With her children, sister and son-in-law close by, Donna Jean (Engle) Mulbrook, 85, of Metz passed away on Friday, Oct. 26. 2012, at Skiff Medical Center in Newton.
A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Wallace Family Funeral Home in Newton, officiated by the Rev. Merle E. Smith of the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Newton. A public Women of the Moose Service will be held immediately following the funeral service. The family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the funeral home.
Donna was born March 27, 1927, in Newton, Iowa, to Harold “Gail” Engle and Leona Engle. Growing up in the Depression Era was extremely difficult for her and her siblings. As a child, it seemed as if, there was never enough of the basics, let alone anything extra. While attending Newton High School, Donna worked to pay for her own clothing and spending money. She was the pretty girl behind the candy counter at the Woolworth’s five and dime. In 1945, after graduation, she married Floyd Mulbrook, a Navy serviceman. After the war, together they physically built their life long home in Metz and raised three children. The Metz Community Church was her place to worship.
Always busy and active, she loved working in her flower and vegetable gardens for beauty and practical purposes. She tended to them religiously, watering, feeding until blooming or harvest. Her love and concern for her flowers was there until the end, mirroring her behavior toward people in her own life.
Donna always put her children and parents first. She was selfless and generous while raising her family. Her hopes were for her children to have an easier life than what hers had been. She was a devoted wife and mother, who almost single-handedly ran the household, but she also worked outside the home at Dun-Lap’s and later at Maytag’s where she retired. On retirement, Donna kept busy volunteering at Skiff Medical Center, eventually leading other volunteers.
Newton Moose Lodge 923 was where Donna was an active leader, officer and senior regent. Always going above and beyond what was required, she was awarded a Regional Volunteer in Excellence award by the National Women of the Moose.
With her love of music, she would bring joy to the community by singing with the Jasper County Chorus. On her own, she sometimes would bring a boom box and CDs to nursing homes to play music for singing and dancing with the people, even in the wheelchairs. Donna and Floyd spent many weekends dancing to their favorite bands and were the first on the dance floor at weddings and anniversaries. She loved country music, but she mentioned Paul was her favorite Beatle. This love of singing and dancing has been passed on to the next generations.
The last few years, she has participated in the “Red Ruby” Red Hats Group and has made many new energetic friends. Her 1945 classmates meet monthly for lunch and she had enjoyed these get-togethers of renewing friendships.
She was the true matriarch of an extended family. All will miss her sweet caring smile, her willingness to listen and her encouraging words of “You can do it”, even in the most difficult times. The immense void can’t be filled, but by recalling moments and telling stories, friends and family can cherish a memory of a wonderful inspirational woman.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Floyd Mulbrook; her parents; her brothers, Harold and Gorman Engle; her sister, Mary Lou Lincoln; and her daughter-in-law, Victoria Mulbrook.
With her passing, she will be greatly missed by her children whom she loved unconditionally, daughter Florette Melton, son-in-law, Chuck Melton of Lexington, N.C., son Michael Mulbrook, daughter-in-law Linda of Clinton, Ark., and son Frank Scott Mulbrook of Newton; her five grandchildren who were her pride and joy, Melinda Mulbrook Maloney and husband Ryan of Fox River Grove, Ill., Matthew Rittenmeyer and wife Kristen of Raleigh, N.C., Brooks Boertje and wife Brandy of Lynnville, Brian Boertje of Newton and Jennifer Melton of Carrboro, N.C. Also missed by her great-grandchildren who made her laugh and smile, Taylor Boertje, 14, of Lynnville; Caroline Grace (Carly) Rittenmeyer, 12, Lindsey Katherine Rittenmeyer, 10, and James Jeffry (Jay) Rittenmeyer, 7, of Raleigh, N.C., and Ian Mahoney, 2, of Fox River Grove, Ill. In addition, she will be missed by her sister, Bette Ann Lindsey and husband Bernard Lindsey and brother-in-law, Francis Mulbrook.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donations be made to Skiff Hospice, 204 N. Fourth Ave. E., Newton, IA 50208, and/or Macedonia United Methodist Church Outreach Committee, 10890 Highway 8, Lexington, NC 27292.