Donna J. Belshe, 85, of Warrensburg, passed away Monday, January 25. She was born March 24, 1935 to Clarence and Modena (Harris) Petre in Independence.
In 1946, the family moved to and operated a dairy farm in Holden and she graduated from Holden High School in 1953.
After the death of her father in 1953, her mother and siblings moved to Warrensburg so she and her brother could attend college.
At Central Missouri State College she met the love of her life, John F. Belshe in an organic chemistry class.
They married in 1957 at the RLDS church in Warrensburg and headed to Miami, Florida so John could work on graduate degrees at the University of Miami.
As a registered medical technologist, Donna supported the family and they welcomed their first child, Jeffrey.
Four years later, their daughter Rhonda was born.
In 1965, the family returned to Warrensburg and purchased a small farm. In the ‘70s Donna went back to college to earn her BSE in biology education and worked toward a master’s degree in biology until she began teaching seventh grade life science at Odessa and continued until 1986.
Donna was a very creative person and an accomplished needle worker, knitting numerous sweaters, afghans, beaded amulets, ornaments and donated items.
She created many other pieces of beautiful work, including decorated gourds, needle work, pottery, macramé, and needle point pillows.
She met with her knitting group each month for many years until COVID hit.
Donna had a very green thumb and at one time had numerous beautiful perennial and rose gardens, as well as a water feature area.
She was a member of Cheerful Tillers Garden Club for many years and her gardens were included in a home and garden tour in their heyday.
She was a volunteer at Powell Gardens for many years.
Community service and volunteer work were very important to Donna.
She contributed countless hours to many groups and causes.
She and John were club leaders of the Good Neighbors 4-H Club in the ‘60s, and she led many projects, including knitting, for more than 20 years.
She was awarded the 4-H Gold Clover in 1978 and was selected to appear in the 1970 edition of Outstanding Young Women of America.
She was a member of League of Women Voters for many years and held offices in the local chapter.
She was a volunteer in the Records Project at the Johnson County Historical Society for many years.
She was a member of numerous organizations over the years and also belonged to DAR.
Donna was a member of the Community of Christ Church.
Donna considered her children and grandchildren her greatest joy.
She never missed a game her multi-sport son played in and she traveled countless miles to watch her daughter and husband compete at horse shows.
She aspired to give wings to her children.
She delighted in planning activities, trips and outings for her grandchildren and she and John took each of their grandsons to Washington D.C. when they turned 15.
She was a primary childcare provider for her granddaughter.
She made certain that each of her grandchildren would have a car during college.
Donna is survived by her son, Jeff (Marilyn) Belshe of Raytown; daughter, Rhonda (Rocky) Edmunds of Warrensburg; grandsons, John M. Belshe of Atlanta and Thomas Belshe of Kansas City; granddaughter, Riley Edmunds of Warrensburg; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years; her parents; brother, Richard Petre; and sister, Pamela Chaffee. She was a bright, loving soul with a sense of humor that could catch you by surprise.
She will be missed dearly by her family and friends.
A family burial under the direction of the Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home will occur and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at the Community of Christ Church in Warrensburg.