Donna Marie (Skurat) Ellefson, age 90, passed from peaceful sleep in the evening of April 17. Donna Marie was born to Herman and Ella Skurat on a farm south of Starbuck, Minn., in May, 1931. Soon thereafter, Donna Marie and her parents moved to a farm east of Glenwood, Minn. Donna Marie received her first four years of school from a rural school in the area of Grove Lake and the rest of her public-school training from Glenwood Public Schools. After learning to read in first and second grades, Donna Marie taught her younger schoolmates to read, so her teaching career began at a very early age! Donna Marie graduated from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1953 and then taught elementary school in Duluth, Minn. During her year in Grade 5, Donna Marie met Ralph Ellefson ‘53, also from Glenwood; they became close friends during their junior and senior years. Following graduation Donna Marie taught elementary school in Duluth. In 1955 Donna Marie married Ralph and moved with him to Iowa City, Iowa, where Ralph was in graduate school and Donna Marie taught elementary school. In 1958 they moved to Rochester, and Donna Marie again began teaching elementary school. When she became a mother Donna Marie shifted to part time teaching in elementary school, music, and special education.
Donna Marie had a marvelous soprano singing voice and performed frequently as a soloist and member of The Nordic Cathedral Choir of Luther College, the choir of First Lutheran Church in Duluth, The Duluth Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, Choir Methodist Episcopal Church in Iowa City, Rochester Symphony Chorale, and the choir of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Donna Marie’s favorite musical scores for performances have included “Ave Maria,” Mozart’s “Lullaby,” and arias from Handel’s Messiah, including “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion,” and “I Know That My Redeemer Livith.”
Donna Marie enjoyed serving in charitable activities of Glori Dei Church, including WELCA and special task projects. She was always a source for well-prepared, delicious food for various events. Donna Marie served as a Den Mother for her Cub Scouts and a troop leader for her Brownie Scouts. She promoted swimming lessons and skiing lessons for her children and few others. She enjoyed cross-country skiing, biking, camping, and gardening. Most of all she enjoyed her children and their spouses, her grand-children and their spouses, and her great-grand-children. She has enjoyed especially the development of musical, professional, artistic, and sports skills by her children and their spouses, her grand-children and their spouses and her great grand-children!
Donna Marie is survived by her husband, Ralph Ellefson ‘53, and her daughter Susan (Ellefson) Wolle ‘89, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, son Mark Ellefson, Skandia, Minn., Peter Ellefson ‘82, Schoolcraft, Mich., Jonathan Ellefson ‘85, Harker Heights, Texas; grand-children, Matthew Ellefson, Amanda Ellefson, Sarah Yost, Katherine Brown, Kristen Ellefson, Megan Ellefson, Anna Wolle, Ella Wolle, Grace Wolle, Luke Ellefson, and Owen Ellefson; and great grand-children Gloria Degado, Aksel Yost, and Fluri Yost.
A celebration of Donna Marie’s life was held May 4, 2022, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Rochester. Burial was at Oakwood East Cemetery.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Ellefson family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.