Donna Ireland, 62, of Hiawatha, KS died unexpectedly Wednesday evening, May 22, 2019 at the Hiawatha Community Hospital.
She was born February 26, 1957 in Horton, KS to Donald and Jennie Cramar Ireland. She graduated from Horton High School and continued her educational training through Vocational Rehabilitation in Atchison. She joined Brown County Developmental Services, Inc. in 1982. She lived in the first and only group BCDS Home, and due to her independent living skills was one of the first people to try apartment living which she was very successful. She worked at the Bank of Horton Student Loan Department from 1987 until it closed. She then got a job at Citizens State Bank and Trust in 1990 where she worked with the BCDS crew preparing statements for mailing and was still employed there at the time of her death. She was the cashier in the BCDS Thriftshop since 1994. As the BCDS Cashier, Donna made friends with all the customers and was especially close to several customers knowing about their families, children, and grandchildren. BCDS received many compliments through the years from customers regarding Donna’s friendly, helpful personality when working in the Thriftshop. An employer once said that Donna was “the face of BCDS”.
She was appointed to serve on the Kansas Council of Developmental Disabilities and attended meetings in Topeka, lobbied for funding with the Kansas Legislature and was always a self-advocate for her many friends at BCDS. She was both the President and the Secretary of the Brown/Doniphan Council of Community members. Donna was always a leader regarding political issues. She was a loyal friend to other BCDS folks and was especially proud of her family, especially her sister Sue, and loved spending time with them and sharing stories about them with her friends at BCDS.
Donna enjoyed dances and bowling. She was very involved with the Halloween Parade every year and helped at the Christian Church Bazaar.
She is survived by a sister; Sue (Lester) Soyland of Hiawatha, KS, nieces; Michelle (Dan) Leif of Lee’s Summit, MO, and Susan (fiancé Chris Gormley) Amon of Lee’s Summit, MO, three great nephews; Nicholas & Joseph Leif and Taylor Amon, and great niece Danielle Wotipka.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a niece; Genette Harris.
Memorial Services are planned for 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at the Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Hiawatha, KS. The family will receive friends one hour prior to services on Tuesday. A private family inurnment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances be given to BCDS in care of Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Hiawatha. A special message may be sent to the family at www.chapeloaksfuneralhome.com.