Donna Jean Berg

By on July 23, 2014

Donna Jean Berg passed away Friday, July 18, 2014, at her home, surrounded by her family and her beautiful gardens.

Donna was born in Harvard, Ill., on Sept. 30, 1949. For years she was the only girl in the family with five brothers, until her little sister came along.

She graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 1967 and Northern Illinois University in 1974. Donna worked at NIU in the early ‘70s, taught in Aurora and then worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the early ‘80s. She lived in Illinois, Florida, Colorado, moved back to Florida and then settled in Illinois.

Bob Burkholder and Donna were married in Maui on March 1, 1985. Soon thereafter, she became what she loved most—a mother. She doted on Andrew and Jarrett. According to Donna, they had too much fun. She loved the boys and was shattered when they were killed in a car accident in March 2003.

Donna dedicated her time to a memorial website,, with almost daily updates. She shared her memories, thoughts and the great photos she took with the world on the site. Donna used any opportunity to take pictures with her many cameras, whether it was people, animals or the moon.

Donna loved the outdoors, especially if it was 82 degrees, her favorite temperature. She spent countless hours tending her gardens and mowing the lawn on her John Deere mower, which she christened “Juanita.” She loved every minute in her yard tending her plantings, which made her gardens the envy of the neighborhood.

Donna had a way with words. She loved to talk, and like her Dad, she never met a stranger. She talked to people in checkout lines, at the next table and especially on long car rides.

She was also talented with the written word. She kept journals; she sent a thoughtful note; and always remembered birthdays and special occasions with a card, a letter or flowers. She was the family historian. She kept the family archives and genealogy, and tracked births, deaths and marriages.

She is preceded in death by her two sons; Jarrett Berg Burkholder, who died March 3, 2003, and Andrew Robert Burkholder, who passed away March 5, 2003; her nephew, Charles Berg, who died July 4, 2010; and her father, Gale Burton Berg, who passed away Sept. 19, 2013.

She is survived by her husband, Robert (Bob) Burkholder; her mother, Mary Ellen (O’Malley) Berg of Casselberry, Fla.; her five brothers, Howard (Irene) Berg of Granby, Conn., Alan (Veralee) Berg of Silver City, N.M., Dennis (Avis) Berg of Rochelle, Ill., Steve (Mary) Berg of Orlando, Fla., and Ron (Liz) Berg of McHenry, Ill.; her little sister, Diane (Marc) Berg-Esterabadi of Casselberry; nieces and nephews, Gayla, Zoe, Hope, Alyssa, Jason, Chris and Patrick (Stephanie); many cousins and countless friends.

Funeral services will be held privately for the family, but a celebration of life will be held in Donna’s honor on Friday, July 25, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Elburn Lions Club, 500 Filmore St., Elburn. Beverages and appetizers will be served. Everyone who knew Donna is welcome to attend.

Services handled through the care of Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn.