Donna Jean (Olds) Steffe

September 15, 1925 ~ September 3, 2019 (age 93)


Donna Jean Steffe passed away on September 3, 2019 in San Diego, California.

Born September 15, 1925 on a farm in Butler, Indiana to James Ernest Olds and Clarissa Cordelia Olds. She was the youngest of four surviving girls. In 1942, Donna’s senior year of high school, the family sold the farm and moved to town. Donna loved this special house with indoor plumbing and heat, and lived to see this become a home for five generations of the Olds family.

In the midst of WWII, while Donna was keeping the books for Marshall’s Garment Factory in Butler, she met a local Army Air Corp pilot, Don Steffe, who was home on leave. As Don shipped out to Europe via New York, he sent her the sheet music to the song, “Always” by Irwin Berlin along with a persuasive personal message. Marriage followed in 1945.

Family life began in Angola, Indiana while Don finished college. A trailer park, home to seven other college couples, housed their 12 foot trailer. The first two daughters, Terrie and Jacque, were born during the college years.

The Steffes then moved to Litchfield, Michigan where two more daughters were born, Peggy and Jayne. During this time Donna was active in the Methodist church, volunteered on election committees, and typed articles for The Gazette paper. In 1961, following Don’s engineering career, the family moved to La Mesa, California where son, Joseph, was born. The family then moved to San Jose, California, where they remained for many years until returning to El Cajon, California for retirement. 

Donna loved her family, church, her piano, books, and fashion with all its accessories. She loved her part time jobs that allowed her to provide little extras for the family. Jobs came easily as Donna’s poise, gracious personality and superb organization skills were undeniable strengths. She was especially proud of her years working in Silicone Valley as an administrative assistant to a group of engineers with Four Phase and Motorola.

During her lifetime Donna endured multiple hardships and loss of family. She persevered with faith, courage, and determination.

Donna was predeceased by husband, Don, daughters, Jacque and Jayne, and son, Joseph.  

Survived by daughters, Terrie and husband James Harrell II, MD, and Peggy and husband Ernest Hintz, numerous devoted grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

A memorial  service will take place in on November 16, 2019 at 11:00 at the Butler Church of Christ, 173 West Oak Street, Butler, Indiana 46721.  

Internment will follow at the Butler Cemetery in Butler, Indiana. 

Condolences can be sent to the family at

Arrangements have been entrusted to Feller and Clark Funeral Home of Auburn.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Jean (Olds) Steffe, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
November 16, 2019

11:00 AM
Butler Church of Christ
173 W Oak Street
Butler, IN 46721

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