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Donna M. Wilken, 94

Donna M. Wilken, 94, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away Friday, May 22, 2020 at Comforcare Good Samaritan Center in Austin.

Donna M. Wilken, 94

Donna was born August 28, 1925 in Faribault, Minnesota to Leonard and Dorothea (Leubke) Gess. She grew up in southern Minnesota having lived in Kenyon, Rose Creek and Brownsdale.

Donna was raised on a farm, no stranger to hard work and she instilled that work ethic in her children. She kept an immaculate house, well cared for lawn and spotless car. Donna inherited the love of music from her parents and enjoyed venues of every type. As a young girl she and three of her sisters performed in a vocal quartet for local audiences in Austin and the surrounding area. Donna learned to play the organ at her father’s side and became a church organist serving in her later years at Christ Episcopal Church in Austin, MN and formerly for congregations in Branson, MO and Lehigh, FL.

She was an avid league bowler and had several 600 series. Many years ago she pursued a dream and became the owner of the Austin Bowl and Supper Club. She enjoyed spending time outside and gardening or “digging in the dirt” as she called it with excellent results. Donna was a good cook and known for her delicious cinnamon rolls. She cherished her dog, Angel (all six pounds of fluff).

Donna was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Paul Wilken; and daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Alan Jacobson, and sister Muriel (Alan) Josephson.

Donna is survived by her sons, Gary (Beverly) Hessenius, Rose Creek, Minnesota, Mark (Vickie) Hessenius, Austin, Minnesota, Craig (Linda) Hessenius, Waconia, Minnesota, and Joel (Lisa) Hessenius, New Richland, Minnesota; daughter, Diane Palumbo, Austin, Minnesota; grandchildren, Lisa, Chris, Ryan, Tony, Eric, Ben, Heather, Leah, Elizabeth, Shannon, Jordan and Nicole; many great grandchildren; siblings, Audrey (Ray) Neve, Patricia Perkins, Daniel (Connie) Gess, and Gretchen Grey; and many nieces and nephews.

In the face of life’s challenges Donna accepted her circumstances with faith and her favorite phrase “it is what it is.” On behalf of Donna Wilken, we would like to offer a special thanks to Comforcare staff for the gentle and compassionate care provided to our Mother in her final journey.

A private funeral service will be held with Father John Sullivan officiating. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery. A public memorial service will be held at a later date.