Cover photo for Donna Paske (Kroeger)'s Obituary
Donna Paske (Kroeger) Profile Photo
1934 Donna 2022

Donna Paske (Kroeger)

August 6, 1934 — April 12, 2022


Donna Lee Paske (Kroeger) was born August 6, 1934 in rural Sparta, Wisconsin to Peter Kroeger and Rosemary (Kapeller) Kroeger. She died April 12, 2022 in Madison Wisconsin. She is survived by her children Brenda Ann Paske, Sandra Jean Ross and Mara Joan Gordon, as well as her sisters Jean, Kathy and Carol and brothers Tom, Charlie, Bill, Jim. Brother Richard preceded her in death.

The eldest of nine children, Donna and her family lived in a remote 4 bedroom farmhouse next to a church and in front of a graveyard. The home had no indoor plumbing and Donna walked to a one-room schoolhouse a mile away, even in the harshest Wisconsin winters. In addition to their studies, the school children were responsible for cleaning the classroom and keeping the fire going. In the summer Donna watched over her siblings while her mother worked at Camp McCoy during the war and her father was in the Veterans hospital.  In her teenage years Donna worked as a typist at Camp McCoy, eventually serving as personal secretary to the medical director before graduating high school.

Donna excelled in school and fought her parents to go to college rather than settling for a career as a typist.  She enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, working her way through college and paving the way for many of her siblings to also obtain college degrees.  While a UW student she met and married Gerald Paske.  The marriage lasted over 20 years.

In her 40’s Donna divorced Gerald and returned to UW in pursuit of a law degree. She graduated law school in three years with the help of the “Law Ladies”, a supportive group of older students who remain friends to this day.

Donna dedicated many years working for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission as an Administrative Law Judge, and once had a brief argued before the Supreme Court.

Donna traveled the world before and during retirement, and took up the study of French. Donna never stopped studying and learning. She refused to own a TV, believing it stunted the mind, and instead listened to the radio, mainly NPR, for news and entertainment. She regularly read as many as 5 books per week.  She also attended many ballets, plays, lectures and concerts.

Donna died as she lived - decisively and without hesitation.  She will be greatly missed by family, friends, and former colleagues.

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