was born on 2 June 1899 at Springdale Twp., Dane Co., Wisconsin
. She was the daughter of John Sweet Donald
and Vona DeCrow
. Delma Donald married James Gelston Woodburn
, son of James Albert Woodburn
and Caroline Louisa Gelston
, in 1923. Delma Donald died on 8 November 2001 at Madison, Dane Co., Wisconsin
, at age 102. She was New Tag Obituary found at: http://www.mounthoreb.org/PT2_02Delma.html
"Delma Donald Woodburn
Delma Donald Woodburn, at age 102 and a half, passed away at her Madison home Nov. 8, 2001. Born June 2, 1899 in Springdale Township to John Sweet Donald and Vona DeCrow Donald, she spent her early years on the farm which her great-grandparents, the Rev. James Donald and Margaret Strong Donald, established in 1855. A self-described "tomboy" who loved outdoor play, climbing the farm's huge oaks, getting together with neighbor kids, playing with her dog, and tending her favorite pony, "Flashlight," whom she named after its invention, Delma attended grade school at the nearby Malone School. The young girl's job each Saturday was to clean the farm home's many lamps and chimneys, help card horse hair for mattresses and, when old enough, tend the livestock. Delma spoke often of the early deaths of her only siblings, Robert, who lived for just a few weeks in 1901, and especially her sister Dora, born June 3, 1903, who lived six months.
Raised in a politically active household, throughout her life Delma carried on her mother's and grandmother's tradition of chronicling family accomplishments by telling short stories and writing notes to preserve alongside their personal artifacts. Her father's involvement as Springdale Township assessor in 1892 led to a stint as Town Chairman on the Board of Supervisors from 1899 to 1902. In state politics he served in the Assembly from 1902 to 1907, the Senate from 1908 to 1911, and spent two terms as Secretary of State from 1912 to 1916. These were the years of Progressive legislation and Delma recalled visits from such political notables as Robert and Belle Case LaFollette and the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Her mother, Vona, was interested in the causes of the day, including the Women's Christian Temperance Union(W.C.T.U.) and progressive ideas on rural education which she championed while at the farm and later after the family's move in 1917 to 211 Prospect Avenue in Madison. In 1918 Delma's father withdrew his candidacy for the U.S. Congress to serve in France as an A.E.F. Secretary for the Y.M.C.A. After the armistice he remained with the Army Educational Corps in France, organizing classes in agriculture for the boys in the Army of Occupation. When John returned he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture as a farm management expert. In 1920, at age 21, Delma voted in the first election for which women had achieved this right.
Delma spent her high school years at Madison and was one of the first graduates of Wisconsin High School. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1921. As part of her studies she was employed by Marshall Fields of Chicago where, among other duties, she walked the sales floor wearing new lines of gingham fabrics as a living model. Delma's future husband James G. Woodburn was visiting her Prospect Avenue neighbor when she met him and, as she recalled, "found him interesting." They were married in her family's living room under a canopy of live foliage in December 1923. James's career as a professor of civil and hydraulic engineering took them to Pullman, Wash. from 1924 to 1926 and from 1930 to 1937. They lived in Ann Arbor, Mich. from 1927 until 1929 and in Germany from 1929 to 1930. Amid these moves Delma studied home economics for a semester at Indiana University in 1924 and earned a degree in a farm short course at the UW College of Agriculture from 1938 until 1940. She also gave birth to two sons, James Donald Woodburn in 1925 and Robert Donald Woodburn in 1928. In 1937 Delma and James moved into the family home at 211 Prospect. James passed away in 1980.
Never one to sit idle, after her father died in 1934 Delma assisted her mother in the maintenance of their three contiguous farms in Springdale, including the one on which she was born, as places to give young farmers a start. She continued to oversee the Vernon Valley Farms, eventually with the aid of her sons and grandchildren, throughout her life. Delma participated and held office in many organizations she loved: Wisconsin Friends of Our Native Landscape, Wisconsin Roadside Council (president), Madison Civic Club, Dane County Historical Society (founder and president), Historic Madison (honorary member), Farm Bureau, American Women in Agriculture, Wisconsin Women for Agriculture, Gentlemen Farmers, University League, University Y.W.C.A. Board of Directors, Daughters of the American Revolution, New England Women, Wisconsin Alumni Association, and Zeta Phi Eta Honorary Speech Society. Area residents knew Delma best through her involvement as a life member in the Friends of Donald Park and the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society.
The Donald Park Friends group emerged after Delma and her family contributed some of their farmland to Dane County for a park near Mt. Vernon, which the County has subsequently expanded. From around the United States, Delma's family remains actively involved in the Friends group, which in recent years has volunteered its assistance with projects to expedite the park's opening to the public.
During the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society's founding years Delma offered items for garage sales, attended many programs, and spoke at the dedication of the Old Town marker in 1983. One of the first annual meetings took place at the Donald Farmstead, which Society president Brian Bigler worked with Delma to have placed on the National Register of Historic Places not once, but twice - first for history and most recently for architecture. The Society has counted on Delma to supply the unique for any exhibit: the mourning dresses her mother and grandmother wore at her siblings' funerals, her father's local political materials, a horse-drawn carriage to illustrate the exhibit of Alvah Webber's 1899 area photographs, and items from her Scottish ancestors for our current "Ethnic Evolution" exhibit. In 1996, at age 97, she drove herself from Madison to Mt. Horeb for the grand opening of the new Mt. Horeb Area Museum. Through the years Delma also contributed money and stock, kicking off many of the Society's fundraisers, including those which have enabled us to acquire and remodel the museum. For Delma's hundredth birthday the Society planted a maple on her family farm in honor of her many contributions. Not to be upstaged, Delma offered yet one more artifact to the Society on this day - the 1890 horse-drawn carriage that the family had restored for this milestone occasion.
A memorial service was held Nov. 25 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, whose tower is visible from her home's upper windows. Delma is survived by her two sons, James and his wife Merle of California and Robert and his wife Nancy of Minnesota. There are four grandchildren, James Jr. and his wife Leigh, John, Mary and her husband Anthony Miller, and William and his wife Carrie. Delma also enjoyed her seven great-grandchildren and two step-granddaughters.
The family suggests that memorials may be made to the Friends of Donald Park and to the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society."
In November 2001.