Donna Ruth Ashley Kirsch Hess, 91, a resident of The Dalles, died April 24, 2013, at Mid-Columbia Medical Center.
She was born in Tygh Valley, Ore., the first of two children, to Eldridge and Alverta Ashley. She grew up in Wamic where Eldridge and Alverta farmed. She played guitar and sang with her sister Julia at many Wasco County events.
She graduated from Wamic Grade School, Maupin High School, and Eastern Oregon College with a bachelor’s degree in Education.
She married Ernest J. Kirsch on May 9, 1942. They lived many years in Condon and LaGrande. During the time of their marriage, Donna taught school in Wamic, Condon, Olex, and LaGrande. She also assisted Ernest, who was an OSU Extension Agent, by volunteering at 4-H camps, leading 4-H clubs, organizing extension and youth events, and judging at county fairs. Ernest died in July, 1978. After his death, Donna spent one year in the Ivory Coast as a missionary teacher. She then moved to The Dalles and was active in Calvary Baptist Church.
Donna married W. John Hess in Jan. 3, 1982. They lived in Walla Walla, Wamic, and The Dalles. They were active in church, supported Young Life Malibu Camp and Camp Morrrow in Wamic. They also enjoyed traveling in their motor home and spending time with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. John died in July, 2003.
For the last ten years she spent summers in The Dalles and winters in Yuma, Ariz., with her daughters and their husbands. She was an active member of Calvary Baptist Church in The Dalles, and was a member of PEO in LaGrande, and Walla Walla.
She is survived by her daughter, Diane (Kirsch) and Les Bradbury, Wamic; daughter, Linda (Kirsch) and Jim Newton, The Dalles; step-son, Lee and Harvalee Hess, Portland; step-son, Dan and Kathie Hess, Walla Walla; step-son, Mark and Kathryn Southwick Hess, Walla Walla; grandchildren, Steve and Stacy Bradbury, Kyle and Tina Bradbury, Jenelle and Len Rankin, Tygh and Ambria Newton, Bradly and Katie Newton, Jennifer and Haydn Mouat, Peter and Amy Hess, Jamie Hess, Mailee Hess, Mathew Hess, Michellie Hess, Brelynn Hess, Marieke Hess; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands; and her sister, Julia (Ashley) Clark.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at Spencer Libby and Powell, 10th and Kelly, in The Dalles, at 10:30 a.m. Graveside services will follow at IOOF cemetery on Cherry Heights Road in The Dalles. Donations may be made to a charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.