Phyllis H Donaldson

February 13, 1934 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Phyllis Donaldson Obituary

Phyllis H. Donaldson Obituary

Phyllis Ann Hartman was born on February 13, 1934, in Perry, Iowa, to Ralph and Gladys Hartman, but spent most of her early years in Bensenville, Illinois. After high school graduation in 1951, Phyllis attended St. Luke’s Nursing School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she met the dashing Air Force SSgt Jerry Donaldson, who was training at nearby Collins Radio. After a wedding on May 22, 1952, in Bensenville, Phyllis and Jerry moved to Jerry’s next assignment in San Diego, CA, where they welcomed daughter Mary in 1953. After Jerry’s tour in the Air Force was completed, the young family moved to Valparaiso, Indiana, where Jerry attended electronics technician school. Upon graduation in 1955, Jerry was offered a job in Albuquerque, NM, and they moved to their mountain home where they welcomed their daughters Sharon in 1956, Marsha in 1957, and Sandra in 1962. While living in NM, Phyllis was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, performing civil weddings, and issuing court summons. Phyllis liked to tell the story of the time she performed a wedding where both the Justice of the Peace and the bride were pregnant.

In 1963 the family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where Jerry worked at the Nevada Test Site. Building on an earlier cashier’s job, Phyllis started work at the Woolworths store in Las Vegas in 1973 as a bookkeeper and office manager. She says that she spent 24 years “counting money, balancing books, running registers, mopping floors, cooking hamburgers, confronting shoplifters, smiling at rude customers, forming deep friendships with other customers and co-workers, responding to police calls in the middle of the night, and all-in-all loving the whole scenario.” During her career, she was an active member of the American Business Women’s Association. Phyllis retired in 1997 when Woolworth closed all its stores in the USA. Even though she worked full time, Phyllis volunteered at her daughters’ schools, and as a leader in Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scouts. Phyllis and Jerry were active in the Westminster United Presbyterian Church, where they both served as Deacons and Elders. She was also instrumental in starting the Nevada Test Site Museum.

Jerry and Phyllis enjoyed trips in their motorhome exploring the US and visiting their daughters, relatives, and friends. They never knew a stranger. In 1990 they took a memorable trip to Spain and London to visit daughter Marsha and grandson Doug. Phyllis and Jerry spent several summers camping in Sharon and Dennis’ front yard in Trego, MT. During those visits they fell in love with Montana and moved to Eureka in 2005. They joined the First Baptist Church of Eureka. Phyllis was the treasurer of the American Baptist Women’s Association for many years. When Jerry passed away in 2011 due to Alzheimer’s disease, Phyllis helped create The Mountain View Manor’s Hospice Room in his honor. For many years, she served as a Board Member of the Tobacco Valley Senior Center and was chosen as Eureka Senior of the Year in 2019. Phyllis later became a member of the Fortine Community Church, where she supported several projects in her generous and anonymous way of doing things.

Phyllis had an older brother, Bob Pittman (deceased in 1986), and is survived by her sister Barbara Colvin (Boone, Iowa); four daughters and their spouses: Mary & Steve Roehrig (Eureka, MT), Sharon & Dennis Wood (Trego, MT), Marsha Donaldson & Bill Ferris (Seattle, WA), Sandra Donaldson & René Pacheco Espinosa (Albuquerque, NM); 9 Grandchildren: Nate (Misa), Nicole (Jesse), Jessica (Robin), Sienna, Crystal (Brian), Amber (Jason), Isaac (Sienna H), Tim (Lucy), Doug (Amy); 13 Great-Grandchildren and 3 Great-Great-Grandchildren; along with several dear nieces and nephews.

Phyllis passed away suddenly on January 28, 2024. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, February 17, at 11:00 AM at Fortine Community Church (332 Meadow Creek Rd, Fortine, MT 59918), to be followed by a graveside service at the Tobacco Valley Cemetery (64250 MT-37, Eureka, MT 59917). A potluck reception will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at the Tobacco Valley Senior Center (310 1st Ave E, Eureka, MT 59917).

Donations in memory of Phyllis can be made to Dickey Lake Bible Camp (PO Box 11, Trego, MT 59934) or to the Tobacco Valley Senior Center (PO Box 745, Eureka, MT 59917). Arrangements are under the care of Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby, MT.  Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting

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Memorial Service
February 17, 2024

11:00 AM
Fortine Community Church

Fortine, Montana


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