April 11, 1934 – November 8, 2017
Our beloved mother, Donna Jean Thompson Brizee, passed away peacefully on November 8, 2017, surrounded by family. Donna was born April 11, 1934, in Colfax, Washington, to Oswald and Dellas Thompson. She grew up in the Palouse. She spoke often of her childhood friends and sliding down the Moscow hills in the winter, as well as going to Johnny’s café with her father for steak and milkshakes. She graduated from Moscow High School in 1952.
She then attended the University of Idaho and graduated with a B.S. in Secondary Education in 1956. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a member of the Hell Divers swimming group at U of I, which performed aquatic shows.
After graduation, she moved to Twin Falls for a Home Economics teaching position at Twin Falls High School, and met her husband to be, Dick Brizee. Donna and Dick were married on June 21, 1957. She raised five beautiful children while staying committed and true to her belief in community service. She believed that “community service is the rent you pay for the space you occupy.” In many ways, she was a pioneer for women in her many civic roles.
Donna served faithfully as a trustee of the CSI Board of Directors for more than 20 years. She believed in education and in the community college system. Donna loved the out of doors and also enjoyed her service on the Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Commission. She was instrumental in starting Christmas in the City Park. She was a long-standing member of Chapter AO, P.E.O. Sisterhood, and valued her many life-long friendships that developed from this organization.
She also served as a board member and president of the CSI Foundation, a director of the University of Idaho Alumni Board, the secretary of the Magic Valley Arts Council and was a Member of the Presbyterian Church, serving on many committees and as a Deacon. She volunteered with Festival of Trees, Urban Renewal and United Way of Magic Valley. Donna also served on the Board of Directors for the McCauly Home for Girls. She was an active member of the Twin Falls County Republican Women, and helped to bring George Bush and Ronald Reagan to Twin Falls, Idaho.
Donna loved and supported the performing arts, including ballets and musicals. She believed it was important to introduce children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to theater and dance. Her favorite music was from the Sound of Music. She also enjoyed downhill skiing, traveling, and trips to the South Hills. Donna loved people and one of her true joys was opening her home for bridge groups, holiday parties, weddings and family gatherings.
She spent many hours helping with her children’s 4-H projects, Job’s Daughters and attending their sporting events. Donna had endless cooking projects in the kitchen from canning cherries picked at Girlie’s Orchard to making chili, homemade pies and Christmas cookies. She loved to share arts and crafts with others, including macrame and tole painting. She found joy and contentment working in her beautiful yard. Later in life, she continued to be actively involved in her grandchildren’s activities, including dance recitals, scout activities, sporting events and camping excursions, especially to Redfish Lake. Donna was very proud of her children and their families and her true joy was watching their growth and development in life.
Donna was cherished by all who knew her, and will be missed dearly. She is survived by her five children, Dan Brizee (Jennifer), Deborah Brizee Budwig (Ralph), Dana Brizee, Diana Brizee Cyr, Dedra Brizee Swanstrom (Todd) as well as eight grandchildren Jennifer Gilarowski (Kris), Andrew Bemis, Jason Bemis, Kyle Swanstrom (Shelby), Conor Swanstrom, Alexandra Brizee, Samantha Brizee, Mitchell Brizee, and five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Duane Thompson (Julie) and her nieces Karen Masinter (Mike), Martha Burge, Tammie Hoke (Ron Goetz, son Travis) and Jennifer Thompson Reeves (Jim, son Riley, daughter Hailey).
Friends and family are invited to celebrate Donna’s life at 6:00 p.m., Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Stonehouse, 330 4th Ave. S., Twin Falls, with a sharing of memories at 6:30 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dick and Donna Brizee Scholarship Fund at the College of Southern Idaho, P.O. Box 1238, Twin Falls, Idaho, 83303-1238.