Donna Marlene Harris Black Jacupke passed away Friday, September 4, 2020 at Brookdale Senior Living Facility in Topeka, Kansas. She had suffered from the debilitating disease Alzheimer’s.
Donna was born on December 25, 1936, the daughter of Donald “Blackie” Frank Harris and Alta Wilma Harding Harris, in Ogallala, Nebraska. She graduated from Ogallala High School in 1955 and received her teacher’s license two years later from Nebraska State Teachers’ College at Kearney, Nebraska. After teaching stints in Grant and Sidney, Nebraska, Donna received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska; a Master of Arts degree in 1975 from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado; and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration in 1980 from Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska. She was an educator and Director of Special Services for Hastings Public Schools, an educator with Educational Service #9 in Hastings, and she taught as an adjunct instructor for Hastings College. For her work, she was awarded the Nebraska Teacher of Behaviorally Disordered Children of the Year in 1977. Donna was active in the Council for Exceptional Children and the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. She retired in 1990, but she was always thankful to work in jobs she truly loved.
Serving her community in a variety of ways, Donna stayed active. Her civic contributions include serving on the Mary Lanning Hospital Health Care Foundation and the Leadership Hastings Board. Donna was a Girl Scout leader, the president of the Hastings Senior High Band Parents organization, and an avid participant with the Hastings Community Theater. Perhaps her most proud endeavors were her roles as the State Director for the Nebraska National Teenager Pageant from 1981-1985 and the Hastings Public School Board of Education member in 1986-87 and 2001-2004. A proud professor of her faith, Donna was also a member of the United Methodist Church in Hastings and, recently, in Burlington, Kansas.
Donna loved playing bridge; reading; attending or watching Nebraska football games with her husband, Jerry; watching HGTV, and being with her poodles. Living and working in Hastings most of her adult life, Donna moved to New Strawn, Kansas in 2013 to be closer to her youngest daughter.
Donna was preceded in death by her first husband, Dale; her parents; her brother, Robert; her granddaughter, Emily Barta; her stepsons, Jay Jacupke and John Jacupke; and her husband, Gerald “Jerry” Jacupke.
Donna is survived by three daughters: Deidre (Alan) Black Wendell of Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania; Danelle (John) Black Fortenberry of New York City, New York; and Devra (Bill) Black Parker of New Strawn, Kansas; two stepdaughters: Paula (John) Barta of Omaha, Nebraska and Julie Jacupke of Hastings, Nebraska; one sister: Judy Anderson of Kimball, Nebraska; 11 grandchildren: Kate Parker Brown (Robby), Callie Wendell, Jacob Wendell, Eli Parker, Noah Parker, Tess Fortenberry, Chance Fortenberry, Jessica Jacupke, Ryan Carlson, Jenna Jacupke; Jordan Jacupke; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
A service will be held in the summer of 2021 in Hastings, Nebraska.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska or the United Methodist Church in Burlington, Kansas.
Dove Southwest Chapel is assisting with arrangements.
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