Dr. Donna Nieckula

Dr. Donna Marie Nieckula

Monday, September 24th, 1951 - Tuesday, April 21st, 2020
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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.
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2 trees have been planted in memory of Dr. Donna Marie Nieckula

Angela Thoreson

Posted at 10:15am
I was a student at SMSU when Donna came. I clearly remember her passion, particularly for politics and current affairs, which we students were always willing to take advantage of. She definitely inspired many during her time as a teacher. I am saddened to hear she passed; the world has lost a wonderful person!
Blessings and Comfort, Angie Thoreson (SW Class of '04)


Posted at 01:36am
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Linda Ricci Recupito

Posted at 10:28am
Many wonderful memories of Donna when we all lived in Harvey. My heartfelt sympathy for Donna's family and friends.

Cheri Appel

Posted at 09:38pm
Donna was a wonderful friend. I'll never forget how she talked Mike and I into taking a day trip south of Lincoln NB to see the total eclipse of the sun a couple of years ago. It was one long day trip driving down there and back but we had a great time. She will be missed for her ideas, opinions and humor! Cheri & Mike Appel

Tammy Logan

Posted at 10:09am
SMSU Social Work Class of 2016. Donna was such an amazing mentor, teacher, and friend. Her selflessness was never ending. As a single mom raising two teen girls, she was always there for me as to let me know if she could do it, so could I. I graduated college with honors because she never let me doubt myself. I will never forget the day she talked about the increase in college tuition over the years and then exclaimed "I can't believe you guys aren't out there protesting this" (or some variation). She was right, we should have been. I don't miss a protest where there is injustice now. The things she taught me about advocacy, policy, and social justice has been ingrained in me. The world will be a better place because she was in it and passed her knowledge and drive onto all of us. We will forever make you proud Donna.

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