Donna Mae Murdock Brown, age 87, died peacefully at home in Boise, Idaho, on July 15th, 2021, after her favorite meal; a bacon cheeseburger, fries made from Idaho potatoes, and her third Diet Coke of the day. She got her wish and went to bed one night and never woke up. She was greeted on the other side by her beloved husband of 57 years, Lloyd Elison Brown, who preceded her in death in 2006. She joins her mother, Hannah May Sorenson, father, Harvey John Murdock, sisters Beverly Murdock Webster & Jill "Johanna" Murdock Riddle, and her great-grandson Jaden Bonnet, whom she loved dearly, and countless other loved ones.
Donna leaves behind a whole lot of stuff, memories, and unlabeled photos of long departed family members for her kids and grandkids to dig through and they have no idea what to do with most of it. Donna was a dedicated sister to her younger brothers Jack Murdock of Twin Falls, Idaho, who called her to listen to the same stories over and over again each week, but loved her so, and Joe Murdock of Nampa, Idaho, the best Special Olympian brother a sister could ever have. She was a caring mother to Scott Lloyd Brown & wife Anne of Boise, Vickie Lee Brown Kramer & husband Dave of San Juan Capistrano, California, Cynthia D. Brown Eggleston & husband Greg of Meridian, Idaho, and Steven Charles Brown & wife Lisa of Marysville, Washington. Her kids were her everything, the most important people in her life, second only to her husband & her hair dressers who she saw every single Friday since 1952. Donna was just Grandma Brown or Gam Bown or GG to her 73 grandchildren, step-grands, and great-grandchildren in whom she saw so much hope, talent, goodness, and pride.
Donna was born at home in Blackfoot, Idaho in the early days of the Great Depression, it shaped who she was and is probably the reason she saved literally everything. She worked in her parent’s family store, J&H Grocery where she learned to stock shelves, swear, and bribe her boyfriends with candy bars so they’d do her homework. She was baptized into the LDS Church by her uncle and remained active in the Church throughout her life. She was surrounded by her young aunts & uncles from the Sorenson & Murdock sides of the family which solidified in her a lasting sense of duty to family and her faith. She never failed to remind us how special those days were in that once sleepy Mormon farming town where everyone knew everyone, or was related to them, or married into the family. She loved to talk and tell us the stories of her life and her adventures, her family and their achievements. We heard those stories so often most of us could finish them for her, which she hated, but was always good for a laugh. She found love early and was married to her Lloyd, just a few weeks before her 16th birthday. They were sealed for time & eternity in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.
Lloyd & Donna started their family in Blackfoot where Scott, Vickie, and Cindy were born, where she worked as a telephone operator and at Kesler’s Market, and where Lloyd continued farming, dairy work, and construction. Soon they were enticed into moving to Hemet, California to help Lloyd’s cousin build houses in the bustling post-war suburban expansion. In 1962 they moved their young family to the warm weather of southern California, to new opportunities, the beach, and to build a life together. Soon Steven was born to make an even two boys and two girls.
Donna was dedicated to giving her children the best life possible and soon went to work as a Realtor. She developed a passion for interior design and shopping, which she definitely passed on. Donna never forgot the importance of having fun and letting loose. More than once she caught her kids ditching school and instead of a punishment they got to go shopping, go out for a meal with mom, or for an adventure. Together, Donna & Lloyd taught their children the importance of faith, family, and the blessings afforded them in this great country. She demonstrated her faith through service and Church callings including Primary President & Young Women President.
As their children began to leave home, find their spouses, and start their own lives and families, Donna was able to travel with her husband, their friends, and other members of the family. She loved to tell the stories of their cruises, their trip to South America, and the months on end of caravanning around North America. While she loved seeing the world, nothing brought her greater joy than being with her family. As time passed they felt called to serve an LDS mission. They served their mission together on the Navajo Reservation in the New Mexico, Albuquerque Mission where they saw firsthand the importance of humanitarian work and service. Though interrupted by health issues, they wanted to complete their mission and served the remainder in the California, Carlsbad Mission.
Family was greatly important to Donna and she was never happier than when surrounded by her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids or shopping a clearance sale at Macy’s, it’s kind of a toss up. In 2003 they decided to move closer to family and return to Idaho. They built their last home together just a few miles from more than half their posterity. Grandma was so happy to be back in Idaho, closer to family and the life they knew together. She loved the wildlife and nature of her native Idaho and surrounded herself with the pines, lilacs, and wildflowers of home. She spent most summers at the family cabin in Island Park just taking in the beauty of it all, trying to read a book, playing with the grandkids, or judging skiers as they passed the dock. They’d automatically get a “0” if they got her hair wet. She was always happy to babysit, spoil, tease, and teach.
After losing the love of her life Donna’s faith & family sustained her, as did her Diet Coke. She was so proud of her family and bragged to anyone who would listen about their seemingly endless accomplishments, skills, and activities. She spent her time writing cards, calling her children & grandkids, crocheting blankets for the newest born, feeding the birds, visiting family in California & Idaho, and reorganizing the pantry. Creating a warm and inviting home was her lifelong quest down to her final moments. She spent her last days with her grandson at home making memories together.
She left behind a letter to her children saying: “I'm so proud to be their mother, their mom. The Lord has truly blessed me with how special each one has been. I believe in our eternal family and that we will all be together again in the hereafter."
Donna was a breast cancer survivor, a proud Democrat, and once upon a time the best Progressive Rummy player in the west. Her memories of family and their eternal life together would remain her greatest priority. As Alzheimer’s began to take its hold on her she fought hard to remember her family first. Throughout her home were notes reminding her of the names, dates, and special occasions of each of her family members. She loved them all so much. Donna’s last words were, “I’m just so lucky.”
Everyday was a gift, every meeting with family a cherished memory, every present a souvenir of a loved one’s kindness, every conversation with a dear friend a precious story to be shared with all, every outing with her grandkids & great-grandkids a chance to see her legacy thrive. Her gift to the world was her joy and we will miss her dearly.
Friends, family, and all those who loved Donna are welcome to pay their respects at her viewing and funeral on Thursday, August 5th at the LDS Chapel at 5645 S Maple Grove Road, in Boise, Idaho.
The viewing will be held at 10:00am immediately preceding the funeral at 11:00am.
Donna will be interred with her darling husband Lloyd, at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
To send flowers to Donna's family, please visit our floral store.