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!