Donna James

September 29, 1947 - May 23, 2023

Donna Lee James, age 75, of New Prague, died peacefully on May 23, 2023 at Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato. Donna was born on September 29, 1947 in Mankato to Peter and Marcella (Zastrow) Menten. She graduated from Mankato High School and went on to attain her teaching degree from Mankato State College. Donna taught in Waseca and after marrying Thomas P. James, taught music for grades 7-12 for over 30 years in Jordan Public Schools where Tom was also teaching. Music was Donna’s passion throughout her life and she found pleasure and fulfillment in every aspect of it. She and Tom enjoyed dancing together and passed that ability to their grandchildren. She served as the choir director at Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church for many years. Commitment to civic volunteerism saw her as an active volunteer with the Jordaness Lions Club. Donna loved traveling with frequent trips to the cabin they had near Hackensack, MN and annual winter trips on the road, where she and Tom visited every state except, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. Travel with girlfriends took her to places such as New York, Ireland, and Branson, MO. Donna radiated kindness and was devoted to her family.

Donna is survived by her husband of over 40 years, Tom James; daughter, Debbie (Mark) Kasner; grandchildren, Maggie Kasner (fiancé, Cole), Nick Kasner, Leah Kasner, Hannah Kasner, Dylan (Marissa) James, Abby James; brothers, Dale (Julie) Menten, Dean Menten; nieces & nephews, Eric Menten, Heather Menten, Tammy (Brian) Anderson; grand-nieces & -nephews, Rachel Lyons, Ginny Lyons, Andrew Lyons, Audrianna Menten, Emily Menten, Haddon Anderson, Brady Anderson. She is preceded in death by her parents; son, Tony James; sister, Diane Menten.

Memorial services will be held in early July at Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lanesburgh, MN.

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Lori Glynn
2 hours ago

What a loss. She was always so kind. Her smile lit the room. So sorry to the family.

Mary Draheim
2 hours ago

Mrs. James was a wonderful teacher and a truly amazing woman. Always so gracious and kind and full of smiles. I always enjoyed seeing her and getting to visit.
My heart goes out to all of you as you mourn her loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mr. James and your entire family! Cherish the memories… I know we all will as well.

14 hours ago

Tom and family, Ken and I are so very sorry for your loss. We loved being your neighbors and loved you both so much.
Ken and Mary

Cindy Guss
1 day ago

Mr. James and family, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of Mrs. James from high school. She was always very kind and loved to share her love of music. She will be greatly missed.

Deb Nissen Peters
1 day ago

We were so very sorry to hear of Donna’s passing. She was a wonderful friend to our family and especially my Dad Marv Nissen with who they shared their love of music and teaching. A wonderful woman who touched so many lives. May she remain in the hearts of her dear family and friends. Peace to you Tom.

Tim and Jody Collins OConnell
1 day ago

Sending thoughts and prayers to the entire family. Our deepest sympathy to Tom and family. Rest in peace Donna.

Donna I Jack galvin
1 day ago

Deepest sympathy to Tom and his family Donna was a sweet loving lady RIP Donna

Aileen Dalton
1 day ago

I don’t know how I would’ve survived high school without Mrs. James. Not only was she a very talented music teacher & choir director, but a good friend. I appreciated the time and efforts she gave to JHS and the love & support to each of us.
The world has lost a beautiful soul. May you rest in peace Mrs. James. Prayers to to all the family & friends.

Heather Kragthorpe Briese
1 day ago

Mr James, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. Mrs. James was simply the best! Such fond memories from high school but even more wonderful memories after. She was kind and caring and always welcomed you with a smile and hug. Sending love and prayers for peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Sandy Henkensiefken Nelson
1 day ago

Miss Menten was an incredible teacher and mentor to me. I had the pleasure of having her as a chorus teacher in Waseca when I was in middle school. She gave me courage and confidence in my abilities as a vocal artist. Since then I have continued to sing in various choral organizations and have performed in several operas. I recently had the opportunity to sing on the stage at Carnegie Hall with the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras. I owe it all to her, who took the time to coach me, encourage me and give me wings to fly! My… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Sandy Henkensiefken Nelson
Char Voigt
1 day ago

Our hearts go out to Tom and all of Donna’s family at the loss of Donna. We will always remember her smile, her kindness, and her friendship. She was such an inspiring music teacher at Jordan Schools. May His Peace comfort you at this sad time.

Adele Buck
1 day ago

The memories of Miss Menton and how she impacted so many young lives brought tears and smiles to my face. She was my middle school and jr high choir teacher. She started my Madrical group that was together until graduated. During our last jr high concert we re-wrote the words to Red Roses for Blue Lady to Roses for a Cool Lady.
She was loved and respected. My thoughts and prayers are with her family

Patti Abraham-Brekke
1 day ago

I was truly sorry to learn about Miss Menten’s passing. I truly enjoyed her as our 6th grade music teacher as even though l was new to the school that year, she was so very welcoming, and l needed that. I pray that God will comfort you and your families with many happy memories that will flood your hearts with smiles. ~John 14:,18,27❤️✝️

Mary Roesler
2 days ago

I had Miss Menton in JR high.I liked her very much.She will be missed.My thought and prayers go out the family

Tim and Ruth Collins
2 days ago

So sad to hear this. Donna was a wonderful person and an amazing teacher. Our prayers are with her family.

Kay Guenther
2 days ago

Donna was a special friend who will be so missed. So many memories of special times at the cabin and our regular golf outings. She always talked so fondly of her grandchildren. Condolences to Tom and all your family.

Gerri (Hoehn) Dix
2 days ago

“Miss Menten” was one of the most influential person for me…and consequently my children as well. I will always remember her telling us that everyone can sing, some are just better than others. But when you tell someone they can’t sing, you’ve taken the love of singing away from them. I still tell people that life lesson all the time. I am saddened to hear this news. Rest well good and faithful servant.

Mary Laban
2 days ago

My deepest sympathy to Tom and all of Donna’s family. Donna was a great friend. I was in a Friday morning golf group with Donna and a bunch of sweet ladies. Donna was such an organizer, always making sure everyone was having a fun time. I was fortunate to spend time with her at the James Cabin near Hackensack. The highlight was always Happy Hour and a cruise around the lake on the pontoon. And she loved fishing!! That was always a big part of the trip! And finish the puzzle before you leave! Rest in peace Donna! We will… Read more »

Patty lau
2 days ago

She was my junior high school music teacher every one loved her.

Deborah Pauly
2 days ago

I will always treasure memories of Donna. We had great times at the cabin and golfing regularly. She was our organizer and planner and was always so supportive and kind. My sympathy to Tom and your family.

Jeffry Menten
2 days ago

I am so deeply sorry to hear about Donna. She was a very special person. Chris Williams contacted me today. I am currently out of state with my wife Randi. She gave her gift of music to teach others. She will be missed by all of us.

Rose Elke Johnson
2 days ago

Mr. James, my thoughts of peace are with you losing such an amazing woman to heaven. Mrs. James was one of my favorite teachers and inspires me to this day as I teach and live. God bless you and yours today and always.

Audrianna Menten
2 days ago

Such a beautiful and inspiring woman, I am so lucky to have Donna as a great-aunt. Rest in peace, Donna. I love you!

Bill and Shirley Rutz
3 days ago

Donna was a gifted educator, loved by students and staff. Her smile and laugh would light up a room. We truly miss this incredible woman.

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