1929 – 2022
Donneta Louise Knutzen Dockery, 92, a devoted country gal and homemaker known for telling it like it is, died Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Peridot Senior Living in Elizabethtown.
Born on Aug. 8, 1929, to parents William and Elizabeth Knutzen and raised on a dairy farm in Omro, Wisconsin, Donneta spent much of her childhood outdoors. She loved tending to the animals, especially kittens in the hayloft, roaming the fields, or when old enough, driving the family tractor. She married in 1948 and had a son, Mark Peppler, and a daughter, Debra Peppler.
Donneta met her second husband Ustes C. Doc Dockery while working at Paine Lumber company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The two married in 1963 and later moved to Louisville in 1967, where Doc started a contracting business with his brothers. During this time, Donneta supported their business, managing bookkeeping, payroll and other tasks. Ultimately, a mutual love for rural life motivated them to move to an 80-acre Elizabethtown farm in 1979.
During 47 years of marriage, Donneta and Doc operated a thriving farm, raising black angus cattle, hogs, goats, chickens and a large vegetable garden. They were known to adopt stray dogs and foster baby goats in their kitchen. They loved traveling, too, driving a motor home across the country to destinations in Florida, New York and Colorado. They frequently and generously hosted many friends and family members on the farm.
During her life, Donneta enjoyed making large dinners for her family and caring for her grandchildren. With the saying cleanliness is next to godliness as her motto, she worked diligently to ensure the house always was spotless. Born at the beginning of The Great Depression, Donneta also was quite thrifty, taking pride in finding numerous opportunities to save a dime. Her upbringing instilled a strong work ethic and an urgent desire to keep moving personal characteristics that never waned.
Donneta had a loving spirit framed by a fierce demeanor. She had a prickly sense of humor. She loved using her binoculars to scope out wildlife in the field or the neighbors speeding by on the narrow road by her home. She was faithful, always praying before meals and regularly attending Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. At a moments notice, she could whip up delicious deviled eggs and potato salad. She frequently listened to 1940s Big Band tunes and danced the Jitterbug. Prior to a hip replacement surgery, she literally ran circles around everyone.
Donneta was preceded in death by her husband Doc in 2010. She also was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Ruth Spiegelberg; and a brother, William "Billy" Knutzen.
Donneta is survived by her son, Mark and husband, Damon Arhos; a daughter, Debra; three grandchildren, Shawn Burchett and wife, Mary Hundley, Kandi Burchett and Christopher Burchett; a niece, Jane Koplitz; two nephews, Jack Spiegelberg and Chuck Spiegelberg; nine great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren. She also is survived by many dear friends who have loved and supported her over the years, especially Charlie and Jena Simmons, Terry and Nancy Phillipy, Bobby and Debi Burnett, Marianne Austin, Debra Wilkins, Ed and Damita Camero, David Cecil, Mark and Carol Haynes and Bill Knea. She also is survived by her faithful companion, Lola the chihuahua.
A special thanks to those who provided Donneta comfort and care over the last year, including Billie Jo Rowley, as well as Steve and Cindy Bratcher, Michele Clem, Sonja Vanderville and all the other loving staff at Peridot Senior Living.
The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 2, at Brown Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. Interment follows in Elizabethtown Memorial Gardens. The family also will host a reception following interment at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.
Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
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