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Donna Jean Emond was born March 6, 1930, in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the third of seven children. She grew up in a loving family, bound closely by the death of her father at a young age and by the strength of her mother. She married Donald Jerome Thiede in 1952, raising four children in as many states: Debra Jo, David John, Diane Jill, and Dean Jeffrey. In most respects, the DJTs were a traditional family of the times. Their last move was to Hampton, Iowa, in 1971, where she still resides.
Amidst all the ordinary aspects of her life, she shines as extraordinary to her children. With her enduring and endearing support, all children graduated from Iowa State University: Debra, Interior Design, B.A. '75; David, Industrial Engineering, B.S. '78; Diane, Computer Science, B.S. '84, Computer Engineering, M.S. '86, Ph.D. '89; and Dean, Business Administration, B.A. '86. Assuming a primarily traditional role as housewife and mother, she has exemplified through her endeavors a set of non-traditional qualities of character which have enriched her children’s lives: strength, compassion, creativity, humor, sincerity, perfection, and competitiveness. In particular, these special qualities make her a role model in the eyes of her daughters and granddaughters.
Thus, while all her children are honoring her, this comes as a special tribute from Diane. In fact, it represents a tribute to many "traditional" mothers whose daughters have taken non-traditional routes. With few female mentors along the route, a mother often stands in an inspirational, if not influential, position. This is certainly true with Donna; she has been like a lighthouse in her daughter's journey.
Submitted by Diane Thiede Rover, Okemos, Michigan (May 1995)