School 07

Donna Eckhoff

February 3, 1931 ~ May 26, 2022 (age 91)

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Donna K. Eckhoff

February 3, 1931 – May 26, 2022



Donna Kathleen Eckhoff of Tacoma, age 91, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 26, 2022. Donna was born to John and Marie Sitzman on February 3, 1931 and grew up in a Christian farming family in Park City, Montana. The Sitzmans were faithful members of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Park City where Donna was baptized, confirmed and married.


She had a lifelong love of music, growing accomplished enough as a high schooler to play piano and organ in Sunday church services. Donna also played the French horn for her junior high and high school bands. Donna studied elementary education and left Montana to teach first grade at Concordia Lutheran School in Tacoma. In 1952, Donna returned home for the summer. It happened that Ray Eckhoff was fulfilling a summer internship, serving several rural churches nearby. After meeting Donna, Ray asked her if she would play the piano for the worship services he led. For three months, Ray drove Donna each Sunday to Columbus, Hardin and other small communities. They were married in 1954 and began a 46-year partnership of ministry in Edgemont and Murdo, South Dakota and Tacoma, Washington— Ray preaching, teaching and evangelizing, and Donna playing piano and organ and directing church choirs.


When Ray left Zion Lutheran Church in 1976 to become the chaplain of the Tacoma Seafarer’s Center - a ministry of care and evangelism to seafarers who arrived at the port from all over the world - Donna began a long career as a secretary for doctors in private medical practice. During those years, Donna continued to play piano and direct choirs, most recently at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Gig Harbor. She loved to encourage young musicians and often included them in the music for worship services. Donna also served for many years as a board member of the Tacoma Seafarer's Center. 


Donna was preceded in death by her husband Ray in November, 2000; her sister Betty, and brother John. She is survived by her daughters Cheryl (Armin) Jahr and Kathy (Richard) Hannula; grandchildren Armin (Christa) Jahr, Heidi (Andy) Narvesen,  Aeron (Emely) Jahr, Teri (Luke) VanVuren, Kelly (Caleb) Gutierrez, John Hannula, Kimberly Hannula and Marie (Travis) Krick ; and great grandchildren Ada and Pepin Jahr, Harald and Wally Narvesen, Nathan, Anna, Timothy and Lydia VanVuren and Josiah and Aaliyah Gutierrez. Other survivors include sister Lil Weschenfelder and brother Walt (Bonnie) Sitzman and many nieces and nephews.


Her memorial worship service will be held on June 2 at 3:30 pm at Faith Presbyterian Church, 620 S. Shirley St., Tacoma, WA 98465. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Tacoma Seafarer’s Center, 1118 Port of Tacoma Rd, Tacoma, WA 98421.

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Memorial Service
June 2, 2022

3:30 PM
Faith Presbyterian Church
620 South Shirley Street
Tacoma, WA 98465

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