Donna T. Overlien

Date of Death: Nov 13, 2021
Donna T. Overlien

1928 - 2021

Donna T. (Sims) Overlien, age 93, passed from this life to the next on November 13, 2021 at the Waupun Christian Home.

Donna was born July 12, 1928 on the family farm near Melrose, Wisconsin, to Orley and Gladys (Stoker) Sims. She attended the West Indies School, but in the 4th grade transferred to the Town Creek School. Donna graduated from Black River Falls High School in 1945, where she was involved in Choir, Band, and was a soloist with the Blue Baronets dance band. Following high school, Donna attended secretarial school in Minneapolis, where she worked for her room and board. Back home, she did bookkeeping for a local veterinarian and hardware store. In September of 1947 Donna married Calmer Overlien at Little Norway Lutheran Church in Black River Falls and they began life together on the Overlien farm in Irving. Donna was kept busy over the years, tending four sons, as well as helping on the farm and serving as organist at Little Norway Church. The Overliens moved to Elmwood in 1959, where Calmer became licensed pastor of the Elmwood and Rock Elm Methodist Churches. They remained there seven years, during which time Calmer earned his college degree and then completed schooling at Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul. Donna gave piano lessons, having as many as 30 students at one time. Calmer and Donna went on to serve churches in the New Lisbon-Necedah-Camp Douglas charge, Forest Junction-Rural Brillion charge, Our Master’s Madison and Mondovi-Gilmanton. While in New Lisbon, daughter Kari Beth arrived and completed their family. Calmer and Donna often sang duets and as the children grew, they joined in. Known for their excellent performances, they recorded an album titled “The Parsonage Family”. In 1989, Cal and Donna moved to their log home near Black River Falls and stayed involved in ministry at their church during retirement. Donna enjoyed many volunteer activities through UMW, Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers and Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. In 2003 Donna was honored to receive the “Jackson County Women in History” award. Donna lived out her unshakable faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She served the church and supported her husband’s ministry, she created a warm and happy home, and she taught her children to love Jesus. She was so very proud of her 5 children and their spouses, 16 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Donna is survived by her children: Dennis (Sesaly), Clay (Anne), Kal (Kay), Blake (Dinah) and Kari (Kurt) Acker; and three generations of grandchildren.

Donna was preceded in death by her husband, Calmer, in 1996; her parents; a sister, Marion Kersting and brother-in-law, Harold Kersting; and an infant son, Chris Eric.


A private family burial will take place at Little Norway Lutheran Church at a later date.



  1. Your Mom and Dad were such inspirational servants of the Lord, I think of them often and smile.
    My condolences To You All.

  2. AS one of her many piano students and, I hope, friend, I will always remember her. She was ALWAYS a lady–not easy to do with the 4 sons!! And she made sure the boys remembered their manners (“Say hello.”). A long and blessed life was lived. May God hug you all as you grieve for your temporary loss.

  3. Verlyn Harr Says: November 16, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Family of Donna Overlien,
    Grace and Peace at this time.
    Relax in the presence of the Shepherd
    who leads us through the dark valley.

    Verlyn Harr

  4. Berta Parker Says: November 16, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    I was sad to see the announcement of the passing of your mother. Your family was a true joy to work with when I was at Oak Park Place. My sincere condolences to you all.

  5. Donna was a very dear friend from the time they moved to New Lisbon, and ever since!! She was loved by all I’m sure. We spent many hours together, and not just for church “stuff”. She will be missed!

  6. Matthew Schwall Says: November 17, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Dennis, I am SO sorry for your(and your entire family’s) loss.
    Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers!
    Matt(used to be from Don’s Auto).

  7. Dear Pastor Blake my heartfelt condolences to you and yours. I had the privilege of knowing Donna while serving BRF UMC.

    She was a very loving and caring person and I remember her taking me and wife to a garage sale and buying my spouse a Rocking chair when she was pregnant with my twin boys.

    I did visit her once after I was moved from BRF and enjoyed her company. praying for her soul to Rest In Peace.
    .pastor Aaron

  8. Wayne and Carole Says: November 19, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Our heartfelt prayers to the whole family.
    We never Met Donna personally or had a conversation but Hearing stories for years about her and her husband and meeting a few of her sons has left a great impression of faith and love of her for her creator and family. I firmly believe she is in a state of ecstasy with family, Christian brethren and in the presence of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
    God bless and keep each and everyone of you in the palm of his hands for ever and ever.

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