be laid to rest in Forest Park Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Liberty Independent Church for those wishing to remember Donna. Please join her family in sharing memories through her Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.