January 20, 1931 - April 14, 2021
Great Bend, Kansas - Donna Lee McAllaster, 90, passed away April 14, 2021, at Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, Wichita. She was born January 20, 1931, at a small farm on the banks of Turkey Creek in Gosper County, Neb. to Loyal R. and Mabel (Stump) Rhodes. Times on the farm were rough during the Great Depression, but they felt fortunate to always have milk, eggs, garden produce, and chickens. She learned to sew using the fabric from flour sacks.
By the time she graduated from High School, she had enough hoeing, weeding, hauling feed, milking, riding farm equipment, and plucking chickens to last a lifetime. She taught school for a year in a one-room schoolhouse, with no running water and a wood stove for heat. She later said that was the biggest challenge she ever had.
The next year she married a skinny pre-med student from western Kansas named Wendale E. McAllaster January 28, 1950 at her family home. She soon had more challenges, running the household and raising children among the demands of his surgical practice. They had a loving partnership for over 50 years. He died October 18, 2015.
A Great Bend resident since 1962, Donna was a homemaker, property manager, and volunteer. She was a member of First United Methodist Church, PEO, Progress Study Club, Barton County Alliance, Threadbenders Quilt Club, and Community Concert Board. She served as a Camp Fire and Cub Scout Leader, and driver for Meals on Wheels. Donna loved to quilt and sing with The Creatures of Habit.
Her greatest challenge really came after she no longer had the words to describe it. She negotiated the many disorientations and frustrations of Alzheimer's with grace and dignity. She remained a kind and gentle soul with an iron backbone to the end, and loved her God and her family well. May her next chapter be a just reward.
Survivors include, two sons, Charles M. McAllaster of Longmont, Colo. and James W. McAllaster of Garden City; four daughters, Nancy J. Champion and husband Tom of Shelby Township, Mich., Claudia McAllaster of Leavenworth, Paula A. McAllaster of Wichita and Tammy Ellison and husband Elton of Leland, NC; a sister, Joan M. Burnham of Olathe; three grandchildren, Nick Wilkoff and wife Sun, Anna Jochum and husband Eric and Luke Feil and wife Christa; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Dr. Wendale E. McAllaster; and her brother, Doran L. Rhodes.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m., Sunday, April 18, 2021 at Bryant Funeral Home, with family to receive friends from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, April 19, 2021, at First United Methodist Church in Great Bend, with Pastor Morita Truman presiding. Interment will be in the Great Bend Cemetery. Memorials have been designated to First United Methodist Church Great Bend and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, in care of Bryant Funeral Home.
Published by Wichita Eagle on Apr. 16, 2021.