Donna (Gookin) Erlenbusch

Donna (Gookin) Erlenbusch, age 79, of Kinsey, Montana passed away July 19, 2016, while residing at the Fallon County Medical Facility in Baker, Montana, with her brother Marvin, husband Ervin and family friends by her side.

Donna Faye Gookin was born June 25, 1937 in Miles City, MT to Annabell (Johnston) Gookin and Samuel Lyle Gookin. She joined three older siblings, sisters Anna Marie, Mary Lou and brother Marvin at their home west of Ismay, MT. on Whitney Creek.

Donna attended 1st through 6th grades at the Whitney Creek School. She moved to Miles City with her family when her brother started high school. Her sisters previously boarded with the Harold Handley family during the school year. During high school she was a member of the Shooting Club, worked at Stokes & Stratton Jewelry and babysat for income. She especially liked working for Mrs. L.P. Anderson, helping with housework and child care. She also, along with her sisters and brother, helped care for the Askin family children.

Donna graduated from CCHS in May of 1955 and on the 26th of June, 1955, a day after her 18th birthday, married Ervin Erlenbusch. They celebrated 61 years together.

They lived in Miles City at the Green Star Trailer Court where their first child was born in 1956 and their second child was born in 1957. They lived for a short time in Glasgow while Ervin worked for a seismograph company. 

In the spring of 1961 they moved to a farm in Kinsey where their third child was born later that fall. Their fourth child was born in 1970. During time on the farm Donna had a sweet corn patch and used the sales in the fall to help buy school clothes. She would babysit during fall sugar beet harvest and that led to many years of caring for children of the community. She worked in the kitchen at the Kinsey School with the hot lunch program.

During the summer months, as the grandchildren grew older, there would be four to eight or more at a time staying with them. She loved her grandchildren and spent time with all of them. They all got hugs and kisses. Grandma’s house was the place to be.

She had many friends and worked with several of her close friends at the Miles City Packing Co. When not at the school or Miles City Packing Co. she cleaned several homes in the Kinsey community.

There were many family gatherings for holidays, birthdays, picnics and family reunions, which she enjoyed and looked forward to.

Donna is survived by her husband Ervin; children Lynn Ziebarth, Jeff (Rhonda), Jerry (Susan) and Lora (Wesley) Tate; 14 grandchildren, Amy, Amber, Ashley, Layne, Eric, Shannon, Kile, Samantha, Sasha, Austin, Darcy, Morgan, Michelle and Melyssa; 14 (soon to be 16) great-grandchildren; brother Marvin (Sharon) Gookin, brother-in-law Al Olson; many special nieces, nephews and cousins.

She is preceded in death by her parents and sisters Anna Marie (Gookin) Smith and Mary Lou (Gookin) Olson.

At her request cremation has taken place. On May 21st at 10 a.m. a memorial will be part of the Sunday service at the First Baptist Church, 900 Palmer Street, Miles City, with a lunch after the service. Interment will be at a later date.

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Kinsey School or to a special charity of one’s choice.