Donna Rae (Cordell) Smithson daughter of Carl H. and Nettie Cordell of Bedford, Iowa, was born August 27, 1938, at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City. She was welcomed home by older brother LaVerne (Butch) and sister Peggy. Brothers Larry Lee joined the family October 16, 1943, and John Franklin on December 7, 1946.
Donna attended country school Kindergarten through 8th grade, High School in Sharpsburg and college in Springfield, MO. Her Master's degree in education was received from Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. Donna taught school in Sharpsburg, Prairie City, Exira and Barnum prior to moving into educational activities with the AEA.
Donna was married to William Smithson in 1962. A son, William Charles was born August 8, 1966. They were later divorced.
The Iowa Community Theatre Association was a favorite volunteer activity for a number of years. She served as President of the organization; then secretary/treasurer. Special training was taken in order that she could review productions to select requested individuals for special awards. Too many productions were reviewed to list; this was a special passion of hers.
Donna spent 24 years as President of the Lenox American Legion Auxiliary Parkinson Unit #250. Hosting the Red Cross Blood Mobile was a special project undertaken which she thoroughly enjoyed. Over the years she donated 129 units of blood. Units projects she supported includes sending letters to area farmers at planting and harvest time letting them know we were praying for them to have a safe season. Also, letters were sent to new parents to encourage reading to their child and a book was enclosed. At summer American Legion Family conference Department presented 14 special awards to 7th District with 10 of them going to the Lenox Unit. This was due to Donna's leadership and dedication.
Donna also has served as President of The Taylor County American Legion Family. In addition to this responsibility many one-day bus tours were planned to visit places such as the Iowa Veterans Home, Offutt Air Base Museum, and the Convent outside Maryville, MO. This was a joy to all County Veterans.
Involvement in the 7th District of The American Legion Family includes being Secretary/Treasurer. Minutes were recorded for all meetings, bills were paid and membership dues collected from 13 counties in 7th district.
Another passion of Donna is the Taylor County Historical Society Museum. Activities with which she was involved include: making books with copies of obituaries from all Taylor County deaths, making cemetery books which list all names on grave stones, writing articles for the local newspaper, and helping set up school days for children to visit. The holiday Tinsel Tree Lane was organized and set up, Nativity Scenes in appropriate places along with many other beautiful Christmas decorations.
Donna organized a singing group which travel the area to meals sites, nursing homes, and assisted living centers. She volunteered hours at the Lenox Neighborhood Center, Lenox Library, Lenox Care Center, Vintage Park Assisted Living and other areas when asked. She will be greatly missed in Taylor County.
Donna is survived by son, Charlie, Grandson Evan, Sister Peggy Brown, brother Larry Cordell, 12 nieces & nephews, numerous cousins and many, many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Carl & Nettie Cordell, older brother LaVerne and younger brother John.
Donna will be missed by her loving family and friends.
She will be forever in their hearts.
May God grant comfort and peace to those who mourn her passing.
Original source can be found here.