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Donna Gilman

Donna Gene Rebecca (Samstad) Gilman, age 99, of Willmar, passed away from her temporary life here on Earth to her Eternal life in Heaven on Saturday, October 22, at Augustana Emerald Crest Memory Care in Minnetonka.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, at Vinje Lutheran Church. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Vinje Lutheran Church or donors choice are preferred. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar. www.petersonbrothers.com

Donna Gene Rebecca Gilman was born on July 10, 1917, in rural Atwater, Minnesota to Bennie and Rosa (Reitan) Samstad. She graduated from Atwater High School in 1935 and attended Minneapolis Business College. In 1938, Donna was united in marriage to Dr. Donald Gilman at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Atwater where they made their home until Don was called into the Army Dental Corp. in WWII. They were stationed in various army bases until Don was ordered to the western Pacific and served in the battle of Iwo Jima. After the war, in 1952, Don moved his dental practice to Willmar where they lived until 2016.

Donna was active in all church activities at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. She served on the Alter Guild, women's groups, was a Release Time School teacher and worked on the annual Holiday Bazaar for many years. She was a long time member of the Rice Hospital Auxiliary and a 60 year member of the Samstad-Jensen American Legion Post in Atwater. Don and Donna celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary in 2012. Donna loved her family and friends; she played bridge, was a talented cross-stitcher, a fabulous cook and baker and loved to entertain and travel.

She is survived by two daughters, Carmen (and Clark) Borstad of Detroit Lakes and Audrey (and Roger) Omlid of Minnetonka; four grandchildren, Fredric (and Peggy) Borstad, Leslie (and David) Haradin, Molly (and Channing) Schmidt, and Ted (and Sara) Omlid; and nine great grandchildren, Ellie, Jane and Annie Borstad, Taj Haradin, Zoe, Channing, Will and Brooks Schmidt, and Alexandra Omlid. Also surviving are nephews, Jim Gilman, Byron Gilman, and nieces Wendy Gilman Shaler, Jan Gilman Bakken, Carel Thurston Gilman, and Kathy Gilman White.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ben and Rose Samstad; her husband, Don; many nephews, nieces, and Samstad, Reitan and Gilman relatives.

We wish to especially thank the staff of Vinje for their care, love and patience, and to the wonderful care given to our mother by Touching Hearts at Home, who made it possible for her to stay in her own home until a year ago. They are: Barb C., Karen B., Karen T., Judy W., Bev S., Janice H., Kathy L., Lindsey R., Lindsey S., and Lydia. And to the staff of Augustana Emerald Crest of Minnetonka for their kind and attentive care, and to Grace Hospice for their tender end-of-life care. We are indebted to you all. Our parents lived long, happy and healthy lives. They loved their family above all else. They were blessed to be able to live long enough to know and love their grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are so grateful to have had both of our parents with us most of our adult life.

Cemetery Details

Fairview Cemetery
Gorton Avenue NW
Willmar, MN, 56201


OCT 27. 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


Celebration of Life

OCT 27. 01:00 PM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donna Gilman, please visit our flower store.


Dear Audrey and Family, so sorry for the loss of your mother. You and your family are in our prayers. Hugs from the Sweet Family.

Jana Sweet - October 25, 2016 at 11:32 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Peace, Prayers, & Blessings- Lavender and White was purchased for the family of Donna Gene Rebecca Gilman.

October 25, 2016 at 12:21 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

I have several memories with Donna. But what I will never forget is how vibrantly beautiful she was. I would visit Donna several times a week. In the summer she was always sitting on the front patio on a garden bench enjoying mother nature and the lovely neighborhood. She LOVED her instant breakfast which she called "a milk shake, mmmm" My visits with her were always full of stories after all she had been everywhere and done everything. But mostly her stories revolved around Her sweet daughters and loving husband. I enjoyed my very special days with Donna and will never forget her evening prayers and warm hugs. Till we meet again in eternity our Dear sweet Donna Gene Rebecca, you will be missed.Love LindsayTouching Hearts at Home

Lindsay Kramer - October 26, 2016 at 11:19 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Donna was an amazing woman for her age. Her Love for God was so inspiring. We ALWAYS said Grace before eating. and Prayers before bed. Carmen & Audrey , I truly miss my contact with you. I appreciated the love you had for your mom and never envied the work you needed to do to keep her happy. Thank you for appreciating Touching Hearts because Donna gave us all a new outlook on life and what we had ahead of us should we live as long as she did.Judy WorthTouching Hearts at Home

Lindsay Kramer - October 26, 2016 at 05:34 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Carmen and Audrey, Don and I are sending our condolences to you. We would have been at the service, but I guess I had a "senior" moment and thought the service was going to be on Friday. You Mother lived and long and wonderful life. I remember having her as a religious teacher.Don and Janet Dokken

Janet Dokken - October 27, 2016 at 09:35 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM