LaDonna “Donna” Goplen

Published 11:26 am Friday, September 29, 2023

LaDonna “Donna” Jean Goplen, a compassionate and loving soul, peacefully passed away on September 28, 2023, at the age of 83. Born on September 22, 1940 to Frank and Elizabeth (Miller) Nuzum, in Austin, MN, LaDonna was raised in the rural Lansing area, where she and her brother Gary lived with their parents.

LaDonna “Donna” Goplen

LaDonna had a thirst for knowledge and excelled academically. She attended a two-room schoolhouse until eighth grade and proudly graduated from Austin High School in 1958. Her dedication to education continued as she pursued an Associate’s Degree to become a counselor.

In 1959, LaDonna entered into a marriage with William Klingfus, and together, they welcomed four children into their lives. Though their paths diverged, LaDonna’s greatest joy came when she found true love with Harris Goplen. Recognizing their undeniable connection, LaDonna and Harris exchanged vows on September 8, 1984, at Stordahl Lutheran Church in Wanamingo, MN. They settled in Albert Lea, MN, creating a warm and loving home.

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LaDonna dedicated over three decades of her life to the field of counseling, making a significant impact as a counselor at Fountain Center in Albert Lea. Her compassionate nature and unwavering support touched the lives of countless individuals during their healing journeys.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, LaDonna was a member of the Eagles Auxiliary in Austin, MN, for an admirable fifty years. She also actively participated in the Naeve Hospital Auxiliary and found solace and support through her involvement in AA and Al-Anon.

LaDonna’s artistic abilities were evident in her joy for painting, playing the piano, and harmonizing the beautiful sounds of Christmas carols with her beloved family. A lover of dance and adventure, she delighted in day trips filled with shopping excursions and cherished memories of bus trips to Chanhassen and Disney on Ice alongside her family.

LaDonna’s profound love for her family was boundless. She took immense pride in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, always celebrating their accomplishments with overflowing joy. Her smile radiated warmth and love whenever surrounded by her beloved family. With her wise and attentive listening skills, LaDonna provided unwavering support to those she held dear.

LaDonna was sure to create a large spread of food for her family ensuring they were always well fed. Her brownies were especially renowned and savored by her entire family.

LaDonna’s devotion to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was unparalleled. She never missed an opportunity to cheer them on during their activities and proudly proclaimed that being a grandparent had brought immeasurable joy to her life. She often remarked with a twinkle in her eye, “If I had known how fun grandkids were, I would have had them first!”

LaDonna will forever be remembered as a cherished mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. Her kindness, giving nature, and feisty spirit touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Left to Cherish her memory are her children, Rhonda (Larry) Burgess and Craig Klingfus; grandchildren, Jessica (Jon) Bronson, Jernelle (Chris) Baas, Katie (Albert) McCornack, Richard (April) Klingfus, Daniel (Angela) Klingfus, Brady (Kelsey) Klingfus, and Austin Klingfus-Tesmer; great-grandchildren, Diesel, Digger, Grant, Alex, Arianna, Emma, Matilda, Ava, RJ, Kinsley, Hadley, Presley, and Emersyn; brother, Gary (Jo) Nuzum; daughters-in-law, Peggy Klingfus and Dori Klingfus-Tesmer; step-brother, Ron (Jackie) Miller; step-sister-in-law, Sandy Miller; and many nieces and nephews.

LaDonna was preceded in death by her parents, step-mother-in-law, Inez Nuzum; husband Harris in 2021; daughter, Rachelle Klingfus-Tesmer in 2023; son, Curt Klingfus in 2020; granddaughter, Jennifer Klingfus; and step-brother, Bob Miller.

In honor of LaDonna Jean Goplen’s life, a Memorial Service will be held on October 5, 2023, at 11:00 am at Bonnerup Funeral and Cremation Services in Albert Lea, MN; Pastor Ana Wilson will officiate. LaDonna’s family will greet guests at a visitation one hour and 30 minutes prior to her service at the funeral home. Interment will be later for the family members at Calvary Cemetery in Austin, MN.

May her soul find eternal peace, and may her memory continue to inspire acts of compassion and love within all of us.