Donna Deloris Collier, our cowboy boot kinda girl. She insisted on her Blue jeans with a rolled denim cuff, wrinkled /worn cowboy boots, t-shirt and ball cap. Sporting her short hair she would verbally suggest everyone’s long hair was a mistake. Even though she wasn’t a girly girl, her pride and joy was her western leather purse.
She was as rough around the edges as a saw blade and her social graces were as find tuned as a screeching owl, and these qualities made her a unique gift from God. She didn’t have lofty ambitions, but had grit and toughness overflowing. Never needing Novocain to fill a cavity, pride in all her own teeth and satisfied with life if she just had a glass of milk. She never had an ill word or negative judgment. Developed the art of falling with the grace of never getting hurt. She had absolutely no inhabitations and a great sense of humor. She had passive aggressive down to an art, and could keep any secret worth keeping. She was honest, loved animals, God and country, weathered most anything, especially fighting deaths door. She said, and we believe, she was not afraid to die, but just thought she should fight for every last breath.
She was born in Dickinson North Dakota on October 5, 1930 to John Raymond Collier and Esther Deloris (Shipley) Collier their second child, first daughter. She was Baptized May 26,1947, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal church in Glendive. She never was East of Dickenson and West of Billings, except for one train ride all alone to Mayo Clinic for back surgery.
Donna never strayed far from home, She finished high school in 1949 and spoke fondly of her father and working along side of this quiet man milking cows. They lived in town and leased ground to keep their milk cows. She was up early to feed and milk every morning, and getting the milk to the creamery in Sidney. Her worn out milking stool still hangs on her wall, it reminded her of the love of a daughter for her dad.
She was very gifted by the tasks her mother passed on. She told of the smell of homemade bread that was baked golden every week. How her mother would sternly make sure she was accomplished with a needle, knitting and sewing beautiful garments. It pleased her to see a beautiful piece of ‘goods’, and it usually was sporting some kind of purple in it. She would grumpily complain how mom was a taskmaster at keeping things tidy and in their place, or how they pinched pennies and didn’t eat out. She was dedicated to her mother, turning into caretaker of her until she died at home at 98.
In her lifetime she never married or had children, however she helped many other mothers by taking care of their children. Her two younger sisters each had a child live at home with Aunt Donna, and grandma and grandpa Collier, Kenny Collier (Billings) and Laurel Vasquez (Kansas). She delivered the Billings Gazette for several years while taking care of her mother, gardening and keeper of the Episcopal Church.
In 2002 Donna was starting to go down hill. She was getting older, had diabetes and no one left for her to take care of. Home health came in and Donna volunteered her neighbors Joe and Lisa Dow to be her caretakers. She must have had a sense they would not say ‘no’. When the Dow’s were moving to the Bitterroot valley, they offered to take her along with them and in her Donna kinda way she said ok. Remember she had never been west of Billings.
So in 2008 She sold what she could, packed the rest and we moved Miss Donna to the Montana mountain West. It was here in Victor, Montana she lived out the rest of her days. Her fervent wish was to die at home, and we were able to accomplish that for her. She died On Monday May 18,2020, surrounded by people who loved her and prayers to comfort her. She will be greatly missed by Joe and Lisa’s family who became her family and have 16 years of Donna stories to tell.
She was preceded in death by: brother Philip Dean Collier, sister Leona Kolbalt, Father John Raymond Collier, Mother Easter Deloris Collier, sister Mary Myers. She is survived by Nephew’s Kenneth Collier, Michael Myers, Shawn Myers, Joseph Raymond Myers niece- Laurel Vasquez. Adopted family members, Joe, Lisa and their whole family. Special mention for her caregiver Benilda Wisniewski.
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