Donna J. Cleasby, 90, died June 14, 2019 at the Northcrest Health Center, Ames, Iowa.
Donna was born November 25, 1928 in Madison, Wisconsin, the daughter of Clifford Haugh and Hyla (Timmons) Haugh. She graduated from Madison West High School in 1946. She attended the University of Wisconsin and Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, WI. She met John L (Jack) Cleasby before moving to Milwaukee to study art and dress design in 1947. They continued their relationship while Donna continued her studies in Milwaukee. After Jack’s graduation in Civil Engineering at UW, they were married on Sept. 2, 1950 in Madison. They continued living in Madison while Jack did graduate studies and Donna was the primary support with her jobs, ending at Madison Gas & Electric Co. They moved to follow Jack’s employment opportunities, first to Gary, Indiana and later to Chicago where they lived in North Riverside, Illinois and she worked at International Harvester. In 1954, they moved to Ames, Iowa when Jack joined the ISU faculty.
Later, three children joined the family, Teresa in 1957, Richard in 1959 and Lynne in 1965. The family enjoyed many domestic travels, camping, water sports and winter sports together. Donna used her sewing skills from art school to craft many clothes for the children and herself. She and Jack loved to dance and exercised that love wherever the opportunity occurred. Donna enjoyed classes at the Octagon, was an active member of First Baptist Church (Ames), involved in many church activities. After a year in England with her family (1975-76), she became active in Friends of Foreign Wives including service as president for two years. She became very active assisting a Laotian family sponsored by her church assisting with English, transportation and homemaking, becoming mom and grandma to the parents and 4 children of that family. She also assisted YSS in their “Children at Risk” program and with other volunteer activities. She enjoyed cooking and hosted many national and international students in her home. She and Jack did extensive international traveling, visiting 34 countries on five continents, some multiple times. Donna was a 50 year member of the Iowa State University Women’s Club. In the latter half of her life, she experienced a series of debilitating health problems, but she was an optimistic person and continued to persevere in spite of those difficulties.
Donna is survived by her husband of 68 years, son Rick (Kathy) Cleasby and daughter Lynne (Brian) Miller, and by 7 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her elder daughter Teresa (Teri Ochiltree in 2017) and her parents.
Memorials can be made to Northcrest, Inc. or the Northcrest Foundation, 1801 20th St, Ames, IA 50010, where she received loving care in the Health Center.