Donna Jean Smith
August 16, 1944 – April 3, 2018
Donna Jean Smith, 73, of Salem, died early morning, Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at Tierra Rose Community in Salem, Oregon. She was born August 16th, 1944 in Salem, Oregon, to Jack and Esther Helton. She married Gilbert ‘Steve’ Smith on May 27, 1966, and he preceded her in death Dec 31, 2008.
Surviving her are two sons, Scott (Diane) Smith of Salem, Corey (Michelle) Smith of Stayton; brother, James Helton; grandchildren, Aran, Michael, Cody, Camryn, Bethany and Elijah; and countless nieces and nephews. She is also preceded in death by her parents Jack and Esther Helton
Donna was born in Salem and graduated from South Salem High School in 1962. After high school Donna worked a couple of different jobs. The first being Sears department store (where she was at when the Columbus Day storm hit), and then as a teller at a bank before marrying Steve. Donna eventually moving on to her most difficult job, raising two boys and keeping order in the Smith household, which she excelled at!
She loved to cook and enjoyed reading and writing poetry (some of her poetry quite humorous, but unsuitable for print). She was quite the doodler too! She enjoyed visiting garage sales on the weekends, spending time as the ‘homeroom mom’ when her sons were in grade school and driving her boys to a multitude of different events and places. Donna was always on the go.
In the early 1970’s, Donna started having issues with balance, mobility and vision. It wasn’t until the advent of the CT scan in the 1980’s, that Doctors were able to diagnose her with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While the MS may have taking away her ability to ambulate and caused her pain on a daily basis, it DID NOT rob her of her positive attitude, quick wit or her infectious laugh. When asking people what they remember most about Donna, a common theme emerged, with people stating, “She never complained”, or, “She would always ask you how you were doing rather than complain about what she was going through”. This attitude continued until the end of her life, even though she was bedridden and considered quadriplegic secondary to the MS. Donna spent countless days and nights in the ED and ICU at Salem hospital over the past 25 years, with family being told to expect the worst more times than we can count, yet she endured and bounced back while her positive attitude remained intact. The second thing people remember most about Donna is her infectious laugh and big smile. You could hear Donna laughing almost to the other side of the community.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5;3-5)
She may not have always ‘rejoiced’ in her suffering, though she was at a minimum accepting of the suffering she had to endure. And although limited by mobility she touched hundreds of peoples’ lives with her angelic spirit and kind heart. Her endurance, character, and hope was, and remains, and inspiration to us all.
Thank you to the staff at Tierra Rose for loving Donna as we did and taking care of our precious gift.
Donna’s memorial service will be held Saturday, April 14th, starting 1:00pm with a brief service and continuing open house style until 3, at Tierra Rose Senior Living Center
4254 Weathers Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions may be made to the National MS Society;