Donna Jean (Johnson) Hanna (1934 - 2014)

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  • "My condolences to Ms. Hanna's family. May you draw strength..."
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On May 23, 2014, Donna passed away in Helena from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle accident. She was 79 years old. Donna was born in Anaconda on Oct. 31, 1934 to Leslie Odell and Winnie Ann Johnson.

Donna was a mother, sister, teacher and friend. Her favorite days were spent with family and friends. Donna was very proud of her children and enjoyed family gatherings and introducing them to all her friends. She enjoyed road trips and cruises with her "big sister" Beth and "baby brother" Rick.

Donna's love of music was extensive – from listening to George Jones, enjoying a dance, to playing the piano.

Donna received a teaching certificate from Western Montana College and a B.A. from Carroll College.

Donna began her 30-year teaching career in Ennis where she met Harold "Hal" McDowell whom she married and had four children.

After living and teaching in several Montana towns, Donna moved to Helena, married Kenneth D. Hanna and had one child. In Helena, she taught at Warren elementary school – retiring in 2000. She was an active member of the National Education Association and enjoyed monthly luncheons with her retired teachers group.

Donna's last love was Eugene "Freckles" Richards. Together they enjoyed camping, dancing and a good game of pinochle with friends. Donna's love for animals was shown by her rescued dogs or as she would say "they rescued her."

Donna is survived by siblings, Beth Berg and Rick Johnson; children, Ginger Knaff (Bryan), Jeff McDowell (Kim), Tim McDowell (Janell), Randy McDowell (Annette), Melissa Tucker (Rick); grandchildren, Jon Dewit, Jake Dewit, Elissa Knaff, Laci McDowell, Cody McDowell, Taylor McDowell, Marcus McDowell, Chance McDowell, Brandon McDowell, Drew McDowell, Lauryn McDowell, Tanner Tucker, Chase Tucker; and great-grandchildren, Mikayli, Marias and McKenna.

A celebration of her life will be held Friday, May 30, 2014, at 1 p.m. at the Eagles Lodge located at 801 North Fee Street, Helena. Donations can be made in her name to the Lewis and Clark County Humane Society. Please visit to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Donna.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 29, 2014
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