Donna Leah Jensen

Funeral Services for Donna will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, March 23, 2023 at the White River Community Event Center.

Private burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Pierre.

You may also click HERE to watch a live broadcast of Donna’s service.

Donna was the first of four children born to Howard and Evelyn Hansen. She grew up on a ranch in the hard ‘30’s along the river east of Pierre. Her work ethic and love of horses began early when she helped at the ranch on horseback. She rode her horse Strawberry four miles to school for eight years. She remembered It was often a cold ride, and involved a race now and then.

The family bought a house in town so Donna could go to high school. She graduated from Pierre High School, went briefly to business college, went to work for Governor Sigurd Anderson, then worked for many years for Ericson & Thorpe Insurance.

Many rodeo associations benefitted from Donna’s hard work over the years. She was the second secretary for the SD Rodeo Association, secretary for several rodeos, and member of the Oahe Riding Club. During that time, she began raising quarterhorses and continued that until recently. She was a very successful barrel racer, and she always made sure her son Kip had a good horse to ride as a child. One, Dutch, ended up in Hollywood in the movie “Shoot Out” with Gregory Peck.

A move to White River was the beginning of her long association with Frontier Days, where she served as secretary for 48 years. She worked with the White River High School Rodeo many years and worked as secretary for Gene Jones for more than forty years. Donna’s busy life included membership in the Methodist church, the Grandstand Committee, the White River Women’s Club, and the Casey Tibbs Foundation.

After retirement, Donna continued her love of everything horse related. She attended many horse shows and horse sales, and would go to a rodeo at the drop of a hat. She went on many trail rides in South Dakota and also in Wyoming, the Grand Canyon, and Canada.

Donna’s life was full, and she developed many friendships which endured over the years. She valued her friends as one of the most important aspects of her life. “Thank you” to all the friends of her 89 years. You have given her joy, adventure, opportunity, comfort, and peace. Please remember her with the respect and affection she felt for you.