Donna Jean Simpson, 90, of Hyannis, Nebraska, passed away on Monday, April 10, 2023, at Great Plains Health in North Platte.
Donna was born on March 19, 1933, in Vancouver, Washington, to Leonard Allen and Madelyn Jean (Swetz) Russell. She attended grade school in Vancouver and high school in Battle Ground, Washington.
At the age of 16, Donna ventured to Alaska to visit her mother, where she met her future husband, Benjamin Simpson Sr., who was serving in the army at that time. The couple married in 1949 when Donna was just 17 years old. They initially made their home in Alaska for a couple of years before relocating to Mullen, Nebraska, where they helped Benjamin's father with his ranch. In the 1950s, the family settled in Hyannis, continuing their ranching life and raising their children. They made the move to town in the late 1980s.
Donna was known for her incredible work ethic, always taking charge of funeral dinners, gardening, canning vegetables, raising flowers, and hosting elaborate branding dinners. An active member of the Whitman Extension Club, she was also a part of countless clubs and organizations in Grant County and the surrounding area. Donna was the commandant of the Jumble Shop that the church ran, a true blue Hyannis Longhorn, and a special part of the fabric of the community.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Madelyn Russell; stepmother, Ethel Russell; husband, Benny Simpson Sr; grandson, Trent Davis; and a sister-in-law, Alice (Glen) Gier.
Survivors include her children, Benj (Jan) Simpson Jr of Whitman, Len (Rhonda) Simpson of Hyannis, Connie (Bruce) Yauney of Sutherland, Micki (Jeff) VanRenan of Percival, IA; grandchildren, Jason Simpson, Amy (Dustin) Evans, and Rebecca Watson, Kent (Amanda) Simpson, Amanda (Jason) Carr, Troy Davis, Sara Roberts, and Dusty VanRenan; 20 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandson; brother, Calvin Russell of Battle Ground, WA; nieces, Beverly Uphoff and Bonnie (Mike) Strasburger; along with many other relatives and special friends in the community of Hyannis.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 57 and the Hyannis Congregational Church. Condolences may be shared at prairiehillsfuneralhome.com.
Services will be held on Monday, April 17, 2023, at 3 pm at the Hyannis Congregational Church with Pastor Deb Johndreau officiating. There will be a dinner for family at the church at 1 pm with fellowship at the Winters Building after services. Interment will be in the Hyannis Cemetery.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala is in charge of arrangements.