The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Donna Rafert


April 15, 2020

Donna Rafert

Donna Rafert passed away on Feb. 19, 2020 at the age of 91.

Donna was the first child born to Edward and Luella Gansemer Sack at the family farm near Paoli on Aug. 3, 1928; later came sister Betty and brother Ronnie.

She loved her parents, sister and brother and would do anything she could for them. As a child, she and her sister were involved with helping their father and mother with farm chores, cooking, washing clothes and having fun. Once in a while, on Saturday night, they would get to go to town for basic groceries, some candy, a hamburger and a show at the theater.

Most days when she and her sister were old enough they would first milk the cows, feed the other livestock and gather the eggs. Then if the weather was halfway nice they would walk or ride their bikes, meet their friends and go into Paoli for grade school. Her high school days were spent in Haxtun, sometimes staying with her grandma and grandpa. She enjoyed all of her high school activities and her friends, one who is still living near Haxtun, Leona Hunt. She humbly graduated with the Class of 1946. During that summer, she received her teaching credentials and when school started she was the teacher in a one-room country school, Silver Beam District 16, one mile north, four miles west and one-half mile north of Holyoke.

She was only there one year and was fortunate to be chosen to work at the Phillips County Treasurer's Office in Holyoke. This meant that she needed to stay in town for a while, first with Letta Martin and also with Fritz Niermans. Then according to God's plan, she met and lived together with Yvonne (Meinte) (Leben) Wernet and Rosi (Schmidt) Schaeffer. During this time, these three pretty young women became lifelong very special friends. Sometime, not exactly known by her children, she met and started seeing Wayne Rafert who was back home from the Navy and starting a life of farming.

Donna's early life involved a Christian church in Haxtun, but on March 23, 1950 she was confirmed by Pastor Einspahr at Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. Her confirmation verse was chosen for her from Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

As her life progressed, her friend Rosi met and was married in early 1950 to Dwain Schaeffer. Then according to God's plan, on Oct. 1, 1950 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Amherst, Donna was married to Wayne Rafert the second oldest son of George and Olga Rafert. From this time on she was a lifelong member of St. Paul's.

This was the beginning of the rest of her life of love and dedication to her husband and future family. She was always more concerned about them as well as her friends rather than herself. They started their life together at a farm house south of Amherst and then to their home just south of Wayne's parents' home place.

Their first child was a son Gary, then a daughter Lonnie and another daughter Lisa. As her children grew she was a mother that was always concerned and a part of their involvement in church and Amherst grade school or Holyoke High School programs and activities. They were all in 4-H and she was always there to help them with their projects.

Like her mother, mother–in-law and father-in-law she was a cook extraordinary. Whether it was an ordinary day or a holiday there was a variety of tasty food (roast turkey or casseroles; frozen sweet corn or canned peaches; cakes, bars, cookies, rolls and some kind of yummy pie) and plenty of leftovers.

Her children fondly remember that birthdays were a big deal, with cut out cakes and homemade ice cream that sometimes included the child's classmates, but always with family. She made clothes for her two girls, all the while teaching them these skills. Even though there was always plenty of work and activities, once in a while the family would go to the Dairy King or go see a movie at the drive-in close to Julesburg.

Starting in the 1960s and going into the 2000s she sold and delivered Avon out in the country and in Holyoke. When she decided to quit, she always said the thing she missed the most are the many close friendships she made. During her life she had many surgeries, but she always said if it's the Lord's will He will help me recover.

It was a very sad and difficult time for her and her family when daughter Lonnie was killed in an auto accident November 1985. It took her a very long time to cope with this great loss, but what helped her most was her strong faith, her family and her friends. Another one of life's trials was when Wayne's diagnosis of cancer came. Many week-long chemotherapy treatments led to a brief time of remission, but then the cancer came back and his life ended.

All of her grandchildren were special to her in each of their own ways. She enjoyed their activities and as they got older she was always so concerned about their lives and she would tell them our Lord would be there for them through their problems. She didn't know her long, but she loved seeing and hearing about her new great-granddaughter.

Donna's life from its earthly beginning to its end was all about faith and family. Through her faith in Jesus she became a member of God's family and according to God's plan she will be forever with her Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and His family.

Donna is survived by her brother Ronnie Sack, Paoli; daughter Lisa Boyd and husband Randy, Holyoke; son Gary Rafert, Amherst; grandchildren Wendy Boyd, Dustin Boyd, Kameron Krieg and Jeremy Krieg; great-granddaughter Aubrey Boyd; sisters-in-law Mary Belle Rafert and Judy Rafert; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents; sister Betty; husband Wayne and daughter Lonnie.

Funeral services were held on Feb. 29 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at Amherst with Pastor's Kurt Hatteberg, John Larson and George Hesse. Internment followed at the Holyoke Cemetery.

Baucke Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements


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