Donna Kay Ratzlaff was born in Yankton, SD on April 10, 1960 to Cornelius and Jessie (Dykstra) Boersma. She passed away on May 3, 2020 due to metastatic breast cancer that returned after 20 years, this time in the lining of the peritoneal cavity, a location that occurs in less than 6 out of a million. Her strength and courage in the face of a terminal diagnosis in August 2019, on top of severe osteoarthritis pain, has been described as unprecedented by everyone who visited with her and was a testimony to her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ her Savior.
Donna grew up on the family farm 8 miles west of Springfield, SD. She attended Perkins country school and graduated at the top of her class from Springfield High School in 1978. She then graduated from Augustana College 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Nursing. Donna worked briefly at Sioux Valley and McKennan hospitals in Sioux Falls until her marriage to Calvin Ratzlaff at the Emmanuel Reformed Church on December 28, 1983. She then became a full-time homemaker at the family farm 5 miles south of Avon. After the children were grown, she worked for 11 years until the summer of 2019 as an Activity Assistant at the Good Samaritan Center in Tyndall, SD and was loved by all whom she cared for there.
Donna felt humbled to be a part of Bon Homme Bible Camp every summer of her married life. She helped in every facet as counselor, teacher, camp nurse, and cook, helping secure the food for the last 10 years. She also enjoyed sharing the love of Jesus with every child she spent time with while helping with AWANA at Springfield Community Bible Church and as a Sunday School and DVBS teacher at Friedensburg Bible Church where she was a member. Donna was active in the Friedensburg Women Mission Society.
Donna enjoyed being outdoors, gardening, going for walks to enjoy wildflowers and birds singing. Her favorite task was raising her children, spending time with them and providing meals and baked goods for them. She also enjoyed being with her extended family and organized the Boersma and Dykstra family reunions every summer for the last several years.
Donna is survived by her husband Calvin of Avon, 3 children Carla of Omaha, NE, Tim (Breanna) and Jennifer both of Sioux Falls; Grandchildren Evelyn, Austin, and Kendall Ratzlaff; Siblings David (Jan Marie) of Baltimore, MD, Carl (Amy) of Des Moines, IA, Jerry (Betty) of Eagan, MN, Arden (Mary) of Pittsburgh, PA, Nancy (Lawrence) Young of Yankton, SD, and many wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents Cornelius and Jessie Boersma and 2 brothers Barry and Robert.
The family wishes to express our deepest gratitude for the tremendous prayer support given over the last several months and for all the kind words, calls, cards and nourishment we have been given throughout this difficult journey. May God’s richest blessings be upon you.
We ask that you take a time of reflection of her life by reading Philippians 4:7 and Jeremiah 33:3. These verses were the promises she claimed as she faced physical challenges in life. Please listen to the following songs on YouTube that express her comfort in trials and her desire for you to join her again one day: “The Anchor Holds” – Ray Boltz, Lester Becker singing “I Will Rise”, Bradley Walker, Joey Feek – “In The Time That You Gave Me”, Tammy Jones Robinette “If I Could Take My Family” and “The Altar” Ray Boltz.
We ask that memorials be directed to Bon Homme Bible Camp or the Gideon’s organization. Please consider this as a thank you and acknowledgment of your support of these ministries should you choose to do so.