Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Donna  Ellingson – Spencer Memorial
Donna  Ellingson – Spencer Memorial

Donna Ellingson – Spencer

Donna Ellingson – Spencer

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Donna May Ellingson – Spencer, age 73, passed away peacefully on May 4, 2021 after a short battle with cancer. She was born May 11, 1947 in Everett, Washington to Neil Ellingson and Alice (Gray) Ellingson, one of four children. All three of her daughters were able to be with her in the last few days of her life.

Donna was preceded in death by her son, Clifford Richard Lefler; her father, Neil Bert Ellingson; her husband, John Spencer; her younger sister, Linda Kay Leone.

Donna is survived by her mother, Alice Gray Ellingson; two sisters, Sue Osborn and Bonnie Abbasi; her three daughters, Sherrie Marie Fox (married to Brian Fox), Tammy Sue Sanders (married to Anthony Sanders), Connie Lorainne Lefler. Donna was a wonderful grandmother and great grandmother to eight grandchildren, Matthew Koenig, Donny Justin Koenig (married to Kelsey), Chelsea Koenig, Zachari Brown, Jedidiah Brown, Shawna Sanders, Karin Torbenson, and Clifford Maxwell Lefler and to ten great grandchildren, Hadley Grace Koenig, Paisley Koenig, Marshall Justin Koenig, Emily Rindal, Elliot Koenig, Ophelia Mae Govern, Jaden Brown, Kemper Brown, and Zoe Brown.

A memorial for Donna was held on May 8, 2021 in a celebration of life in Sedro Woolley. Donations can be made in her memory to Alger Community Hall, 17835 Parkview Lane, Burlington, WA 98233.

Donna began her life as a beautiful baby coming into this world with rich black curly hair, a sign she was unique and destined to become a boisterous and gregarious little girl who would not let anything discourage her. Before even starting school, she was a neighborhood socialite who would often sit down and have tea in the kitchens of mothers of the children she made fast friends with. This while her sisters were off playing with dolls. When Donna and her sisters went to their grandmother’s house in the summers in Everett, Donna preferred to sit and chat with her grandmother while her sisters went off with their Uncle Lee to the playground to swing and help him find treasures.

Donna was gutsy and ready to try anything. When her grandmother would take Donna and her sisters to her lake property on Lake Stevens, Donna was the one who was the first to head to the dock and jump into swim or the one who was bravest to go out in the rowboat while her sisters sat on the dock dangling their feet in the water.

Donna grew up faster than her sisters, even her oldest one. She was into appearance and as early as third grade would fix her hair every day before going to school. She was the beautiful one. She liked to perform and was an achiever. She taught herself to swim at a very young age and being a tease, would taunt her sisters who were afraid of the water. She always outdid her sisters singing onstage when putting on Bluebird and Brownie performances. She went on to be a very talented singer and later in life performed with her first husband, Cliff, at many venues where he and his band played.

This social side of Donna rewarded her with many friends of all ages throughout her life. The gregarious side of her made her an achiever taking on adventures few others would. She was a truck driver, a bus driver, a well-liked waitress and bartender. Later in life, she was a member of the VFW Auxiliary Drill Team going on trips with her mother, a fellow VFW member, traveling to cities throughout the country to march in parades and to party at night. These trips built a strong bond between her and her mother. Many thought they were sisters because of their camaraderie and the fact they both looked so much alike.

Donna was always up to something and if nothing exciting was happening, she found a way to make excitement happen.

In1964, Donna and her family moved into a newly built house on Lake Samish. This was not easy for Donna being such a social butterfly as the lake was several miles from Bellingham, where she and her sisters grew up and went to school. One night out of boredom, she talked her sisters, Linda and Susie, into making random phone calls to people just for fun. One resulted in a young guy picking up the phone who happened to be looking for a date being it was a Friday night. Donna talked to him and it wasn’t long before he showed up at the house with two of his friends and took Donna and her sisters on a triple date! All these guys wanted to do was park somewhere but Susie, the practical sister, told them they had to take them bowling. Another time Donna wanted to go to a party in town. Her parents were not home and her older sister, Susie, was not around to take her to the party. No matter Donna did not have a driver’s license. She hopped into a car and headed to town! When she came back from town, it was snowing, and she drove the car into a ditch. The neighbors had to help her out. Yes, Donna had gusto!

After graduating from high school, Donna married Cliff Lefler on November 5,1965 in the living room of the Lake Samish house (this following the marriage of her younger sister, Linda, in the same spot just a month before). She was then swept into a life of motherhood raising four children living in Bellingham while they were young. When her children were a little older, a move was made to Port Angeles where they lived for several years before moving back.

Donna did have some rough times while raising her children but, in the end, there was nothing that would stop her from being the best mother she was able to be for them. She grew with them and they with her and gave her many years of joy as they moved on to have children of their own. She loved each and every one of their children even with some of them moving too far away for her to see as often as she would have liked. She never stopped being a socialite as can be attested by her many, many friends. She enjoyed both friend and family get-togethers and parties immensely and was very attached to her community. She became an avid supporter, and organizer for Alger Community Hall spearheading many of their projects. She loved to cook and her reputation as a cook for the Alger Tavern is well known. She loved flowers and had a bounty of them in her own yard as well as at the tavern. Her love for those flowers made them vibrant, healthy, and huge. She also started her own business several years ago first as a house sitter then as a pet sitter wherein she found great joy in caring for people’s pets in their homes be it dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, or any other kind of pet.

Donna’s presence will be enormously missed and will make for a huge hole in her family’s lives, in her friend’s lives and in her community.  Share your memories of Donna and sign the online guest register.


  • Valerie Clardy

    I knew Donna in my teens as she was a classmate of my older sister. And again when she first started having her children. She was a sweet woman. RIP Miss Donna. Girls you were very lucky to have her as your Mom.

  • Patti Dalrymple

    Excellent obituary for one of my favorite cousins. And what Susie said is so true. Your laugh will be in my memories forever, hearing it made me laugh even if I wasn’t laughing before.
    I’ll miss you so much Donna. Give my love to my mom, your dad, Billy and of course Sonny. I’m sure they all greeted you with open arms.

  • Sue Osborn


    The last time I was able to talk to you on the phone, you were upbeat and positive even with what you were going through. You were laughing and your laugh will always stay with me because it is YOUR laugh, your very own unique hallmark laugh that speaks Donna through and through. I will miss you in so many other ways but your laugh is not gone, it is here with me. I love you.