Donna Lee (Barber) Klaetsch died peacefully in her home on March 14, 2023 in Rochester, MN following a recently diagnosed illness. She was 85. Donna was born in Plymouth, WI on August 20, 1937 to Donald E. Barber and Mildred (Brinkman) Barber. Donna met the “love of her life” Sydney E. Klaetsch, on a blind date in 1957. They were both attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison and married that year on their winter break. Syd and Donna shared over 65 years of devoted marriage.
Donna graduated from Plymouth High School, UW Madison with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree and later with her Master’s Degree from Carthage College, Kenosha, WI. She spent the next 30 years teaching 3rd and 4th graders at Clearview Elementary School in Waukegan, IL. Oh, how she touched lives!
Donna had an adventurous spirit. She enjoyed traveling with her family when her children were growing up. Her love for the outdoors was always apparent from collecting rocks, identifying bird species, bike riding, gardening and exploring. Donna was a self-proclaimed tomboy who loved sports-all sports and especially women’s sports. Donna made a lasting and lifelong impression and legacy for her family to embrace and carry forward.
Donna made friends everywhere she went. She was blessed with a “gift for gab” and loved striking-up conversations with new acquaintances. She was never at a loss for words and enjoyed people.
Donna’s spirit and legacy will be carried on by her husband, Syd Klaetsch, her daughter, Sara Vix (Don Simmons) Rochester, MN her son; Daniel John Klaetsch (Sue Roemer) Twin Lakes, WI, her granddaughter, Stefanie M. Mihalka (Nick) Antioch, IL, her two grandsons, Adam J. Layne (Ann Pavlish) Saint Paul, MN, Aaron J. Layne (Christine Barcelon Layne) Victorville, CA, her great-grandchildren, Rylan and Cole Mihalka, her sister, Kathy Hemb (Steve Heusner) of Fort Mill, SC, nephew Tim Gosse, Hilo, HI.
Per her wishes, her ashes will be taken, this spring or summer, to Woodlawn Cemetery, Plymouth, WI where she will be laid to rest with an intimate gathering of family and friends.
Memories and condolences of Donna may be shared at rochestercremationservicesmn.com