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Donna M. (Blomquist) Cootware

NORWAY — Donna M. (Blomquist) Cootware, 89, of Norway, formerly of Ralph, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at ManorCare Health Services in Kingsford.

Donna was born in Amasa, on Nov. 4, 1929, to Edwin and Pauline (Daniel) Blomquist. She attended schools in Amasa, Iron Mountain and graduated from Felch High School in 1947. She then attended Northern Michigan University and taught school in Ralph, Foster City and Felch, and later with the Head Start Program.

Donna married John C. “Jack” Cootware on July 31, 1954. She and her husband purchased a farm in Ralph, raising potatoes and beef cattle. They are the proud parents of six children.

Donna was very active in the 4-H programs for over 30 years, leading a community 4-H club with over 40 members. She served as township clerk for five years and supervisor for 20 years. She was also a member of the Michigan Townships Association for 25 years, serving on its Board of Directors for over 10 years.

Donna served as President of the Michigan Farmer’s Union, with offices in her home and Lansing, for four years. During this time she was also an active member of the National Board of Directors for that organization. Her activities included serving as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. and Lansing on agricultural issues. She was the first woman to be elected president of any state Farmers Union, being a pioneer in that position.

Donna ran the Ralph Community Post Office as a contracted post office from May 1987 until 2007.

Donna served as a member of the North Dickinson School Board for eight years when the school districts of Felch, Breen, Sagola and West Branch were consolidated.

Donna was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Metropolitan and has remained a life-long member. She taught Sunday school, Bible school, was a member of the women’s groups and sang in the choir, as well as singing many solos over the years. Donna was always proud of the family that she and Jack raised on the farm. Working together, as a family, they made a very close-knit unit.

Donna was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, John C. Cootware; her parents, Pauline and Edwin Blomquist; her son, John E. Cootware; a granddaughter, April Lilly Schirtzinger; brothers-in-law, Clifford (Barbara) Klefstad, Elroy Mattson, Roger Adams, Roger “Buddy” Cootware and Robert (Robin) Cootware.

Donna leaves her daughters, Deanna (Richard) Smith of Ontonagon, Paulette (Michael) Holmes of Randville, Donna Mae (Gregory) Stahlmann of Ishpeming, Muzette (Neil) Stenfors of Norway and Michelle (William) Schirtzinger of Green Bay, Wis.; her two sisters, Denyce (Elroy) Mattson of Iron Mountain and Diane Adams of Mesa, Ariz.; her two brothers, Daniel (Shirley) Blomquist of Marquette and David (Marylou) Blomquist of Marquette; 15 grandchildren, Jaclyn Smith of Tampa, Fla., Crystal Smith of Lower Michigan, Bridgit (Chris) Adams of Little Chute, Wis., Jennifer (Chad) Kielas of Eagan, Minn., Ann Cootware of Marquette, Michael Cootware, Pauline Holmes of Madison, Wis., Allen (Amanda) Holmes of Ralph, Major M.D. Charles Stahlmann of Las Vegas, Captains Samuel (Michaela) Stahlmann of Gladstone, Lindsey (Troy) Drebenstedt of Gladstone, Sgt. Philip (Julie) Stenfors of Norway, Alan (Molly) Stenfors of Waucedah, Rebbecca Brennan of Gladstone and A.J. (Sarah) Schirtzinger of Green Bay; great-grandchildren, Van, Jax, Connor, Liam, Brendan, Samantha, Steven, Mary Grace, Savanna, Andraya, Azarya, Adaliynah, Keegan, Payzlee, Mickayla, Kristoff, Wilhelm, Heidi, Tobias, Kyle, Hunter, Cecilia, Cory, Andrea, Evan, Emily, Maya, Alex, Paige, Carter, and Lilly; great-great-grandchildren Allie, Niles, Liam, and Luna; many cousins; and special “adopted by heart” friends, Lynn Norquist and family; Mat Talon and family; Lynn and Leroy Connors; Linda and Tim Snyder.

Donna enjoyed life and spent her time trying to fight for improvements in the north end of the county for the benefit of those who live here. She liked to carve wood, paint, write poetry and read, spend winter in Florida with many friends. Singing solos was her greatest joy throughout her life, from the early age of 12.

Visitation will be 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home.

Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

Rev. Michael Langlais will officiate.

Burial will be in the Ralph Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Alan Stenfors, Sam Stahlmann, Charles Stahlmann, A.J. Schirtzinger, Neil Stenfors, Gregory Stahlmann, Troy Drebenstedt and Rev. Michael Langlais.

Honorary pallbearers will be Richard Smith, Michael Holmes, Bill Schirtzinger and Teddy Mattson.

Condolences may be expressed to the family of Donna Cootware online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.

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