Donna Sue Jones

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Edmond, OK  



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August 5





In September 1964, the Jones family moved to Holdrege, NE. I still remember coming to the school to enroll. All of you were already in class. We hadn't even gotten moved into our house, the moving van hadn't even arrived - we were staying at the motel on the highway. I remember hearing someone say they thought I was a student teacher when they saw me that day. One of the first things my Mother and I had to do was go to McDonalds Department Store and buy me a jacket so I could go to the football game that Friday night. Thank you Alice Johnson for making me feel so welcome that first week.

It was difficult, not being with the kids I had started high school with, but I do have fond memories of my senior year. I'm jealous of those of you who have strong roots to the community and to your classmates.

After graduation, I went to Lincoln to attend the University. I joined Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. For those first two years that I was in Lincoln, I was able to keep in touch with Zella Clausen (Felzenberg), Jane Dahlstrom (Quinn) and Alice Johnson who were attending Lincoln School of Commerce. Zella and Alice, after you went east, I ran around with your old roommate Connie.

After two years of school, I had had enough. For the first time in my life, I was bored with school. I had even changed my course of study from teaching to business.

I went to work for the University at the Physical Plant. Here my path crossed again with Susan Bordon (Strong). Only briefly as in May 1969 I met a young man from California and decided to make a change. I had been thinking about leaving Lincoln but had Denver in mind until I met him. Oh so young and reckless.

I took vacation time and flew to San Francisco, CA to look for work before moving to California. Over the Memorial Day weekend 1969, I moved to Oakland, CA and started a new job on June 2, 1969 with Kaiser Engineers. On July 11, 1969 I married that young man I met in Lincoln and became Mrs. Gene Heitmeyer. I'm sure all of you remember the struggles of young marriage!

Unfortunately, marriage and I didn't make it. In February 1973, my divorce was final and a new phase of life began. I had changed jobs at the time I filed for divorce - met someone just prior to my divorce being final - and spent the next few years building a career and what I thought would be the relationship that would be till death do us part. Wrong.

Oh well life goes on. In January 1991, after graduating from Kearney State, my nephew came to live with me. And, in July 1991, my Mother retired and came to live with me (my Father passed away in 1982). I purchased a condo for my Mother in San Leandro, CA in 1987 and had just been renting it waiting on her to retire and for the contractor to finish my home. But, as I stated before, life can throw you a curve ball. In November 1991 my Mother, my nephew and I moved into the condo and my long term relationship was over. My nephew left in January 1992 to live in Sacramento. So for the next nine years my Mother and I lived together, attended the theatre in San Francisco regularly, took trips together, and lived a pretty quite life. We truly enjoyed the Bay Area weather and events that are going on constantly.

Then on April 2, 1999 here came one of those curve balls. My older brother who lived in Kansas City had a massive stroke. He is so lucky to be alive but his living situation was not conducive to his getting better. After much soul searching, I made the decision to pack up my Mother and my cat and move to Oklahoma (my native state) and help take care of my brother. February 7, 2001 was my final day at work.

After getting settled in my new home, I went to Kansas City and brought my brother to Oklahoma for a visit. He stayed two months then went back for doctor appointments, etc. I started work for Duit Construction in May, 2001. Things were getting settled into a new routine. On Father's Day 2001, I made the trip to Kansas City to pick up my brother again for another visit. On July 5, he and my Mother decided to go to Nebraska to visit his daughter and attend her son's baseball tournament. About 8 pm. the night of their arrival, he had a heart attack. On the 8th they did a triple by-pass and they spent the next two weeks in Milford and Lincoln before returning to Oklahoma. I went to California for a reunion the end of July only to return to find my Mother not feeling well. On August 5 (my 54th birthday) I put her in the hospital. She had an impacted colon which turned out to be colon cancer - but she never knew that because she developed blood clots in her lungs from surgery and died on August 30.

Just another curve ball. Here I was now, stuck with the care of my brother. Well we made it. Then July 2003 came another curve ball. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surgery and chemo over the next few months - bald as an eagle for a while. I'm very lucky. I have an excellent doctor and all of my current tests are normal and cancer free. Of course, there could be a curve ball down the road but I'll take it just one day at a time. And, there was one side effect of my having cancer that was very positive - my brother had to be the caregiver which proved to be a blessing. It put him on the fast track to self confidence and being able to take care of himself to the point that he was able to return to Kansas City and his life in October 2004.

I started square dancing again (I took a few years off) in December 2004. I've met some really nice people. I continue to work as the HR Coordinator for Duit Construction and I enjoy being with my family after many years of living away from them. I get to Nebraska occasionally since I have two nieces who live there and I have my nephew and his family here in Edmond. I get to spoil my great nieces and nephews and send them home to their parents.

I hope all of you are happy with your life's choices. May God Bless You and Keep You.