17 Mar Donna Hollopeter: a Legacy of Service
Steve Dennie, Communications Director
I remember when Donna Hollopeter joined the Global Ministries staff in 1993. I immediately liked her–her vibrant personality, creativity, work ethic, and sense of humor. None of this ever let up. If Donna slowed down any, I sure didn’t see it. Her creativity and enthusiasm held strong for 22+ years.
Initially, Donna’s work focused around the Women’s Missionary Fellowship, as she interacted with WMF regional and local church groups. She helped lead them through major (and difficult) changes. In addition, her role as associate director brought her all kinds of other responsibilities and assignments over the years. Donna traveled overseas dozens of times, and organized mission trips for numerous church and college groups. She helped plan our national conference meetings and usually presented a workshop. She oversaw printing projects, dealt with government agencies to secure visas, helped train mission team leaders…and so much more.
A former school principal, Donna came to the office with a Masters degree. However, she kept learning. Early on, she learned Spanish so she could be more effective while traveling in Central America. More recently, she earned her TESOL certification from Huntington University.
For a number of years, Donna presented a very special devotional which became somewhat of a Christmas tradition in the national office. She created a peaceful, low-light atmosphere, and brought in various kinds of rolls, breads, and teas. Then, while eating, we would listen to a recording of Tom Hegg’s poem, “A Cup of Christmas Tea.” I always looked forward to it. She presented it again this past December.
Donna served under three Global Ministries directors–Kyle McQuillen, Gary Dilley, and Jeff Bleijerveld. She worked with five different bishops.
She was fun to work with. During break times, as we chatted about miscellaneous nonsense, she would make a comment that would get us all laughing (or, more likely, groaning). I’ll miss that. When she was called upon to make some kind of silly in-house presentation, you could count on it being fun and creative. She was a delightful one-of-a-kind.
For most of those years, Donna doubled as a pastor’s wife. In 1995, Jason became pastor of the UB church in Corunna, Ind. For the next 15 years, she commuted 45 minutes (one way) to the office in Huntington. After Jason retired in 2010, they bought a house in Huntington and drastically reduced their gasoline expenses.
Underlying everything was a servant’s heart. Donna labored with a tireless commitment to the work of UB missions, putting in long hours and doing whatever was asked of her. She leaves behind a strong legacy of faithful service to Christ and to the Church–a legacy which I admire, and which we can all appreciate.
Comments from Others in the National Office.
Jeff Bleijerveld, director of Global Ministries: “When Donna traveled overseas, she was always prepared to share a greeting, an update, even a song. She had a soft spot for children and was able to engage them, even across cultural and linguistic barriers. After completing her TESOL certification with Huntington University, she was able to further engage students of all ages in English language learning activities in China, Spain, Thailand, and Poland.”
Frank Y, associate director: “Donna has a sincere servant’s heart. She is always quick to notice when someone is in need or distress. When that happens, she tenderly ministers to them, whether they are overseas missionaries or locals. Here in the office, she brought humor and levity. She astounded us with her quick wit and would leave us laughing in stitches with her lightning-fast puns. When Donna was out of the office and someone shared a pun, you would hear, ‘Thank you, Donna.’”
David Kline, associate director and former UB missionary in Macau: “When Donna visited the field, you always knew she cared about you. She sought to understand our situation. Her probing questions were always designed to care about you.”
Jana Gass, Global Ministries administrative assistant: “Donna was more than just a co-worker, she was a great friend to everyone in the office. For me personally, I could always count on her to have the information that was needed when there was a question that I couldn’t answer, or to introduce me to someone in the denomination that I had not met before. Even beyond work-related things, however, she was just a true friend who would always lend a listening ear and give carefully thought out advice when needed. I am so thankful and grateful that I was able to spend the past few years working alongside Donna, and will miss her presence here in the office greatly.”
Jane Seely, national office resource manager: “I really appreciate Donna’s humor and wit. Donna loves life and appreciates all the Lord has done in her life. She was also a great encourager. She is missed.”
Cathy Reich, administrative assistant to the bishop: “I love the special connection I have with Donna. She has been an inspiration to me in so many ways. I will miss all she brought to the office. From the devotions she shared, to her passion for missions, to her fun and light spirit in and around the office, I am a richer person for having worked alongside Donna for these many years.”