Cover photo for Donna Mae Gearhart's Obituary
1930 Donna Gearhart 2023

Donna Mae Gearhart

January 9, 1930 — December 15, 2023

Niles, Michigan

 

Donna Mae Gearhart, age 93 years of Niles, Michigan; mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, gardener, and reader died peacefully Friday afternoon, December 15, 2023 with her family gathered around at the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka, Indiana following a brief illness.

She was born on January 9, 1930 in Niles to William A. F. and Anna A. (Spenner) Rossow, and was graduated from Edwardsburg (Michigan) High School.  She began her vocational career in the offices of the former Niles plant of Simplicity Pattern Company, and later was employed in the office of the former Bill Smith Sand & Gravel quarry near Edwardsburg, and remained in that office through successor owners.  She has lived in this area all of her life.

Donna was a longtime member of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Niles.  At home, she was well known for her beautiful flower gardens which she enjoyed maintaining.  She also enjoyed a variety of hand crafts, and was always reading a book, often fictional romances and mysteries, but also read biographies, and was a regular patron of the Niles District Library.

Her greatest interest was her family, the extended family and relatives who gathered for holidays and celebrations, and sometimes traveled together, and caring for her immediate family at home.

On October 20, 1948 in Mishawaka she married Merle L. “Bud” Gearhart with whom she celebrated the remarkable Sixty-seventh Anniversary of their wedding just weeks before his death on November 2, 2016.  They were sadly preceded in death by a grandson, Corporal Ayron C. Kull, U. S. Marine Corps who had survived two tours of duty in Iraq, but then shortly after his honorable discharge and return home, tragically suffered fatal injuries in a job-related accident.  Bud and Donna were also preceded in death by a son-in-law, Perry Kull on June 25, 2002; and by Donna’s siblings, William Rossow and Betty Kantz.

Surviving family includes her daughters, Melinda “Lindy” Gearhart and Jennifer A. Kull, both of Niles; grandson MSgt Ryan (& Shalonda) Kull, U. S. Air Force, Retired; great-grandchildren Skyler McKown and Emma Ayron Kull; and Donna’s brother, James (& Emily) Rossow of Charlotte, North Carolina, and several nieces and nephews including Robert and Janice Litty.

The family and friends of Donna Gearhart will gather privately to honor her life and share memories.  Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

www.halbritterwickens.com

Donna was blessed with a long life – just days short of 94 years – and she used all of those years well, serving her employers well including greeting all of the truck drivers as they came across the scale at the quarry, surviving tragic loss, being a faithful member of her church, and providing a wonderful home for her family; all evidence of fulfilling the command to love God and love people.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donna Mae Gearhart, please visit our flower store.

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