Donna Lien was born to Earl and Jeanette Lien on July 16, 1931 in Vermillion, South Dakota where she grew up and lived her early years. She had older siblings, Jeanne and Craig, and a younger brother, Doug. She spent her high school summers as a camp counselor with the Girl Scouts. She loved to share her fond memories of those experiences and the various places she was able to travel.
After attending two years at the University of South Dakota, she transferred to the University of Colorado, where she graduated with a bachelors degree in music education, majoring in organ music. Upon graduation, she became a stewardess with United Airlines. In 1955 she married her sweetheart, Albert Zeman. Their first summer together was spent at Grand Lake Lodge, where she was part of the dining room staff, and quickly took the lead in the evening entertainment for the bus tours that spent the night there. She and Al became counselors in the men's dormitory at the University of Colorado and lived among 200 freshman boys! During that same timeframe, she taught junior high school in the Wheatridge School District. They then moved to New York where she taught elementary school and led music programs in the Scotia-Glenville, New York school system.
Her first two daughters, Linda and Julie, were born in Niskayuna, New York. Julie was born while Al was on active duty in the US Army, having been recalled during the Russian building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Her third daughter, Susan, was born in Phoenix Arizona, where she and Al had relocated due to a job transfer with General Electric. The years followed as Al and Donna raised three daughters with successive job transfers that took them to Westport, Connecticut and Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they endeavored to design and build one of the two homes they would build during the course of their life together. Along the way, she was actively involved in school PTAs, special school projects and supporting her kids at high-school track meets, dance competitions, and soccer matches. With their kids now grown, they moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico then to Des Moines, Iowa and finally back to New Mexico.
The empty-nest years began with the graduations of her children from various schools of higher education across the country. Donna was instrumental in seeing that her parents were well cared for in South Dakota until her father passed away, and then managing her mother's affairs while moving her to Minneapolis then Albuquerque and eventually back to Vermillion, South Dakota, where she passed away.
After Al's retirement, they moved back to Albuquerque, which became their "home-base" while they spent several years traveling throughout the contiguous US, as well as to Alaska and Hawaii. They also enjoyed overseas trips to France and Norway. Donna was the leader of the church greeters at both Tramway Community Church and Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque. Later in her retirement years, she enjoyed designing and maintaining her beautiful backyard at her home in the Royal Oak community in NE Albuquerque.
Donna's love for the Lord Jesus Christ was evident in all she did, and her passion to see others come to know the Lord allowed her to share her faith openly with others throughout her life, even as she became physically limited to do so. She also loved our country and as a patriot, shared the conservative values that so many of us hold dear.
The last three years were spent at Coronado Villa Retirement Home, the Pavilions Apartment homes and finally, the last six months, at Morning Star Memory Care where she went through the phases of declining health due to dementia, before going home to be with her Lord Jesus on May 11, 2023. She is survived by her devoted husband, Al; daughter, Linda Zeman, grandsons, Kyle and Connor; daughter, Julie (Bill) Arthur, grandchildren, Cheraya, Jeanne, Albert and Zach, great grandchildren, Lucca, Evy and Jack; daughter, Susan (Ron) Bruss, grandchildren, Aaron, Elise, Tanner and Wyatt, great grandchildren, Chase, Harper, Dylan and Juliet; and her brother Doug (Cami) Lien along with numerous nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by many family and friends who loved her dearly.
Al's last words to her: "Farewell, my love!"
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