A memorial celebration of the life of Dr. Donna Nieckula will take place at a future date in her home state of Illinois.

Donna Marie Nieckula was born on September 24, 1951, in Blue Island, IL, to John and Anne (Vuich) Nieckula. She grew up in the southern suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, then attended Thornton Community College. When she was 19, she was blessed to give birth to her daughter, Dannette. An intelligent, strong and independent woman, Donna was able to raise her daughter as a single parent by working as a computer operator before going back to school. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Governors State University, followed by a Master’s Degree at the University of Chicago and a Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Donna had a passion for teaching and was a student teacher while at GSU. She taught at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO then returned to Governors State University as a Professor. In the fall of 2001 she began teaching at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall where she remained until her retirement in 2017. In addition to teaching, she was the Faculty Adviser of the SMSU Social Work Club. She lived in Milroy, served on the Milroy City Council and was active with the Lions Club. Donna had a great sense of humor and was very witty. She enjoyed working in her garden, camping with Donna Hensel and stargazing. She loved cooking, grilling and, most importantly, eating. She was an avid fan of the Chicago White Sox, Blackhawks and Bears. She loved following the news (not the president) and was an enthusiastic opponent of the GOP. She enjoyed Hallmark Channel movies and old black and white movies. She also enjoyed travelling, especially with her daughter, Dannette.

After a brief struggle with cancer, Donna died on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 under hospice care at her home in Milroy, MN. She is survived by her daughter, Dannette DeWeese of Merced, CA, niece Megan Reisbich (John Scharnhorst), niece Erin Rider, great-nephew Collin Reisbich, great-nieces Jenna Rider and Jaime Rider, her neighbors (and surrogate children) Lori and Dean Duscher and their children Brandon and Kendra, her fur-babies Raven, Cinder and Devi and numerous friends and family. She was preceded in death by her parents, older sister Andrea Gearhart and numerous fur-babies.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Planned Parenthood.