Donna Lee (Bilon) Moyer
Donna Lee (Bilon) Moyer died peacefully on August 20, 2022 with family at her side. She was born July 16, 1929 in Grand Island, NE to Dr. E.E. and Peg (Jensen) Bilon. Donna was raised in Grand Island, graduating from Grand Island Senior High where her love of art began. She continued her education at Stephens College in Missouri, and then completed her bachelor's degree in Home Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The couple has five children: Craig and Jane Moyer of Knoxville TN, Bob Moyer of Arizona, Sam and Mindy Moyer of Aurora, Matt and Karen Moyer of Omaha, and Sara and Steve Arnett of Wood River. "Nana" aka "Nanette" thoroughly enjoyed her grandchildren: Scott Moyer (CA), Tom Moyer (CO), Anna Grubb (TN), the late Townsend Culpepper (TN); Chris Moyer (AZ), Steven Moyer (FL) and Michelle Moyer (NY); Emily Jasnowski (Aurora), Cam Moyer (Hastings) and Tess Moyer Gutman (Omaha); Drew Moyer (Omaha), Alexa Wooster (Omaha), Tate Moyer (CA), Nichole Franklin (Lincoln), and Alexandra Rieke (Lincoln); Maggie Arnett (Grand Island), Knox Arnett (Holdrege) and Cole Arnett (Wayne). Seeing any of her 9 great-grandchildren was a treat. The family recently gathered to celebrate Nana's 93rd birthday which brought her great joy! She sincerely appreciated the many birthday cards from old friends as well.
It was at UNL that she met Charles E. "Chick" Moyer and their life journey began. The couple married May 11, 1951 following her graduation from UNL, and made their first home together in Grand Island. In June of 1952 Chick learned that the bank was for sale in Wood River, which seemed like the perfect opportunity. With their savings plus financing from her parents and the First National Bank in Lincoln, they purchased the bank and moved to Wood River. Chick worked long hours to grow the business. Donna stayed at home to raise the children but also developed a deep love for the Wood River community. She was affectionately known as "The Flower Lady", creating beautiful gardens at the Library Park, First United Methodist Church, and the bank. Her true love was the garden she designed and tended surrounding the family home. What began as a large grassy yard eventually was taken over by flower beds and brick pathways; the garden was her favorite place to spend the day. Laughingly, she described herself as a "professional weed puller".
Donna and Chick enjoyed travel and spent winters in Arizona for many years where, naturally, she created a garden oasis as well. Her inner artist led to creation of countless beaded Christmas ornaments over the years as well as beautiful needlepoint, pencil drawings and paintings. Donna helped found the Wood River Community Centennial Foundation and remained an ardent supporter of the Foundation's great work locally. For many years, she made an annual gift recognizing a community member who had gone above and beyond to help build Wood River. Donna did extensive research into the history of the Wood River area, interviewing many old-timers in the 1970's and 80's to record their personal stories. In recent years, Donna and Sara shared a special passion for Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center, always asking for updates and how she could help. Donna may be remembered for her gift to the Foundation that has made the Celebrate Wood River Performing Arts series and free arts and humanities entertainment for all central Nebraskans possible. While her health allowed, she could be found in the audience clapping along and even leading a dance down the aisle to a rousing brass band rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In", which brought much joy and laughter to all.
The story of Donna Moyer's life centered around family, gardening, laughter, history, art, reading inquisitively, watching NET television and engaging in community building. Her wishes were for cremation and no services. Instead, friends are invited to an informal celebration of her life on Saturday, September 3rd from 9-11 am in her garden. A short remembrance will occur at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Wood River Foundation.