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Donna passed away peacefully in her sleep, on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 in the home that she built with her late husband Hyle Herman Hensel. She was at peace and ready to join her beloved after so many missed years together. They would have just celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on Friday, January 20th, 2023. Memorial service will be 10:30am on Wednesday, February 1 at Grace Lutheran Church in West Point with Rev. Priscilla Hukki officiating. Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery with lunch following at the church hall. Visitation with family present will be Tuesday from 5:00pm to 6:30pm at Stokely Funeral Home. Memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society and Mount Hope Cemetery. Arrangements by Stokely Funeral Home.
Donna Mae (Stafford) Hensel was born November 13th, 1934 to Harry James and Lillian Mae (Jacobsen) Stafford. Donna was the youngest of three children (sister Francis and brother LeRoy “Bob”). She attended high school in Pender, Nebraska graduating in the class of 1952.
Donna was always the picture of perfect, poised and polite, but for those that really knew her saw her grit and fiery side. While attending a dance in Pender, Donna met Hyle Herman Hensel, a returned Korean War Veteran. Whenever she told this story she always had a sparkle in her eye and a smirk on her face. That was it for them, love at first sight, they were married January 20th, 1957. Together Donna and Hyle built and grew a life, farm, and family at Hyle’s family farm in West Point, Nebraska. They were the true definition of soul mates. Stronger together, through the thick and thin, the good times and the bad they molded an incredible life together, one that we all would aspire to have. Together they would raise: three children (Kurt James, Clint Thomas, and Holly Ann), feedlot cattle, farrow to finish hogs, dairy cows (in the early years), and hundreds of farm cats that Donna would “drive” via milk buckets each morning down to the old horse barn. By everyone’s standards, a beautiful life. They always made time to be with one another. Even with all of their responsibilities they took the time to travel the world together. Some of their numerous destinations included: Hawaii (Maui), Acapulco, Argentina, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Canada (Alberta), and many places across the United States. Donna was an upstanding woman in the community. She was a long-time active member of the Veterans of Foreign War Auxiliary, where she served as the local president from 2004 to 2008. She also served as an active member of Merry Mixers Extension Club. The roles that she played in many lives that were never published in any paper but known by all that loved and were loved by her were: boss of the farm and house, executive secretary for Hensel farms, and ‘world’ renown chef and baker (especially fried chicken and the Christmas raspberry cheesecake).
Donna led an incredible life, that is impossible to summarize into words that can begin to do her justice. She was admired and looked up to by many. She was a beloved daughter, mother, wife, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, and friend. She has left a void in the world that we can never fill, but instead cherish the difference that she made in so many lives, and the wonderful memories that she left us all with.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband Hyle Hensel; her parents, Harry and Lillian (Jacobsen) Stafford; father and mother-in-law, Herman and Esther Hensel; son, Kurt Hensel; great-granddaughter, Maria Hensel; sisters-in-law, Mary Ellen Stafford and Elaine Hensel; sister and brother-in-law Francis and Roscoe Shadbolt; and niece, Penny Pilkenton.
Donna is survived by her beloved companion Maxie (her German Shepard dog); brother and sister-in-law, LeRoy “Bob” and Marley Stafford, of Golden, CO; son, Clint Hensel, of West Point; daughter and son-in-law Holly and Mark Fritsche, of McCook; grandchildren (via Holly), Katelyn (Spencer) Moore, Jacob (Olivia Hernadez) Fritsche; great-grandchild (via Holly), Otto Mark Herman Moore (Born 1/25/23); daughter-in-law, Linda Hensel, of West Point, NE; grandchild (via Kurt), Amanda (Andy) Bossow with great-grandchildren Jade, Maizie, and Harley; grandchild (via Kurt), Kyle (Kora) Hensel with great-grandchildren Caleigh, Colton, and Charlotte; grandchild (via Kurt), Todd Hensel with great-grandchildren Sterling and Jameson; plus many cousins, nieces, and nephews.