Donna M. Chaltry Issue Date: July 31, 2014
Donna Marie Chaltry, 50, of Fond du Lac, passed away at her home on July 27, 2014, surrounded by her family during her last days. Donna was born in Marinette, WI, on February 22, 1964, a daughter of Lloyd and Emma (Keller) Bjorkman.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Donna was a physical therapist for 27 years. Physical therapy was the right profession for her because she was able to use her knowledge and appreciation of the human body in unison with her compassion for others. She continued to work during her 10 year fight with cancer. Her experiences led her to form an exercise and support group for older adults with cancer at Mercy Medical in Oshkosh. The group, called PEACE (People Exercising after Cancer Enters), has helped many others in situations similar to Donna 's. However, physical therapy came second to Donna 's true calling, which was being a wife and mother.
Donna was married for 27 years to her high school sweetheart, Rick. Their loving, strong, and adventurous marriage led to many happy memories, and it blessed them with three beautiful children. Donna 's life was fulfilled by raising and nurturing Emily, Jennifer, and Thomas through their early and young adult years. Her strength inspired her children to start an annual bake sale for the American Cancer Society. The sale raised over $10,000 for Fond du Lac 's Relay for Life, an event that Donna enjoyed taking part in for nine years.
Donna 's personality was multi-faceted. She enjoyed connecting with friends and family, had a strong fighting spirit, and was warmhearted. She organized family reunions, a 25th anniversary party for her and Rick, and a 10 year cancer survivor party. She kept long friendships with many school and work friends who supported her. Donna 's strong fighting attitude allowed her to fight cancer through seven recurrences and numerous surgeries. Through it all she kept a positive attitude. While beautiful on the outside, this paled in comparison to her internal beauty. Donna 's uninhibited kindness to everyone she met brings to mind an Elizabeth Browning quote, 'Twas ' her thinking of others that made you think of her. She truly was selfless.
Donna is survived by Rick, her husband of 27 years; two daughters, Emily and Jennifer; one son, Thomas, all of Fond du Lac; one brother Doug (Linda) Bjorkman of Marinette, WI; one sister, Nancy (David) Kunesh of DeForest, WI; special mother-in-law, Darleen Riegert of Birch Creek, MI; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Preceding Donna in death are her parents and grandparents.
Visitation: Donna 's family will receive relatives and friends from 10:00 AM until 11:45 AM on Friday, August 1, 2014, at the Community Church of Fond du Lac, N6717 Streblow Dr., Fond du Lac, WI 54937.
Service: At 12 noon on Friday, August 1, a Christian Memorial Service will be celebrated. Cremation has taken place and burial will be in Birch Creek, MI.
Donna lived her faith and attended both Holy Family Catholic Church and Community Church in Fond du Lac. She grew in her love for the Lord and touched everyone she met with her enthusiasm for faith, hope, love and life.
The family is grateful to Dr. Karen Gremminger and her staff at Mercy Medical Center and the Agnesian Hospice Staff for their loving care of Donna.
Memorials in Donna 's name are preferred and may be directed to the family.
Zacherl Funeral Home and Crematory of Fond du Lac is serving the family. www.zacherlfuneralhome.com
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