On May 19, 2020, Donna gently left this world and passed on to Heaven. She was 96 years old. Donna was born on January 24, 1924 to John and Iva Thompson in Palo Alto County in Iowa. She was the second of three children.
She grew up on the family farm where they lived in a two story kit home they ordered from Sears. They were a very hard working family. During the Depression, Donna fondly remembered how her Mom took their chicken eggs to sell at the county store to get money for luxuries like material for dresses. They survived the Great Depression by growing their own food, having their own livestock and sticking to a budget. Everyone had a job to do and they did!
Donna started school in a one room rural school house that covered third through sixth grade. Then she attended school in town at the Mallard Public Schools until she graduated twelfth grade in 1941. In the fall of that year she enrolled at Morningside College which continues to be teaching college in the city of Sioux City, Iowa. While she was there she took business courses.
The attack on Pearl Harbor changed many plans for young people in those days and so it was for Donna. In 1943, she took a temporary civil service appointment at Hill Field near Ogden, Utah. At that time, Hill Field was a supply depot for a large area of the western United States. While she was there, she met the man she would eventually marry, Major Johnnie P. Harlow who was the Provost Marshall.
At the end of WWII, Johnnie returned to his regular rank of Master Sargant and was assigned to recruiting duty in Idaho. They first lived in Idaho Falls and then in Pocatello. Their son Jim was born during this time. At that time, there was no housing available, so Donna took Jim back to Iowa to live with her family in Iowa until 1949 when they were allowed to join Johnnie in Germany. To get there, they had to get passage on a ship. Johnnie met them as the ship arrived in Bremerhaven. He was stationed in Celle, Germany which was the British zone. When the Airlift was over, Johnnie was the last American to leave the Base at Celle and was transferred to Weisbaden, Germany where their second son Jerry was born.
When they left Germany, they returned to America landing in Georgia for three years and then to Albuquerque, NM. Donna stayed home until the boys were almost out of school before taking a job at Albuquerque Public Schools as a secretary to the head of Athletics and Finance. Johnnie passed shortly after she started working. She worked there until her retirement in 1986. Then she and friends traveled to places like Hawaii, Europe, New England states. Donna then joined the Albuquerque greeters who worked at Conventions. She enjoyed getting to see different places and getting to hear about other places from those she met. She loved to read history books.
She moved to Clovis to stay in her beloved New Mexico and be close to family since her son, Jerry and his family lived there. Beginning at age 90, she went to live at Wheatfields Senior Living Community in a cottage, and two years later into the main house. She made dear friends with residents and staff. At the time of her passing, she was the University Medical Center in Lubbock, TX.
Donna is preceded in death by her husband Johnnie, son Jerry in 2011 (Irene) of Clovis, parents John and Iva Thompson, brother Lowell in 1940, sister Gwen J. Carmichael (Ron) of Emmetsburg, IA.
She is survived by her son Jim (Jenna) of Roswell, GA, grandson James (Dawn) of Utah, and great grandson Boddie of Ogden Utah, daughter-in-law Irene (Jerry) of Clovis, NM and grandson Kevin of Roswell, NM.
The family truly appreciates all the love and care that the people at Wheatfields gave Donna during this final transition as well as the help that was given by the people from Compassus. Her church family at Kingswood United Methodist Church were especially kind to her during her time at Wheatfields.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Mae Harlow, please visit our floral store.