Donna Marie (Carkenord) Hiemstra, age 97 of Mendon died Thursday, April 16, 2020 at Fairview Living and Rehabilitation in Centreville. She was born at the family farm north of Mendon on April 11, 1923 the daughter of Nicholas Daniel and Anna Marguerite (Jackson) Carkenord. She graduated from Mendon High School with the class of 1940 where she played softball. and was a bottle washer for Marantette Dairy. After graduation she was employed as an operator with the telephone company in Three Rivers, Sturgis, and Kalamazoo. She also worked at the Shakespeare Company in Kalamazoo making M1 ammo clips for the war effort.

While living in Kalamazoo she met her husband, Donald Duane Hiemstra who had just returned from serving in the Army, and the two were married on Oct. 27, 1946. After living for a while in Texas they returned to Michigan where they made their home east of Mendon along the St. Joseph River and raised four children.

Donna was an active free-spirit of faith who loved the outdoors. Throughout her life she enjoyed gardening, camping, motorcycles and most of all fishing. She also had a talent for the arts and music, including painting, playing the violin, guitar, piano and singing.

She was a newspaper correspondent, delivered the Sturgis Journal, and was a substitute bus driver for Mendon Schools. For several years she was a member of the Roadrunner Prospector’s Club in Phoenix and traveled in her motorhome panning for gold. A woman of strong faith, she most recently attended Riverside Church in Three Rivers.

Donna is survived by four children, Melora Mendelssohn of Centreville, Don (Lois) Hiemstra of Three Rivers, Connie (Ric) Carter of Mendon, and Larry Hiemstra of Centreville; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild; several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Donald; grandson, Adam Carter; daughter in law, Dorothy Hiemstra; brothers William Carkenord and LeRoy Carkenord; and sister, Pauline Salisbury.

In keeping with her wishes, cremation has been conducted. Private services will take place later in Mendon Cemetery. It is suggested that memorial donations be directed to Riverside Church. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

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