Donna Hogseth was a caring, always smiling, outgoing person who made friends easily and brought sunshine into people's lives. "We hear of Midwestern values," said Donna's husband, Bob, mentioning how she grew up in Iowa. "She kind of epitomized those good, Midwestern values and qualities - very genuine, very kind."
Donna was 57 when she lost her fight against ovarian cancer on September 10, 2013. She was diagnosed with the disease in October of 2012. "It's one of those tough ones to beat," said Bob. "By the time there are any symptoms, it's often already Stage IV." Although the diagnosis was devastating - and ironic considering she ate healthfully, was physically fit and never smoked - Donna never wanted sympathy. "She had a very positive attitude, always looking on the bright side and counting her blessings," Bob said. "She'd tell family and friends 'No pity parties.'"
Bob and Donna were married 38 years, although Bob likes to say they were together 39 years. "After our first date, we were together just about every day," he said. The Hogseths have three grown children, Paul, Scott and Anne, whom she loved with all her heart. She treasured her grandchildren, Adrienne and Natalie. Donna also cherished her friends and had countless hobbies, passions and talents that continually impressed Bob -including home repair and technology skills.
Donna enjoyed her Norwegian heritage, but the name Donna is of Italian origin and means "lady." "I think she lived up to that name. She was just a beautiful, classy, compassionate lady," said Bob, owner of an employee benefits consulting firm, where Donna assisted as part-time office manager. Donna was a longtime community volunteer and supported a variety of causes through the years, including the Community Foundation. Bob served on the Foundation's board of directors for six years, including a term as board chair in 2011.
She and Bob are Founders Society members and, through the Foundation, established a permanent endowment in 2008, the Donna and Bob Hogseth Family Falls Youth Fund. The fund supports Chippewa Falls area youth organizations that involve kids in community service. It reflects appreciation of their own youth experiences. Donna was a Girl Scout and hospital "Candy Striper" volunteer. Bob was an Eagle Scout.
The Hogseths have been able to make distributions from their fund for the last three years, allowing Donna to see their gifts go to local organizations such as Boy Scout troops and the Safety Patrol. Donna never looked for thanks or praise. Giving was just in her nature. "She was a giver in so many ways, whether it was baked goods or something she sewed, money or her time," Bob said. She was constantly doing things for other people. "That's one of the reasons she liked the Community Foundation. It promotes perpetual giving."
Bob and Donna chose to support the Foundation through the years largely because of the impact it made locally on causes important to them. "We all donate to various worthy causes that come through the mail or out-of-area phone calls, but we liked the fact that this is Chippewa County-based. The funds are going to be distributed locally," Bob said. The Hogseths knew their fund would stand the test of time when they established it, but, with Donna's passing, the realization of a lasting legacy is even more moving.
Grants support youth organizations involved in community service as recommended by fund advisors.