Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at the Chapel at Bishop Spencer Place, 4301 Madison in Kansas City. The family will host a reception at Bishop Spencer Place immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Augustana College, Rock Island; the Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation; and to the Bishop Spencer Place Employee Fund, c/o Speaks Suburban Chapel, 18020 E. 39th St., Independence, MO 64055.
Born Donna Mae Anderson in Moline, on Feb. 22, 1926, she was the youngest daughter of Harry and Viola Anderson. Her older sisters, Violet Johnson, Harriett Behrmann and Merlynn Anderson predeceased her. Donna graduated from Moline High School in 1944, where she excelled in journalism. She was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, "The Line O-Type," and served on the staff of "Imp," the school's literary magazine. She also was an accomplished tennis player.
She attended Augustana College in Rock Island, where she was co-editor of "The Observer," a member of the Publications Board, vice president of her class and a member of Kappa Epsilon sorority. Majoring in English and history, Donna met Benedict K. Zobrist after he returned to complete his college studies after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Donna graduated with honors in January 1948. She and Ben were married the following October in Ascension Chapel by the president of Augustana, the Rev. Conrad Bergendoff. They enjoyed more than 58 years of marriage.
As Ben pursued post-graduate degrees at Stanford and Northwestern Universities, and began his career at Newberry Library in Chicago and at the Library of Congress, Donna worked as a reporter at the Moline Daily Dispatch. After they were married, she was a secretary and administrative assistant at both Northwestern and the Library of Congress.
Donna pursued a teaching career when the family moved back to Moline. After briefly working at John Deere & Co., she taught fifth-grade at McKinley Elementary in Silvis Public Schools, and English and journalism at Calvin Coolidge Junior High School in Moline, where she was the faculty adviser to the student newspaper.
When Ben became Director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in 1969, they moved to Independence. For 25 years she helped him make the Truman Library a welcome place for scholars, government officials and the public. She was an active member of the Independence Study Club, the Mary Paxton Study Club and the Phi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, the professional honorary society of women educators.
When Ben retired in 1995, he and Donna continued to live at the home they built at Lake Lotawana until Ben's death in 2007. They enjoyed their life at the lake and helped write a history of Lake Lotawana. Ben and Donna were virtually inseparable, known to their grandchildren as "PoppaDonna."
Donna leaves behind an adoring and grateful family. She is survived by her three sons, Karl and his wife, Beth, Kansas City, Mark and his wife, Ellen, New Haven, Mo., and Erik, Lovettsville, Va. She loved her seven grandchildren dearly and was cheered each time she saw them. Andrew, Abbey and Bennett; Brad, his wife Lauren, and David; and Myrick and Jack will miss her as well.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.speakschapel.com. Arrangements are by Speaks Suburban Chapel, (816) 373-3600.
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