Donna L. Simard Emerson Frye passed away peacefully on May 27, 2019 into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father. She was born on February 3, 1926 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Elmer Simard and Esther Lord. She was raised in Seattle, Washington with her siblings, Marvin, Vivian, Gloria and Sharon. She married the love of her life Willam Holland Emerson and had a family of eight children: Vicky, Kathy, Bill, Penny, Pat, Robinette, Roy and Roxanne. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was sealed to Bill in the Salt Lake City Temple. Following Bill’s passing, she married Howard Emerson Frye. She leaves behind posterity of nearly a hundred and her beloved dog, Zoya.
Donna was never one to sit and rest. She was always busy doing something productive to make her home run smoothly and care for her family. She would wake up early, get fully dressed so she was ready for anything the day might bring.
Donna was a playful, happy child and had a bubbly personality. As a young girl, she was nicknamed by a friend “Itsy-bitsy-tootsa Bella” because of her small size and vivacious personality. She attended Catholic school and was a cheerleader and involved in school plays. She was a huge help to her working mother doing chores around the house, preparing meals, and taking care of her younger siblings. She loved to ice skate on Green Lake, WA. She was a top student and offered a scholarship. Donna was an excellent speller. She could spell anything. Later in life when her husband worked on cross-word puzzles, he would call out to her and she would quickly respond with three or four possible answers.
She first set eyes on her future husband, Bill, when he entered a popular Seattle dance ballroom in his Navy uniform. He had dark curly hair and a confident attitude as he tossed his Navy hat onto the hat stand from across the room. She thought he was strikingly handsome, and he certainly was a tremendous dancer as he whirled her around the dance floor with ease.
They married and moved between Salt Lake and Seattle. In a ten-year period, four of their children were born in Utah and four were born in Washington state as they moved back and forth for Bill’s work. They eventually settled in Salt Lake where her husband was a brick mason by trade specializing in decorative masonry. Donna’s life revolved around the needs and love of her children. She continually sacrificed her own comforts to show her great love for her family. Her purpose was fulfilled in nurturing and loving her children.
Bill and Donna were openly affectionate towards one another. Donna never said a negative thing about her husband or complained when times were tough. Emulating forgiveness was one of her many strengths along with determination, drive and resilience. Raising a large family brought rewards and sometimes heartache. However, she chose to focus on the positive accomplishments of her husband, children and grandchildren. Her optimistic outlook was reflected in her singing around the home. She repeated many times that in her eyes her grandchildren were perfect in every way.
She lived through the Great Depression. As such, she learned to be very frugal and make do with little. She was expert at utilizing everything. She went on hunting trips with her husband so she could spend more time with him and became a good shot too. Hiking in the beautiful mountains brought her a sense of peace and serenity while rainy days reminded her of her childhood home.
Donna had many talents. Donna crocheted beautifully and made baby blankets and other gifts for her grandchildren. Studying gardening books, she became an avid gardener and had a room in her home filled with plants. Her talents also extended to learning to play the guitar and singing along. Donna was detail oriented and liked to be organized. She would say, “If a job is worth doing, do it right the first time.” One thing that brought her extreme pleasure over the years was caring for her adored Pomeranians. She was never separated from them as they were very precious to her.
Donna was never found sitting around. She was always found doing something for others. Rarely spending money or time on herself, one of her few indulgences was purchasing Woman’s Day or Family Circle magazines at the grocery store. Experimenting with recipes from these magazines, she would prepare delicious meals. Afterwards, many mother daughter talks took place over the assembly line of washing dinner dishes. She was full of good advice and exemplified the advice she gave. “Try to look on the bright side and give people the benefit of the doubt.” “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” “Tomorrow will be a better day, hang on, and put your troubles in God’s hands.”
She had a strong testimony and relied on her Heavenly Father’s guidance. In prayer, she found strength and solace to carry her through the deep grief of her eternal companion’s passing. When she married her second husband, they enjoyed each other’s companionship, traveling, dining out, dancing and family activities up until his final stage of life.
She never had much in the form of material riches, but considered herself wealthy because of her children and grandchildren. She said, “When others leave this world, they leave their possessions behind, but I will have my family forever.”
It isn’t possible to express enough the gratitude that all of her children feel towards their sister Penny and her husband Lester who opened their home to Mom for the past 2 ½ years and lovingly cared for her.
Mom is welcomed home by her anxiously awaiting husband (Bill Emerson), her parents, oldest son (Bill), three of her siblings, five of her grandchildren and one great grandson. Mom, we all love you dearly and you will forever be in our hearts!
Services will be Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:00am at the L.D.S. chapel on 1187 E. Draper Parkway (12300 S.), friends and family can visit 9:30-10:30am prior to the service. Interment Salt Lake City Cemetery. Guestbook to post messages for the family available at: HolbrookMortuary.com
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