Donna Scheel


Donna Scheel, 93, of Rice, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family Monday, May 22, 2023, at St. Otto’s Care Center in Little Falls. Funeral service celebrating the life of Donna was May 25 at Graham United Methodist Church. Visitation was Wednesday evening at the church as well as one hour prior to services Thursday. Her final resting place will be next to her husband, Alvin, at Graham United Methodist Cemetery.  Service with dignity provided by Foley Funeral Home.

Donna Mae Cairns was born April 13, 1930, in St. Cloud, the daughter of Walter and Laura Cairns.  She attended grade school at Garfield Elementary for grades K-6 in St. Cloud.  Donna graduated as salutatorian from Sauk Rapids High School in 1948. She worked as a bookkeeper right out of high school for Maiers Transfer and X-Cel Optical, and also started as a Car Hop at the S&S Drive-In in Little Falls. On Oct. 5, 1949, Donna was united in marriage with the love of her life, Alvin “Sweede” Scheel at Graham Church in rural Rice. After the wedding, the couple lived in a trailer in Paynesville for two years while working at their drive-in. They moved to the John Scheel farm the winter of 1951, and in March 1952, they moved into the farm house on the Walter Cairns farm. In 1963, Donna started working for Alvin and uncle Harry Thomas doing book work for the insurance agency and continued until 1990 when they sold Scheel Insurance Agency. Donna also did book work for the Farm Bureau in Foley from 1967-68.  

Donna was a member of Graham Church all of her adult life. She lovingly gave of her time and talents serving on various committees including: the Ladies’ Aid, church treasury, prayer line, and kept records for the Langola Cemetery Board. Known for her beautiful porcelain dolls and her abundant flower gardens; Donna enjoyed sharing her flowers with church members, family, and friends. Donna could easily earn the award for World’s Greatest Grandma. Her grandchildren will hold fond memories of her homemade chicken noodle soup, perfectly mashed potatoes, Grandma’s Jelly, chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream. Donna and Alvin were blessed with 73 years of marriage and they are now reunited in heaven along with Donna’s brothers, Clayton and William Cairns; Donna’s parents; and other special family members.

Donna is survived by her children:  Sheryl (Clifford) Weitgenant of Rice, Karen (Steve) Hovanes of Sartell, Kevin (Ann) Scheel of Rice, and Lori (Tom) Slowinski of New Auburn, Wisconsin;  grandchildren: Joel, Sarah, Kayla, Adam, Michael, Matthew, Anthony, Alex, Abbey, Sean and Shannon; 19 great-grandchildren; sister, Mary Denchfield; as well as other relatives and friends. 

Memorials preferred to donor’s choice.