Donna Jean Nelson

Donna Jean Nelson On the evening of February 1, 2016, Donna Jean Nelson passed away after a long and trying battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was attended by close family and friends in her home in Waukesha. Donna Jean was 83 years young.

Donna was born in Prior Lake, Minn., to parents Julius and Sylvia Radanke. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Wayne R. Nelson; brothers Norman (Dorothy) Radanke, Emmet (Betty) Radanke and Loren (Dorothy) Radanke; and sisters Verone “Ronni” (Bob) Gordan and Alvera (Archal) Vannurden.

From a young age, Donna was always hard working, full of energy, and passionate about life. She enjoyed every waking moment with her family; she was there to help them through life’s struggles and to succeed in life beyond her own personal achievements. A mother of mothers, she was a self-sacrificing person that would place the needs of others before herself. She was always providing delicious meals. Those who love her knew her for her “firecracker” personality and always ready for the next joke. Donna was highly regarded and loved in the community and will be sadly missed.

Donna Jean was married to her true love, Wayne R. Nelson, in 1972. Together they enjoyed the world. From hunting, fishing, cooking, gardening and traveling, the two of them were inseparable. Wayne passed in May 2006, and she longed for their reuniting. The family rests knowing they are together again.

In the last years of her life, Donna struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. Even with the challenges before her, she was able to enjoy life with the help of Neal and Kelly, who cared for her in their home. The disease eventually robbed her of life’s cherished memories, but all of us knew she would never forget the memorable moments she made in our lives. Her illness eventually overtook her as her children and grandchildren remained by her side through until the end. Her children know that she had no regrets when she departed this world, as she lived her life to the fullest.

Special thanks to all of the family and friends who were there in support throughout this difficult journey. She loved us all as shown by her innocent smiles.

Donna is survived by her sister Virgie Mader; her daughter and son in-law Kelly and Neal Fjerstad; her son Richard Bongiovanni; grandchildren Amanda Erke (Mike), Emily Fjerstad and Jason Bongiovanni; her great-grandchild Alina Erke; sister in-law Mary Ida “Tiny” Nelson Trujillo (Albert “Leo”); godchild Janette Radanke; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held this Friday, February 5, from 4:00 p.m. until the memorial service at 6:00 p.m. at Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, 237 N. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha, WI 53188. Memorial gifts may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association Southern Wisconsin Chapter, 620 S. 76th St., Suite 160 Milwaukee, WI 53214.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-Planning Services is serving the family. For further information, please call 262-542-6609, or for directions, an online obituary, or to leave a condolence, please visit www.WaukeshasFuneralHome.com.