Donna J. Widerberg, age 78, of Elgin, passed away at home on August 27, 2020. She was born July 23, 1942 in DeKalb, IL to her parents, Charles L. Coan and Helen K. McLean (Mavis).

Donna graduated from DeKalb High School, Class of 1960, earned her Nursing degree from Rockford Memorial School of Nursing in 1964, B.S. Degree in Medical Arts from College of St. Francis in 1980, and her Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University in 1998.

Donna had an accomplished healthcare career. She served as Unit Director for the Elgin Mental Health Center’s Adolescent Unit from 1964 to 1980. She then became Nursing Administrator for St. Joseph Hospital’s Psych Ward from 1984 to 1988. She ended her career caring for children as a School Nurse for District U-46 from 1991 to 2011.

Donna was married to Willard B. Widerberg on January 23, 1965. They shared 52 years of marriage together before his passing in 2017. Donna’s dream of becoming a mother was fulfilled later in life, when her son Ryan was born in 1986.

Loved ones will remember Donna as a voice of reason with a warm, listening ear for anyone going through difficult times.  Her warmth and easy-going personality were complimented by her honesty and direct nature. In all situations, she had a knack for finding a positive outlook.

Donna loved to read, play cards, and travel.  After retirement, she volunteered at the library and read to residents at local nursing homes.

She was also a talented vocalist who enjoyed singing. In 1960, she won 1st Place in the State of Illinois for her vocal rendition of Ave Maria, and later in life she performed with a local women’s choir.

Spending time with loved ones always brought joy to her heart. Above all else, she wanted her friends and family to know how much they meant to her, cherishing the love between them always.

Donna was preceded in death by her loving husband, Willard B. Widerberg.

Donna is survived by her beloved son, Ryan Widerberg; sisters Judy Tolf (Coan), Pam Coan, and Charlene Coan; uncle Earl Mavis; and nieces and nephews Michelle Gribble (Tolf), Renae Anderson (Tolf), Jennifer Barrett, Art Weber, and Colin Ullmark.

The family gives special gratitude to Donna’s lifelong friend, Vada England, and hospice nurse Barbara Tomaszewski.

Visitation will be 3:00p.m. until  5:00p.m. Friday September 4, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St., Elgin IL 60120.  Private funeral service will be at 5:30p.m, Pastor Joshua Free officiating.  To access the funeral service remotely, loved ones are encouraged to log on safe from home via (Meeting ID: 919 9163 7628, Password: 983841).

Interment will be private.

Mourners are encouraged to review the funeral home COVID-19 public health policies ahead of time. Facemasks are required to enter the facility.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Donna’s name to Solace Hospice, 650 E. Devon Ave, Itasca, IL 60143.

For more information call 847-741-1128 or visit

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