Donna was born on August 14, 1928 in Caroll, Iowa to William Thielen and Emma Jacobson Thielen. She was the oldest of three daughters and loved her younger sisters Jeanette and Margaret Ann dearly. Donna grew up on her family’s farm and when it was time for chores, she could often be found hiding up in a tree or on the roof of the chicken coop! She was often reading books or writing poetry. After she graduated from high school, Donna went to college and received her teaching degree. She then taught country school in a one room schoolhouse for grades kindergarten through high school. Until recently Donna kept in touch with some of her former students.
She continued to teach school until she met her future husband, Joseph Hockom, and they started a family. Donna and Joe had three children: Cindy, Jenny, and Tom. While in Atlantic, Iowa Donna was very active in the Catholic Church. She was a member of Catholic Daughters and the Altar and Rosary Society. In 1963 the family moved to Denver when Joe was transferred for his job. The hardest part of Donna’s life was when she lost her son Tom in a construction accident at the age of eighteen. Her faith in God helped her during that difficult time. Seven years later, Donna lost her husband Joe, but welcomed her first grandchild the next year.
After several years, she started going out country western dancing with a girlfriend. She eventually met Darrell Larsen while dancing and he became her life partner for the next 40 years. Donna and Darrell shared a love of nature and spending time with family. They had fun traveling and hiking in the mountains for many years. When travel became difficult, they enjoyed spending time at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
In her later years Donna enjoyed traveling internationally with her family. One of the highlights of her travels was a trip to Germany. In Germany she ate lots of apple strudel and visited relatives that she located by researching her family tree.
Donna brought warmth and kindness to those around her. She loved talking to people and never met a stranger. She loved nature and animals, especially dogs, birds and squirrels, and had many beloved dogs throughout her life. She cared deeply about the environment and often got fired up about politics! She enjoyed attending church and reciting the rosary. She gave the best hugs and loved her family and friends dearly.
Donna is preceded in death by her husband Joe Hockom, son Thomas Hockom, and sister Margaret Ann Suckut. She is survived by her partner Darrell Larsen, sister Jeanette Lang, daughter Cindy Nielsen (Kurt Nielsen), daughter Jennifer Lyon (Richard Lyon), grandchildren Natalie Fedors (Matthew Fedors), Nathan Lyon (Katie Lyon), and great-grandchildren Emmett, Lucy, Vivienne, and Colette. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Recitation of the Rosary, followed by Funeral Mass, will begin on Friday, February 23, 2024 at 10am at Most Precious Blood, 2200 S. Harrison Street, Denver, Colorado 80210. Reception to follow at the church. Graveside to follow the reception at 1:30pm at Littleton Cemetery, 6155 South Prince Street, Littleton, Colorado 80120.
Donations in Donna’s memory may be made to The Nature Conservancy or the Denver Dumb Friends League.
Please share memories of Donna and condolences with her family by signing the online guestbook below.