Donna Kay Johnson
Donna Kay Johnson, 67, of Belle Fourche, SD, went to rest with the Lord on Thursday June 21, 2018, at Lead-Deadwood Regional Hospital.
Donna was born on April 18, 1951 to Barbara and Wayne Besler in Hettinger, ND. She grew up on the Besler family ranch near Bison and became well acquainted with ranch hand work while helping her father, Wayne, with both sheep and cattle ranch duties. Her schooling started at the Antelope school where her grandma Smith taught classes, Reeder School for 7th & 8th grades, and graduating from Bison High School in 1969. She was crowned the Homecoming Queen and academically exceeded in school winning a trip to Washington D.C., meeting with the South Dakota Legislators.
After HS graduation, Donna started college at SDSU in Brookings, SD. She met the love of her life, Mike Johnson, in 1970. Donna and Mike married on December 28, 1972 in Bison, SD. Donna graduated with her Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing in May 1973.
She started her successful nursing career in Cedar Rapids, IA. In 1978, Donna and Mike moved to Sioux Falls where they welcomed their first daughter, Angela Kay on August 25, 1978. In 1979 they moved to the Lead-Deadwood area, welcoming their second daughter, Rebecca Joan on July 22, 1982. Donna enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom before starting her career at the Deadwood hospital. Donna helped establish the Cardiac Rehab Department and remained the Director until her retirement in 1994. She was awarded the prestigious Healthcare Worker of the Year Award by the Jaycees in 1993.
After retirement Donna enjoyed being a stay at home mom. With Mike’s employment they relocated several times, spending about 4 years in Chicago where they enjoyed festivals, long walks downtown, wine clubs, the nightlife, and dancing to their favorite band “The Business.” Donna was also very active with her Church establishing some long lived friendships.
Donna battled many debilitating diseases. Starting in 1969 when she suffered a severe bout of pneumonia. In 1975 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and underwent chemotherapy and radiation. In 1992 she underwent open heart Aortic valve replacement and later that same year was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 2003 she had significant complications after developing internal bleeding and was in the ICU for several weeks. In 2004 Donna had her Deep Brain Stimulator placed. Her outlook to live life to the fullest never changed and she persevered despite these setbacks.
Donna was a devout Christian and was always very involved with her Church. She loved to travel, go camping with her family, family vacations to Lake Madison, reading, playing the piano, dancing, fishing with Mike, good wine, good food, and above all loved her family and the Lord.
Donna is survived by her beloved husband of 46 years Mike Johnson, Belle Fourche, daughters Angie Wahlfeldt (Kyle) of Belle Fourche, Becky Reausaw (Jess) of Spearfish, grandsons Chris, Sean, and Nolan Wahlfeldt, and Finn and Evan Reausaw, her parents Barb and Wayne Besler of Bison, siblings Joan Schecher (Larry) of Bison, Brad Besler (Fern) of Bison, Chris Besler (Roseanne) of St. Onge, Casey Besler (Angie) of Spearfish and countless aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Family visitation and open casket viewing was on Wednesday June 27th at 9:00 am at Hope Lutheran Church in Spearfish, followed by Funeral service at 10:00am. Luncheon to follow with interment ceremony at Rabbit Butte Cemetery at 2:30pm.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Crematory Service of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com