Donna Marcile (Kechley) Tophoj, 92, of Oshkosh, died early Friday morning, January 21, 2011 at the Garden County Nursing Home in Oshkosh.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, January 27, 2011, at the Berea Lutheran Church south of Oshkosh with Pastor Jim Nichols of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Pastor Sarah Cordray officiating. Interment will follow in the Berea Cemetery.
Visitation will be on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Holechek Funeral Home in Oshkosh.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Donna’s name.
Family and friends may sign the guest book and leave condolences online at www.holechekfuneralhomes.com.
Holechek Funeral Home & Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Tophoj family.
Donna was born on December 23, 1918, to Elmer and Sophena (Damrow) Kechley in their home, south of Beatrice, Nebraska.
When Donna was only three months old, she and her family moved to Garden County, Nebraska. They lived 17 miles south of Oshkosh to an unimproved farm; living in a granary for one year while their house was being built.
It was here that she attended country school only a mile and a half from her home. She was schooled here until the eighth grade; she then attended Garden County High School in Oshkosh for four years and was in the graduating class of 1936.
In the fall of 1936, she went to California and worked as a nanny, caring for little children, helped with house work, and also did some cooking. She was only here a year and a half before returning to Nebraska in 1938.
On March 12, 1939, at the home of her mother, Donna was united in marriage to Ernest Tophoj. To this union, two boy and five girls were born. They soon made their first home just across the Deuel County line where they lived for seven years. In March 1946, they purchased a farm and ranch combination ten and a half miles southeast of Oshkosh where they then lived until July 1986. At this time, they moved to Oshkosh because of Ernest’s failing health.
At an early age, Donna was baptized and confirmed at the Lutheran Church and years later, was again baptized immersion and joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church where she taught Sabbath School for children and adults, and was the vacation Bible School leader. Donna truly enjoyed studying her Bible and did so faithfully.
Donna loved to cook and sew. She always enjoyed sewing for her family and others. She sewed prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses, wedding dresses and many other things such as quilts for her family. She also did much cooking and baking for her family and others.
Donna worked for Denny Hudson at the SnS. She cooked evening meals for a year and a half at the hospital and nursing home and in the early 1980’s ran Grandma’s Donut Shop in the triangle building by the main street railroad crossing. Here she made pies, donuts, cinnamon rolls, etc., one day a week but ended up having to close because of Ernest’s failing health.
Donna had many joys in her life and flowers was one of them. Donna owned and operated a flower shop with a luncheon room attached in Oshkosh for over two years. But her greatest joy was her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Donna leaves to mourn her passing her sons, Norris Tophoj and Elton and wife Lauren Tophoj all of Oshkosh; daughters, Yvonne and husband Gary Ogard of Vista, CA, LaVonne Morrow of Rawlins, WY, Marleeta and husband Butch Lance of Casper, WY, Jeanette Lance of Thermopolis, WY, and Anita and husband Harry Cross of Oshkosh; she leaves, 18 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; and her brother, Melvin and wife Betty Kechley of Oshkosh and many more relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Sophena; infant brother; her husband, Ernest; two grandchildren, Heidi Jenkins and Mark Lance; her son-in-law, Tom Irey and daughter-in-law, Charlotte Tophoj.