August 27, 1932 – December 30, 2020

 

Private Family funeral services will be 10:00 AM on Monday, January 11, 2021, at Atonement Lutheran Church for Donna L. Gartland (nee Fuller), who passed away December 30, 2020. Friends are invited to join via live stream at the link in Donna's obituary at www.bensonfuneralhome.com. A visitation will be held from 3pm-5pm, on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at Benson Funeral Home. Burial will be at Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemetery, Little Falls, MN.

Donna was born on August 27, 1932, in Red Wing, Minnesota, to Ernest and Nellie (Nelson) Fuller, the fourth of five children. Her family moved back to northern Minnesota, having homes in Riverton, Bay Lake and Crosby. She graduated school from Crosby-Ironton, class of 1950. She attained a clerical degree from the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis. On July 26, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Harold Gartland (C-I ’49), after which Donna moved to San Antonio, Texas, to join Harold, who was in the Air Force and stationed at Lackland A.F.B. Donna began working for the American Red Cross while living in Texas. During the first eleven years of marriage, their family grew, adding three boys and one girl, all the while moving from town to town in northern and southern Minnesota as Harold’s job opportunities and promotions occurred. They settled in St. Cloud in 1970. Donna began working for Northland Electric Supply in 1972, retiring in 1987. She and Harold spent many weekends and vacations at Leech Lake and other special camping spots in Minnesota during their working careers and retirement. They also spent some of their winter weeks traveling and camping in Texas.

As grandchildren came along, she was one of the proudest grandmas around, sharing the news of each impending child with friends and family! She loved having the grandkids over, and doing things with them, making cookies, going to parks, and playing games. Holidays and family camping trips were times she treasured most, too, because it was time when her whole family was together. Family meant everything to our mom, and she wanted everyone together whenever possible, sharing a big meal, with enough side dishes prepared that you couldn’t keep track of all the things to eat.

During retirement, Donna was especially active at Atonement Lutheran Church. She was a true “church lady”, running the Hospitality Team for many years. She was a member of the Ruth-Martha Circle, and she enjoyed quilting each week. She enjoyed her many friends at Atonement and was happiest when she was able to attend services and see familiar faces.

She is survived by her children Steve (Merlajean) of Plymouth, MN; Bob (Patti) of St. Cloud; Howard (Terri) of Janesville, WI; and Lori (Tony) Russell of St. Cloud; grandchildren Bob Gartland, Janna (Jeff) Nobleza, Lacey (James) Schirmers, Luke Gartland, Chuck Gartland, Ben (Veronica) Gartland, Emily Gartland and Joshua Russell; great-grandchildren Addison, Levi, and Genevieve Schirmers and Zander Nobleza; and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents; husband in 2002; siblings Donald, Warren “Bud”, Betty Skillings and Harriet Lundgren.

The family wishes to extend thanks to Donna’s many caretakers, especially Sue, Dan and Linda, as well as the St. Croix Hospice team, Liz, Jacki, Eric, Chaplain Dan, her faithful Atonement visitor, Mary Ann.and others who have been instrumental in caring for her.

As mom would wish, memorials are preferred to Atonement Lutheran or donor’s choice.