Donna Lynne Bozarth

Sep 12, 1931 – Jul 19, 2018

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Donna Lynne (Ely) Bozarth 

A precious little girl was born on September 12, 1931, to Roscoe and Viola Ely, in Spokane. She was their first child, their only child, and the darling of their lives. Her name was Donna Lynne Ely. 

Donna was a social girl, she loved to sing and whistle – she was in her school choir. She also loved to read, a quality she passed on to her daughters. Donna graduated from Lewis & Clark High School. She later met and married the love of her life, Denny Bozarth. Denny’s family was from Fairfield, Washington. Denny and Donna were married on May 18, 1952 in Spokane at the First Presbyterian Church. The young couple lived in Spokane and San Diego while Denny was in the Navy. When Denny completed his military duty, they moved on to Winthrop, and their first child, Denise Lynne, was born. Since Donna was an only child, she dreamed of a large family, and, as Denny continued his teaching career, Donna was very busy with their growing family. Debbie was born two years later, then David, then Diana, each two years apart. The Bozarth family was now a family of six! 

Denny was teaching and coaching in Rosalia when the opportunity presented itself to travel; this was right up Donna’s alley – she was very adventurous and very curious! Off they went to Rabat, Morocco, in Africa for two years, where Denny was Principal of the American Embassy School. The young couple from the Pacific Northwest was now socializing with people from many different countries and ways of life. Donna took French lessons to help her navigate her way in this new culture. While in Rabat, Donna developed a deep heart for the souls of the African people, one which has continued all her life. Two years later, the young family then moved to Tia Juana, Venezuela, in South America, where they then worked to speak and understand the Spanish language and life near the equator!

 In 1970 Donna and her family returned to the United States, a very changed country from what they had left in 1965, a few short years before. Denny accepted an administrative position at Coeur d’Alene Mid High School and the family settled in to American life once more. Donna became the accounts receivable bookkeeper at Interstate Typewriter and then at North Idaho College Bookstore. Donna also worked at the Idaho State Commission for the Blind. Every Christmas season, Donna delighted in contracting a local artist to paint a rendition of Isaiah 11:6, the Lion laying down with the Lamb, on the family’s big picture window.

 Later Donna worked with the Dept of Transportation in Spokane, then found her passion working with the senior population through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services - Aging & Long-Term Care. She wrote, “I have been motivated to go into social work by a deep desire to bring hope and encouragement to individuals who are downtrodden, vulnerable and trapped by the circumstances of life that seem to be beyond their ability to change. My goal is to counsel with middle-aged and older women in transition, to give them a sense of worth and a sense of a future that can be brighter than their past.” Donna earned her AA in Liberal Arts from Spokane Community College; she was on the President’s Honor Roll. Donna then graduated with honors from Eastern Washington University with her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work; she was in her late 60’s.

 Donna also worked with Catholic Charities, as a grandmother, reading with many elementary school children, and also with special populations. Oh, how she enjoyed and loved those “Little People”. Her loving heart opened to all children she saw around her, bringing pride and joy to their parents’ hearts as she interacted with their children and complimented the parents. Many a walk was extended as she smiled and greeted any one she spied.

 Donna was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, at age 77. Later that year Donna moved to the Seattle area, where she resided until her death on July 19, 2018, at age 86.

 Donna has left a rich legacy of love and family and – most importantly – love for the Lord Jesus Christ. When diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she told her doctor and her daughter, “The only way I am going to get through this is with laughter.” She maintained that attitude throughout her disease; she showed the love of God and laughter to her caregivers as well as everyone around her. She was beloved at Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation for her joyous, loving, happy, and accepting attitude. Donna’s family is very grateful to Issaquah Nursing for the loving and excellent care and devotion they showed to Donna for so many years.

 Donna was preceded in death by her mother, Viola Orr Ely, her father, Roscoe Flint Ely, and her husband, Denny. Donna is survived by her four children: Denise (Terry) Berg, Debbie Bozarth, David Henry, and Diana (Bob) Plyley, and her grandchildren: Jennifer Berg, Jacqueline (Abe) Bringolf, Danielle (Will) Holmes, Jonathan Fulton, Jon (Alexandra) Plyley, Colby (Taylor) Plyley, as well as four great-grandchildren: Emilia Plyley, Theodore Bringolf, Jay Plyley, and Sebastian Holmes. Donna was joyfully anticipating her 2nd great-granddaughter, Baby Bringolf, this Thanksgiving 2018. 

Please cherish every moment you have with your Loved Ones. Only God knows the number of your days. We dearly miss our Beloved Mother, but we have peace, secure in the knowledge that she now is home with the Lord, free of pain, with her mind restored, and definitely whistling and laughing with the Joy of the Lord!



Robin & Dennis Speer
Lakin, KS
Sep 12, 2018

You all must feel so sad to lose her. But I remember her as a believer in Jesus Christ. The Lord has always been our hope. Now I imagine she is dancing and rejoicing in His mercy!

Kathy Schmidt
Colorado Springs, CO
Sep 12, 2018

Donna sounds courageous, adventurous and caring, traits that I know passed on to at least one daughter, and probably all of the children. Prayers and sympathy for the family.

Linda Estep
Rocky Ford, CO
Sep 12, 2018

My heart goes out to the family. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Sharen Schermer
Spokane, Wa
Aug 14, 2018

Donna and I worked together at Aging and Long Term Care, Her smile and laughter kept the staff and clients going!!!!

CJ Carter
Tacoma, WA
Aug 1, 2018

Denise, I know fully the loss you must feel. The lost-feeling will go one for a while, but as you all know, your Mom in sitting on the right hand of God, clear thinking, without any pain & smiling at her family with every memory throughout her life to reflect upon.

I pray angels will surround & guide you , to remind you that God is in control~

In Peace, & Love, CJ

Jean Rainbolt
Coeur d’Alene, Id
Jul 31, 2018

What a beautiful tribute to Donna’s life. She touched so many people.

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