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Obituaries » Donna Jean Penaluna

Donna Jean Penaluna

April 26, 1939 - January 18, 2022

Service Date: January 25, 2022

Funeral Home Memorial Services of Iowa

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Donna Jean (Mathahs) Penaluna, 82, of Ankeny passed away peacefully at Edencrest at Green Meadows in Johnston on January 18, 2022, surrounded by family following a long illness. A Celebration of Life for both Donna and Kenneth Penaluna will be held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Memorial Services of Iowa (4208 N. Ankeny Blvd.) with a prayer service at 6:00 p.m. A graveside service for family will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Hampton Cemetery in Hampton, Iowa. The prayer service will be livestreamed at the following link: https://vimeo.com/667492240

Donna was born on April 26, 1939, to Vernon and Grace (Baumann) Mathahs in Mason City, Iowa. Her parents farmed in Whittemore, where she attended Catholic school, and then settled in Clear Lake, where she graduated from high school and earned a teaching degree from Mason City Junior College.
It was during this time that she met and married her husband, Kenneth Penaluna, on May 28, 1960.

After junior college, she taught third and fourth grade for several years in Northwood and later at the Ballard Community School District while Ken completed his engineering degree at Iowa State University. Following Ken’s positions at International Harvester and Ruan Transport, the young couple moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where son Daniel was born, and then to San Leandro, California, before settling in Ankeny a few years later, where daughter Susan was born.

Donna stayed home with the children and became very involved in their school and various activities. She could often be found sewing or embroidering and loved to organize crafts or games for kids in the neighborhood. She always had a soft spot in her heart for children, and she was especially proud of her grandchildren and loved hearing about their adventures. She also loved reading and visiting with friends. She was smart and funny and stylish and passionate, and truly one of a kind. We will miss her stories, her laughter, and her love.

Donna is survived by her son, Dan Penaluna (Lisa Sweet-Penaluna) of Ankeny; daughter, Sue Ward (Tom) of Iowa City; nine grandchildren, Brandan (Tori), Carissa, Jordan, and Cadan Penaluna, Bryce (Heather) and Brennan Dake, Dawson Sweet, and Tyler and Caitlin Ward (Brandon Lauck); sister, Carol Costello (Larry) of Ventura, Iowa; and many dear nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Ken.

The family would like to thank Care Initiatives Hospice of Des Moines and Edencrest at Green Meadows in Johnston for their compassionate care of Donna during her final days, and family and friends for their love and support. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Donna’s name to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church of Ankeny or Care Initiatives Hospice of Des Moines.

To view Kenneth’s obituary, click here.

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