Donna Lynn Snyder Beck, 82, went to be with her Lord and Savior on November 11, 2021, after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She spent over fifty years living in Rockford, IL then moved to live with her daughter, Ann Waggoner (Laurel MT) to be supported as her health declined.
Donna was born April 25, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Robert B. and Mary Francis (Pahaly) Snyder. After graduating from York High School in 1957, Donna attended the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and then University of Montana where she enjoyed being a cheerleader as well as skydiver. She met her husband-to-be, Robert Beck, while working in a YMCA Summer Camp in Estes Park, Colorado. She married Robert on August 26, 1961. Donna graduated from Ft. Hays State University (Kansas) with a B.S. in Psychology in 1962.
In their first five years together, she had four children – John, Ann, Mary and Susan – and devoted her time to their care and education as their mother, athletic coach when needed, Girl Scout leader, singing instructor, PTA leader and all-around cheerleader throughout their lives. When her children were grown, Donna worked for Milestone to support developmentally disabled adults and then for Winnebago County as a probation officer for over 15 years until she retired.
Donna’s love for singing grew out of her childhood in hearing her father sing at church. She enjoyed performing as well and created a high school trio, The Echoes. Donna sang throughout her life in every church choir she joined and was a member of the Rockford Lutheran Choral Union (now Rockford Choral Union) for over thirty years. She assisted in ticket sales for many years until her Alzheimer’s progressed to a point where she could no longer continue. Donna performed the Messiah every Thanksgiving weekend for over 25 years and passed along her love of singing to her children and grandchildren.
Donna also loved nature, camping and hiking and served as a Girl Scout leader for over ten years. She took her girls to hike the Appalachian Trail, to race canoes on the Fox River and she spent countless hours organizing the Cookie Sales for the area for several years.
She loved the West Side of Rockford and spent over 40 years supporting public education through her volunteer work as both a parent and community member. She was especially passionate about the former Rockford West High School as a leader in the PTA while all four of her children attended. She designed and personally created shields for the gymnasium that celebrated the Rockford Warriors and their competitors for many years.
Donna was a lifelong member of the church and sought to live a life that was honoring to Jesus Christ in both her words and actions. One of Donna’s favorite verses: I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)
She was predeceased by her son, John Beck (Rockford IL) who passed away April 12, 2020. Donna is survived by three of her children – Ann (Dave) Waggoner (Laurel MT), Mary (Kevin) Flack (Littleton CO), and Susan (David) Freymiller deVillier (Culver IN). She is also survived by seventeen grandchildren (and five great-grandchildren): Hannah (Jaron) Ohs (Billings MT) Ben Waggoner (Laurel MT), Sarah Waggoner, Leah Waggoner, Rebekah Waggoner, Sam Waggoner, Joe Waggoner, and Daniel (Lydia) Waggoner - all of Billings, MT. Josiah (Lacy) Flack (Pueblo CO), Caleb (Kenzie) Flack, Nate (Emily) Flack, Madi (Nate) Corrado and Peter Flack - all of Littleton CO. Jay Freymiller (South Bend IN), Sarah Freymiller (St. Louis MO), Laur Freymiller (Moscow ID) and Adam Freymiller (Chicago IL).
Private services will be held. While the family has chosen to commemorate Donna’s life privately, they encourage friends of Donna and the family to continue her legacy through living sustainably including recycling, supporting your local schools, singing and traveling to watch kids and grandkids’ activities. Memorial contributions may be made in Donna’s name to Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org/