Cover photo for Donna McLaren's Obituary
Donna McLaren Profile Photo

Donna McLaren

November 20, 1927 — December 22, 2019

Donna McLaren

Donna Mae McLaren, 92, of Atlantic, Iowa, and former longtime Cumberland-Massena resident died peacefully Sunday morning, December 22, 2019, at the Heritage House in Atlantic.

Born on November 20, 1927, just before the Great Depression to parents of direct Swedish descent (Joseph Carl and Lillian Engstrom Walburg) Donna enjoyed a happy childhood within her loving family. Although the times were tough there was always food on the table, chores to be done, and plenty of laughter and fun. The Walburg children walked through a pasture and timbered land in central Minnesota to the nearby District 3 country school, near the towns of Bodum and Isanti. Her teen years were spent with classmates in Cambridge High School and activities such as hayrides, choir practice, ice skate parties, etc., with the youth group at North Isanti Baptist Church, where three Sundays a month the services were in Swedish. Donna accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord at this time, and was baptized when she was 13.

After graduation from Cambridge High School in 1945 (her classmates designated her as having the prettiest eyes!), Donna found employment as a secretary at the Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Company in Minneapolis. She and her sister, Adelle, shared an apartment on 4th Avenue and they took the streetcar to work. After a few years she and a girlfriend took a sabbatical from work and traveled by train to California and they worked on short term jobs while visiting relatives. Upon her return to Minnesota in 1948, she met a good looking Iowa farm boy who was employed at the same workplace, the Allis Chalmers Mfg. Co. Donna and Bruce were married on July 29, 1949, and began married life on the McLaren home place south of Cumberland, Iowa, where they farmed the land, raised livestock, and enjoyed a very happy 50 years together. Three children, Eric Joseph, Becky Rae, and Julie Kay completed the family circle and (with many nearby McLaren cousins) they enjoyed eating Donna’s fresh baked cookies, apple pies, cinnamon rolls, and other delicious treats. Donna enjoyed her life as a homemaker and was a longtime member of the Iris Garden Club, a 4-H leader, Cumberland Library board member, and Cass County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Member.

Donna attended the Lyman Gospel Hall where she was a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, and a willing church kitchen worker. After moving to Atlantic in 2005 where she lived in a condominium on Chestnut Street, she attended the Atlantic Gospel Chapel where she enjoyed the fellowship of friends and participated in many Bible Studies. Donna’s most important life goal was to reflect God’s love to others and draw them to know Jesus as their Savior. May God give those who mourn her here on earth comfort and peace as they reflect on her new heavenly life without any cares or pain.

She is survived by three children: Eric (Rita) McLaren of Atlantic, Iowa, Becky (John) Holmes of Atlantic, Iowa, and Julie (Fred) Gibson of Fort Worth, Texas; 10 grandchildren: Brent (Kari) McLaren, Beth (fiancé, Mark D’Angelo) McLaren, Jennifer (Nathan) Dwyer, Kristi (Mike) Driscoll, Cale (April) Welborn, Drew (Crystal) Welborn, Kirk (Lindsay) Welborn, Todd Holmes, Anthony (Mara) Gibson, and Shawn Gibson; 21 great grandchildren; one sister, Adelle Olsen; two sisters-in-law, Lois Walburg and Arlene Walburg; plus many nieces, nephews and countless friends.

Donna was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Bruce McLaren; her parents, Joseph and Lillian Walburg; three brothers, Bill, Jim, and Warren Walburg; son-in-law, Craig Kischer; great granddaughter, Grace Welborn; and numerous sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.


Donna M. McLaren

November 20, 1927 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

December 22, 2019 - Atlantic, Iowa
At the age of 92 years, 1 month & 3 days

11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 25, 2020
Roland Funeral Home - Atlantic, Iowa

Mike Eells

Janet Freeman
Heidi Hinman

“Because He Lives”

Brent McLaren
Mike Driscoll
Nathan Dwyer
Steve Erickson
Mac Jensen
James McLaren

11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 28, 2019
Massena Township Cemetery - Massena, Iowa

Donna’s family appreciates your presence and care and invites
you to join them for lunch in the fellowship hall at the
Atlantic Gospel Chapel, immediately following the service.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donna McLaren, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am

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Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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