Donna Marie (Dolina) Clark Nickols, 71, completed her life on Nov. 3, 2017 traveling instantly into the waiting arms of her Lord and Savior.
Donna began life's adventure at home on March 27, 1946 in Premiere, West Virginia on Silk Stocking Row. She was the twelfth child out of 14 born to John and Argie Dolina. Donna's father was an electrician in the coal mines and she was proud to be known as a "coal miner's daughter". The song made popular by Loretta Lynn was one of her favorites. Donna's father died of a heart attack at the age of 43 leaving her mother to raise the remaining nine children.
Because they lived in a coal miner's house that had to be vacated within thirty days after her father's death, the family moved to an old shack of a house, without plumbing and an outdoor water well located high in the mountains of Roderfield, WV. There, she was affectionately called the "barefoot ridge runner" by her family. Due to the abject poverty and health conditions on the children, Donna was adopted at the age of three as well as her twin brothers, Pat and Mike Dolina by her father's brother Robert and Ida Mae Dolina. Donna and her brothers were brought back to Tulsa to spend the rest of their childhood, growing up in the historical Tracey Park addition.
Donna had a full and productive life in Tulsa being a member of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls serving twice as Worthy Advisor, senior scout, attending Lincoln Elementary, Horace Mann Jr. High and graduated in 1964 from Tulsa Central High. Donna loved to play the Oboe and Bassoon in the school's orchestra and the cymbals in the high school marching band. Donna was baptized as a child, accepted Christ as her personal Savior through confirmation at the age of 16 and was a 30-year member of Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Also during her teen years, Donna became an active member of Alverson Eastern Star Chapter holding many offices. During Donna's life she frequently taught Sunday School to young children and was very active in the church.
Donna had a 32-year separation from her birth family, never knowing her natural mother, brothers and sisters. In 1989, by Divine Intervention, Donna, Pat, Mike and families traveled back to Welch, WV to the home of their oldest sister Bernice to meet their brothers, sisters and other family members. Her mother had passed before she had the chance to meet her. Donna always said it was the highlight of her life next to the birth of her children.
In 1965, upon requesting a record to be played by phone to KAKC radio, she met her first husband Jerry Clark who was the DJ on call that evening. Jerry and Donna were married for 22 years and had three wonderful children; Kris, Ken and Keith. In February 1974, the family of 5 moved north of Claremore to the Sequoyah Community. Donna wasn't a country girl but adapted to the changes quickly learning how to raise various animals and enjoyed watching her children compete in local horse shows.
After her divorce in 1989, Donna was a single parent for a few years before she was introduced by her daughter to Charles Nickols, a devout Christian man. They were married after a short courtship on August 27th, 1993.
During Donna's life she worked for Bell Telephone Co. for 9 years and American Airlines for 27 years, retiring in 2001.
After retirement, Donna and Charles helped to establish a new church in Claremore, New Life Baptist and are two of the original 14 charter members. At New Life, Donna was President of the ladies' ministry for 3 years and was also instrumental in starting New Life's outreach ministries that provided groceries and toys for some of the Claremore community.
Donna loved to sing and could be found in the choir of Sunday mornings, or as a first soprano in the Claremore Community Choir and enjoyed the Tulsa PAC plays and dramas as well as BOK Center shows. Donna said that if she had to do it all over again, she would have majored in music.
In 2011, Donna and Charles moved their church membership to the First United Methodist Church in Claremore and Donna was pleased to be back in the Methodist Faith. While at the church, she served on the Pie Baking Ministry, and sang first soprano in the choir for both traditional services. She also served on the Flower Power team and every 4th Tuesday on the Pantry front desk. Donna was also seen for many years working with the children during Vacation Bible School.
Donna was a very active, independent and always a strong willed but responsible lady. She was forever there in support of her family and friends. Donna loved a good joke and was always finding good reason to laugh at herself. For over 40 years, you could find Donna fishing for Rainbow Trout at Roaring River State Park in Missouri. Donna also enjoyed swimming, playing tennis or gardening in her own yard. She loved her grandchildren and was constantly taking them to movies, plays, shopping or watching them play sports. A Central Brave at heart, Donna assisted on coordinating high school alum functions and just recently celebrated her 50th anniversary reunion.
Donna had a great passion for antiques as was seen in her home and was happiest when purchasing and restoring antique articles. Donna and Charles had their own antique store on Grand Lake, Nickols Grand Galleria. Donna always wanted to preserve the past for others to enjoy. When the business was later sold, they continued to rent booths in antique malls in Missouri, Arkansas and in Oklahoma.
Donna's personality could best be described as sweet, stubborn but loving. Donna was very proud of her Irish and German ancestry and told many people that she was a redheaded lethal combination.
Donna is reunited with many loved ones. She is preceded in death by five sisters and five brothers and both natural and adoptive parents.
Left to remember her memories include her husband, Charles E Nickols, daughter Krisann M Grace and husband Darrel of Claremore. Son, Kenneth D Clark and wife Sara of Miami, Okla. Son, Keith D Clark and wife Stacey of Owasso. Five wonderful grandchildren; Jacob Pasdach and Lynse Grace, Paige and Mason Clark and Alyssa Clark. One sister Sue Powers of War, WV and two brothers Jimmy of Maryland and Mike Dolina in Tulsa.
"Holes in the heart are how the sun shines in. The SUN and the SON filled our hearts as Donna transitioned to Heaven". A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Claremore on Wednesday November 8th at 2:00, with Donna's earthly remains being interred in the Mount Pleasant cemetery of Butterfield, Missouri. Visitation will be at Rice Funeral Service on Tuesday November 7th from 4-7.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Donna's memory to the First United Methodist Church, "Stepping Up" building project.
Published on November 8, 2017