Updated: Oct 5
Donna Sue Smithhisler was born on November 27, 1938 in Harper, Kansas to Theodore Ernest and Lida LuElla “Ella” (Burke) Howell. She passed away peacefully at the Anthony Community Care Center on September 17, 2021 at the age of 82 after a courageous hard fought battle with Lymphoma.
Donna Sue, as she was called by her siblings and childhood friends, grew up surrounded by family, being the eighth born of twelve children. As a teenager, she enjoyed being a soda jerk and while working as a waitress in a local cafe, she met a handsome farm boy, Dan from Danville. On September 4, 1955, they married in the Immaculate Conception Church in Danville, Kansas. They were married for 60 years before Dan’s passing in 2015.
The couple settled in Harper, raising a family of ten children. Dan was in the lumberyard business and Donna worked alongside him, doing the books and various other duties (She was small but mighty). She also worked for a time in the city office as assistant city treasurer. Then, when Dan became a full-time contractor, they moved to the country. In May of 2004, when a tornado destroyed their country home of twenty-seven plus years, the couple moved into Anthony to live near their young grandchildren, whom Donna babysat regularly.
Donna’s life was all about her family. She spent her time being supermom. She was a meticulous housekeeper, very organized, and always managed to get her large family to events with all the kids well-groomed, never a hair out of place. Feeding everyone was her niche: if you went to her house, you were always well-fed and were sent home with a food care package. She hosted many a gathering, making an abundance of food because she thought she had to prepare everyone’s favorite dish! This was especially true when it came to her grandkids, she wanted to be sure there was no better place to visit than grandma’s house. She leaves behind 14 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren: Daniel III, Miranda, Melissa, Colton, Braven, Kannon, Skylee, Haddee, Hartlee, Jason, Weston, Kenton, John, and Ben; great grandchildren: Paisley, Hayden, Hazel, Devon, Donovan, Destiny, Malik, Majid, Aya, Ameera, Ameena, and Dean.
Donna is preceded in death by her parents, Theodore and Ella Howell; husband, Daniel Francis Smithhisler; daughter, Debra Smith (passed away August 29, 2018); granddaughter, Toni Holmes (passed away July 2020); and siblings: Robert Howell, Ted Howell, Helen Harkrader, Mae Newberry, and Frances Scott. She is survived by her children: Dan Smithhisler Jr of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Deanna Smithhisler of Anthony, Kansas, Darla Olivier (Marc) of Danville, Kansas, David Smithhisler of Pensacola, Florida, Dennis Smithhisler of Wichita, Kansas, Darren Smithhisler of Harper, Kansas, Damian Smithhisler (Katie) of Pittsburg, Kansas, Donica Schroeder (Kerry) of Harper, Kansas, and Dustin Smithhisler (Teresa) of Emporia, Kansas; siblings: Lee Howell (Jackie) of Tucson, Arizona, Bill Howell (Marsha) of Choctaw, Oklahoma, Ray Howell (Kathy) of Attica, Kansas, Virgie Cushenbery of Kingman, Kansas, Joann Ward of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and Jean Kimball (Larry) of Medicine Lodge, Kansas; sisters-in-law, Jane Fitch and Kathleen McCorgary, both of Wichita; numerous nieces and nephews; other relatives and many friends.
Memorial Service was at 2:00 p.m. Friday, October 1, 2021 at Prairie Rose Funeral Home, Harper with Pastor David Benavides officiating. Private family inurnment was at Fairview Cemetery, Danville.
Memorial contributions may be made to Anthony Community Care Center or Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice and can be sent in care of the funeral home. Prairie Rose Funeral Homes, 613 W 14th St ~ Harper, Kansas 67058. Online condolences may be left at www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com