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Donna Faye Ward (Hollenbeck), 89

Donna Faye Ward (Hollenbeck), 89, passed away peacefully at her home in Woodstock on Nov. 23, 2020, of natural causes. 

She was born on the family farm on Christmas Eve 1930 and was the oldest of the four Hollenbeck girls. Her parents were Luella (Schmidt) and George W. Hollenbeck who had a fruit and vegetable stand on Route 173 outside of Hebron during the Great Depression. She attended grade and high school in Hebron, Ill., and graduated from Hebron High School in 1948. In 1950 she married her high school sweetheart, James Clement Ward, who was drafted and served in Korea for the next two years. After discharge, they moved to Woodstock and started careers and a family. 

Donna was a presence on the Square for over 30 years. She worked at Wien’s and managed Bate’s Smartwear, both tailored dress shops on the Square. She was an assistant to both pharmacists on the Square (Bob Gibson and Bruce Kelly) and managed The Habersham Plantation in Crystal Lake. Later, she worked for Follett Industries in McHenry and ended her career delivering the Northwest Herald paper to many people here in Woodstock. 

She also volunteered her time at the McHenry County Defenders, Home of the Sparrow, and anywhere else she could find something to keep her busy. Vacations were spent in our youth at Devils Lake. She and our Dad enjoyed Biloxi and South Padre Island, and after he was gone (’78), she would go to Cocoa Beach annually with Kelly and Randy and her grandkids for “Grandma’s Vacation.” She was an avid reader of crime mysteries by several different authors. She loved her cats and feeding the squirrels at home and the geese at the city park. Her neighbors will remember her by the corn growing in their yards.

She is survived by her children, Michael Curtis Ward and Kelly (Randy) Redemske; her sisters, Maxine Hollenbeck and Jorga (James) Stewart. She was so proud of her four grandchildren, Jenna and Ryan Redemske and Chloe and Leah Ward, as well as many nieces and nephews, Kitty, Shawn (Jolyn), Scott (Gail) and Mike (Teresa) LeBaron, Teresa (Marty) Shaw, Carrie Harper, and Penny (Lee) Bowser.

She is preceded in death by her husband; her younger sister, Cody LeBaron; and her 3-year-old granddaughter, Molly Anne Redemske, who is now again on her Grandma’s lap; along with many many cats.

Services will be held at the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock. A limited visitation service will be held there on Dec. 5, 2020. from 10 a.m. to noon. A family service will be held at noon. Interment will be private. The family understands any reservations about coming out and wishes everyone peace and good health in trying times. Please consider making a memorial donation in lieu of flowers to Helping Paws in Woodstock or McHenry County Defenders as she loved all animals and books.

For more information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710, or visit

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