Donna Jean (Grissom) Hudak passed away on March 24, 2020, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after a brief illness. She was 92.
Beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (“GG”), Donna was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Willard W. and Merwyn P. (Bornholdt) Grissom. Donna was the youngest of two children, sister to Willard (Bill) C. Grissom. Her mother died when Donna was five and her father would later remarry Elizabeth I. (Anderson) Grissom. By the end of 1940, her family had moved to Tacoma, Washington, where she would eventually meet and marry Robert C. Hudak at Fort Lewis WA, when he was a Corporal in the Air Force, and she worked on base as a clerk typist. Donna and Bob would later move to southern California where they raised their six children, first in Long Beach and Los Alamitos, and eventually by 1970 calling the Santa Ynez Valley home.
An avid gardener, Donna also loved the Lakers, a rousing game of pinochle or gin rummy, a good book, dancing, and playing the piano, but most of all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She worked at the Solvang Nordic Knives shop for over 20 years. In her retirement she enjoyed volunteering her time at the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society Thrift Shop and the Solvang Senior Center. Donna was an early adopter and participant in the online revolution of the ‘90's known as the internet and educated herself on technology and stayed connected to the world through her computer. She loved to spend hours researching her ancestry or things of interest, sending and reading emails, or following the postings of friends and family on Facebook where she was quick to “like” and offer loving and supportive commentary or her wry sense of humor. Over these last few years, although she was challenged by declining health, she still loved spending time on her front porch amongst her potted plants, watching the hummingbirds fight over the feeders, and appreciating her fine view of Figueroa Mountain.
Fiercely independent to the end, Donna was a compassionate, kind and loving soul to everyone she encountered. She is survived by her 6 children (Bobby, Gary, Karen, Mary, Michael and Charles), 11 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and many friends. Donna was preceded in death by her husband (1985) and was laid to rest at his side in the Riverside National Cemetery. Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic only a small immediate family memorial service could be held before her interment, but a celebration of her life is planned for the future. For those wishing to do so, the family may be contacted through Donna's home telephone number.
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