In Loving Memory of Donna M. Arndt: 1935-2021


Donna Marie Arndt, 86, of Cinebar, Washington, entered into eternal rest on Dec.  20, 2021. She was born in Tacoma, Washington, on Jan. 20, 1935. In 2015, Donna’s husband of 62 years Tom went to Heaven. In 2019, her great-grandson Marcus Hampton also went to be with the Lord. 

Donna’s parents were Rex and Violet Terry. She has three siblings; her brother Jan, sister Joann and last surviving sibling Sandra. 

Donna grew up in the Christian Science Church and remained a member all of her life. She was a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent and also a reader of this church.

Later on she accepted Jesus in Salome, Arizona, while on vacation. 

Donna barely talked until age 3 but was nearly a straight-A student all her school years. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, in 1953. She was very ambitious and at a young age she had a paper route which her sister Sandy (Sandra) and their dog, Rags, would help with. 

Donna enjoyed numbers and she had the ability to calculate without a calculator right up until recently. When she was a young girl, she built two models, a house and a barn complete with electricity. As a child, she enjoyed sitting in the cherry tree in their backyard and going to Spanaway Lake, Wrights Park and Titlo Beach in the summers with her family.

There was music in their home as her dad, Rex, played the piano by ear. That gift brought joy to the whole family for years. "Roll Out the Barrel" was a favorite.

When Donna was a junior in high school, she met Tom Arndt. The rest is history, as they say! They eloped when she was a senior in high school. Later, they had a church ceremony. Tom and Donna lived in El Paso, Texas, Auburn, Washington, Buckley, Washington, Salome, Arizona, and finally, Cinebar, Washington. In the 1950s, they bought 90 acres in Buckley, much of which needed to be cleared. Their first three children were raised on this farm. (son Dean for the last two years there). They all worked together logging (with dynamite in those days!), picked all the roots, burned the stump piles and picked up trailers full of roots and rocks. Then the land needed planting. Donna planting with a spin spreader over her shoulder is etched in the memory of her family. When the harvest time came, the grass was transferred to the silo by trailer to a conveyor run by Tom’s tractor he called “Johnny Popper.” 

For about 15 years, they operated their dairy. In that time, seven barns were built, mainly from timber on the property. During the early years of the dairy, Donna also had a job working on the halls at Rainier School in Buckley. She worked with the residents on Laurel and Holly halls then later was promoted to supervisor. Since Donna enjoyed working with residents more than office and employee management responsibilities she chose to quit after 12 years. Through the years, she also worked as a postal worker,  Dairy Herd Improvement Association tester, water meter reader and school bus driver.

In 1973, Dean Max Wehr came to live with the Arndt family at the age of 3. Dean was an intelligent little boy with an outstanding personality. He became a man before his time working alongside the family on the dairy. Tom nicknamed him “Hoolie.” They had a special bond. Dean lived with them until age 13 but remained close to Tom and Donna their whole lives. 

In 1975, Tom and Donna leased out the dairy and built a few homes in Buckley with the help of their sons, Tim and Dean. Donna enjoyed operating their sawmill to mill lumber for the homes and barns they built in Cinebar. To the families nearest recollection there were 34 in all. Even into her 70s, it wasn’t uncommon for Donna to show up at a building site to help her family. She enjoyed measuring and laying out the project. She had an obvious passion to be productive.

In 1979, at the age of 43, Donna gave birth to Kelly. Such a surprise and a beautiful blessing. Donna always said Kelly was special, and she is.

The Arndt family worked hard but they played hard too. One family member recalled the visits from Donna’s parents, Rex and Violet. They all enjoyed pinochle. Laughter would echo throughout the house. Donna always enjoyed card games and, later, sudoku puzzles, wood crafts, sewing, quilting and knitting (many of her creations are still treasured by family members). The Arndt family always had a pool up until the last home they owned. Five pools in all. They thoroughly enjoyed visiting with family which included traveling to grandma Arndt's (Tom's mother) on Friday nights and or grandpa and grandma Terry's (Donna's parents).

Another family favorite activity was going to the Puyallup pool on a weekend evening. Visiting with friends and welcoming everyone who would "drop by." When they moved to Cinebar they would go down for almost nightly visits to Tim and Terry's house  where the whole family from there would congregate. Terry was known to usually have dinner for whoever was hungry. Charlie and Verity's daughter Kathleen (Donna's great granddaughter) once shared how special those days were when she was a little girl. 

Other fond memories are:

Family/friends sitting around a campfire on a summer evening. 

Their daily drive to visit someone or just a pepsi run for Tom!

They enjoyed traveling too. Those travels took them to Canada, Hawaii, St. Thomas, and Arizona, to name a few. 

Her favorite sayings include: 

“Complaint is poverty gratitude Is riches." 

“Not my will but thine be done.” 

Always hug “heart to heart” as recalled by her great-grandson, Blake. 

“This is the day the Lord has made. Be glad, give thanks, rejoice.” 

“Pray for me.” 

“I love you.” 

"So Be it."

As memorable as Donna’s life has been with her happy demeanor, drive and determination, nothing surpasses the most important part. She realized the importance of instilling faith of the Lord in her children. A generational legacy and no greater gift. Thank you Lord. Mom, we are at peace knowing you are with Jesus through eternity. 

Two of the last songs she sang were Shepard Show Me How to Go and Gracious Spirit Dwell in Me. The last known Bible verse was Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Lean not unto thine own understanding; In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy path.

The family is very grateful for her son Tim and her daughter-in-law Terry for inviting Donna into their home. She expressed gratitude often for that. She also shared how special her love for Tim was. She cited a mother son bond and it was obvious in his care.

She loved looking out at the mountains at Tim and Terry's … “peaceful” (her words).

The whole family would like to thank Lisa Cruz and Dan Warren for their gracious and patient care for Donna the last two and a half years. They are true angels! 

There will be a graveside service at noon on Jan. 20, 2022 (Donna’s birthday) at Shoestring Cemetery at 104 Frase Road in Onalaska, Washington, 98570. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Habitat for Humanity.

Donna’s Family   D= deceased

HUSBAND: Thomas Arndt (D)

BROTHER: Jan Terry (D) and wife Bernie 

Daughter's: Margaret Terry

Anne Terry and husband, Eddie Sams


SISTER: Joann McCleary 

Joann's Son: Tony Porco and wife Patty 





Joann's daughter:

Debbie Porco (D)

Joann's son: Michael Porco (D)





SISTER: Sandra and husband Ed Wilson


Shellene Pray,





Son: Darren Wilson (D)

Son: Rodney Wilson

Donna’s Children/Grandchildren/Great-grandchildren

DAUGHTER: Arlene Kuczynski and husband, Jed


DAUGHTER: Marlene Hampton and husband, Bob

Grandaughter:Sarah Hampton

Grandson: Kabe Hampton and wife, Elizabeth 

Great grandson:Marcus (D)

Great grandson:Blake 

Grandaughter: Katie Edmonds and husband, Tim

Great grandson's: Kendrick and Easton

Great grandaughter: Everly

Grandaughter: Candace Ortega and husband, Justin

Great grandaughter: 



SON: Thomas “Tim” Arndt and wife, Terry

Grandson: Charlie Arndt and wife, Verity 

Great grandaughter: Kathleen

Great grandson: Sean

Great grandaughter:  Alexa


Grandaughter: Mary “Krissy” Arndt


SON: Dean Wehr and wife, Rachel

Grandson: Max

Grandaughter: Evie


DAUGHTER: Kelly Barrett and husband, James