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Obituary: Donna Lee (Boese) Penner

Oct. 11, 1928 – Jan. 15, 2022

Donna Lee (Boese) Penner was born on Oct. 11, 1928 to Abraham and Anna Boese in Bakersfield. She died peacefully on Jan. 15, 2022 at Carrington of Shafter assisted living center in Shafter.

Donna, the youngest of Abraham and Anna's three girls, grew up in the family home on Los Angeles Avenue, just south of Shafter. Donna graduated from Shafter High School in 1946 and subsequently attended Pacific Bible Institute in Fresno. During these years Donna began dating Arthur Penner. Art and Donna were married in the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church on June 21, 1947. They were married for 73 years until Art's death in 2020.

Soon after their marriage Art and Donna moved into the family home on Los Angeles Avenue where Art grew the family farm and Donna managed the home. They welcomed four children into their secure nest on Los Angeles Avenue - Stephen in 1949, Susanne in 1950, Randall in 1952, and Sharon in 1957.

Donna was a life-long member of the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church. Across the years she helped to prepare many meals and participated in service ministries of the church. In an unassuming manner, she gave leadership to her church's fest committee, coordinated the cookie booth for the MCC Relief Sale, and led Campfire Girl groups. She attended and participated in many community events and was active in the PTA.

Donna had an artistic flair which she shared with friends and family. From setting a beautiful table to providing tasty dinners and baked goods, she shared these gifts in her home and was a wonderful hostess and is remembered fondly for her hospitality. Once her children left the home, Donna started attending painting classes and discovered a love for creating with oil paints. Her paintings now decorate the walls of all her children and grandchildren.

Donna and Art loved to travel and enjoyed many trips, both while their children were young and during their empty nest years. They saw much of the United States and also visited Mexico, Europe, and Africa.

Donna was devoted to her children and to making a welcoming home when Art came home from long days on the farm. She was also a wonderful grandmother to her 10 grandchildren and had a keen interest in all of the activities of her entire family.

Art and Donna made the difficult decision to move from the family farm in 2018. After a short season in Bakersfield they moved to Carrington of Shafter for their final years. Donna died in her sleep early on the morning of January 15, 2022.

Donna was predeceased by her husband Arthur, her parents Abraham and Anna Boese, her sisters Aldeen and husband Max Slitor, and Edna and husband Murel Nicks. She is survived by her son Stephen and wife Glena, daughter Susanne and husband Mark Franz, son Randall and wife Pam, and daughter Sharon and husband Bob Wiebe. She leaves behind 10 grandchildren and their spouses, and 17 great-grandchildren. Each one treasures her memory.

The family is deeply grateful for the loving assistance provided Donna by Carrington of Shafter and Hoffmann Hospice. Memorial gifts may be sent to Hoffmann Hospice, Mennonite Central Committee, or Friends of the Shafter Library. A memorial service will be held in the spring.


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