Donna Marlene Hoffer, 76, of rural Ashley, (formerly of St Johns and mother of Marlene and Nancy Tingay)passed away Saturday, May 19, 2018, after a year long illness. She was born August 28, 1941 in Eaton Rapids, MI to Donald and Arlene (Jordan) May. She graduated from Charlotte High School in 1960 and from Lansing Community College in 1962 with an Associate’s Degree in Business.
Donna will be most remembered and missed as a pianist. She took her first piano lesson on October 5, 1949 at the age of 8. At 15, she began playing for the Baptist Church Youth Group in Charlotte on Sunday evenings. That started her 60 year devotion to serve as a pianist and organist for many churches in the areas where God placed her presence including Brooklyn, MI, Auburn, IN, and St. Johns, North Star, Perrinton and Ithaca, MI areas. Most recently she was a member of the Ithaca United Methodist Church where she played piano, organ, and keyboard in the praise band until July of 2017. Over the years she played for many special occasions and programs. For 15 years she volunteered her love for playing piano at Hazel Findlay Country Manor.
Using her business degree over the years, she worked at LCC in the Dean’s office, Bee’s Motors, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Hotel Association, and Allaby&Brewbaker Insurance. Then for several years she worked as a unit assistant at Hazel Findlay.
From August, 1985 until his sudden passing in June, 1991, Donna was married to Duane Eckley of St. Johns.
On October 22, 1994 she married Gary Hoffer of North Star, MI bringing full circle a friendship that had started over 20 years prior. She and Gary enjoyed many years of riding horses and motorcycles. She was a strong supporter of Gary’s work with the American Legion.
Donna’s hobbies included reading, doing latch hook rugs and crocheting, traveling with her daughter; being outside from spring to fall with the horses, barn cats and doing yard work. She also enjoyed spending time with her family and friends and was especially close and devoted to her grandson, Bradley.
Donna Marlene is survived by her husband of 23 years, Gary. Her daughter, Marlene and Bruce Szarka of St. Johns; grandchildren – Melissa Marlene and Andrew Drown of St. Johns (formerly of Bellevue, OH), Amy and Trevor Gibson of Perry, Devin and Erin Szarka of Lansing and Bradley Szarka of St. Johns. Her daughter, Nancy and David Binkowski of Marshall; grandchildren – Shannon and Allen Shaw of Dimondale; Katelyn and Matt Goff of Lakeview; Emily Binkowski and Elizabeth Binkowski, both of Marshall and great-grandchildren Ryan and Ana Marlene Drown, Ryder Szarka, Donovan and Isaiah Shaw. Brother and sister-in-law, Dean and Janet May of Charlotte; two nieces, Carla (Dana)Tousley of Lake Orion; and Ronda (Dave) Beck of Charlotte and their children; special cousin, Marilyn Royston of Grand Ledge. Special friends, Fran Merryman of Rockford, Sharon Shutes, Fran Woodring, and Mary Brewbaker all of St. Johns.Gary’s siblings, Connie Thrush of Attica, OH, Craig Hoffer (Sue) of North Star and Brenda (Denis) Netzley of St. Louis.
The family would like to thank her McLaren Hospice team, especially Denise and Brandon for their support and loving care over these past few months.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Friday, May 25, 2018 at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns with Pastors Gary Simmons and Mark Monroe of Ithaca United Methodist Church and Hospice Chaplain, Rev. Brandon Hempel, DMIN officiating. Interment will follow at Mt. Rest Cemetery, St. Johns with casket bearers from the Ithaca American Legion Post # 334 of which Gary Hoffer is Commander. The family will receive relatives and friends 6:00 to 8:00 PM Wednesday, May 23 and 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 PM Thursday, May 24 and one hour prior the service Friday all at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, Donna’s request is for donations to be made to McLaren Hospice, 2815 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 4, Lansing MI 48910.