Christian 04

David Charles Donkle

February 19, 1933 ~ October 6, 2021 (age 88)


HAMILTON - Rev. David Charles Donkle, 88, of Hamilton, passed away Wed, October 6, 2021, at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. 

   Dave was born to Charles Henry and Ione Ruth (Boldin) Donkle on February 19, 1933, in Aurora, Illinois, the oldest of their 4 sons.  Dave graduated from West Aurora High School, in 1951.  He attended Cornell College, in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with plans to prepare for the ministry.  Dave chose Geology for a major, saying the more he studied science and the natural world, the more his faith in God increased.  Following a summer field course at the University of Wyoming, he graduated from Cornell College, in 1955. Dave enlisted in the Army, and taught electronics in the Signal Corps, in Fort Gordon, Georgia from 1955 to 1958.

   The call to the ministry led Dave to attend the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.  While there, he served churches in Medicine Bow and Hanna, Wyoming, every weekend, driving the 200 miles or using a “clergy pass” on the UP Railroad. He graduated from Iliff, in 1962, and was ordained by the United Methodist Church.

   After serving as associate minister at UMC, in Casper, Wyoming, for 1 year,  Dave married Lynette Smith of Hanna, Wyoming, on June 2, 1963.  Packing all their belongings in a small U-Haul trailer, they moved to Pavillion, Wyoming,  Dave served the church in Pavillion and Jeffrey City (which are 100 miles apart).

   In 1964, Dave was appointed to the UMC in Lander, Wyoming, where he served for over 18 years. During this time their daughters, Debby & Linda, were born. The church grew and built an educational building.  Dave especially enjoyed being a pastor, sharing God’s love with people through the joys and sorrows of their lives. He loved working with youth and visiting in homes and hospital. Dave was active in the community. He was a Rotarian, served as Red Cross Service to military families, Wyoming Easter Seal Society Chair, Lander Planning Commission, and other community activities. Dave & a friend built black powder rifles. He was an avid hunter,  fisherman, & enjoyed cross country skiing. 

   In 1983, Dave became pastor of the Powell, Wyoming UMC.  Dave served on various church conference boards, and as president of the Rotary Club.  Dave supported their daughters in school and athletic activities.  His booming voice let everyone know for which team and daughters he was cheering.   

   In 1990, Dave became pastor of the Hamilton United Methodist-American Baptist Church.  It was a lively congregation, full of activity and music.  Dave served on the Human Resource Council for Ravalli, Mineral & Missoula Counties and Energy Share Board for many years.  He enjoyed participating in the Rotary club, community band, Eastern Star, Model Railroad Club, and was life-long Chicago Cubs fan.

   Health problems told  Dave it was time  to retire in 1996. Having fallen in love with the Bitterroot and its people, they decided to retire in Hamilton.  He enjoyed many years with his garden and old cars. He had lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1959, but heart problems, cancer and loss of vision took their toll.  He kept a positive attitude and was always grateful & appreciative of the help given him.

    Survivors include his wife, Lynette; daughters, Debby (Buck) Johnson, of Gillette, Wyoming, and Linda (Torey) Ring, of Norris, South Dakota; grandchildren, Katey (Ty) Bierman-Clinton, Richard (Gabby) Bierman,  Stephanie (Cedar) Bolton, Patrick (Stephanie) Johnson, Jeremy Ring, and Tyler Ring; brother, Chuck (Karen) Donkle, of Las Animas, Colorado; and numerous nephews and nieces. Dave was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Thomas Dreyer Donkle and Paul Boldin Donkle.

   Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, October 14, 2021, at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton, Montana, with Rev. Andrew Bridgeman officiating. Internment will take place at a later date.

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Memorial Service
October 14, 2021

11:00 AM
Daly - Leach Chapel (Hamilton)

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