Donna Luedke

Donna J. Luedke


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Obituary of Donna Luedke


April 14, 1931 – April 3, 2018


 Resident of Santa Cruz


A private family graveside ceremony will be held in rural South Dakota for Donna Luedke who passed away in Santa Cruz following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  Born in Yankton, South Dakota, Donna was a dedicated teacher and devoted to her church throughout her life. She attended St. John’s Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas; teaching grades 3 and 4 at Trinity Lutheran School in Sauk Rapids, MN. She later attended Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, and taught grades 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a two room school house at Immanuel Lutheran School in Elmhurst, IL.


Donna raised her two children in Geneva, Illinois, and in 1967 moved to Southern California with her young family; teaching first grade as a reading specialist in Carlsbad, CA.  Completing her Master’s Program from United States International University in San Diego, she taught as a reading specialist for public schools in the San Diego - La Mesa area for more than 20 years. She loved meeting people from other cultures and after the war ended she enjoyed teaching English and American culture to Vietnamese refugees and did what she could to help them be successful, all to help the children.


Donna was an accomplished traveler, and never strayed far from her love of teaching.  After retiring from teaching in San Diego, she rented a mobile home in Medford Oregon near family members, and was a substitute teacher. Then for four years, taught preschool at Okinawa Christian School in Japan. She had visited all 50 States in the U.S. and traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East and Australia, and visited her relatives in South Dakota,. In 2004, Donna moved to Santa Cruz to be near her daughter. While a resident of Sunshine Villa, she was given the official title and badge wearer of “Friendship Ambassador”, and also led a Bible Study group.


She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Stephen Grushkin, her son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Marie Luedke, her sisters; Janice Jackson and Judy Nakamura; her grandchildren: Asaph, Aaron, Angela, Jennifer and great granddaughter, Sophia.  She was laid to rest beside her parents, Emil and Adella Frohreich at Martinus Lutheran Cemetery in Yankton, SD. Any kind acts of charity can be made in her memory to The Alzheimer’s Association to aid in research and finding a cure.