Donna Dee Babby
Donna Dee was born on January 18, 1941, in Prairie County, Montana, to Rudolf and Leafie Ulrich, who were lifelong farmers and ranchers. Donna was the third of their five children. To the surprise of her parents and the doctor, Donna was immediately followed by her twin brother Donald. She attended school in Terry and later moved to Billings, where she worked in the new Sears store and met Wyman, the man she would marry in 1961. Wyman’s work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs took them from one coast to the other and many places in between. This broadened Donna’s horizons and turned her into a proud and lifelong liberal, which she wanted to be highlighted in her obituary.
Donna had three girls in whom she instilled creativity, curiosity, and independence. She was an accomplished artist, gardener, and conversationalist, and had a passion for discovering new things and places, including Paris, France. The family lived on many Indian reservations over the years, and Donna had great respect and appreciation for Native culture and traditions. She had an unparalleled sense of humor and lust for life, and calmly accepted her cancer diagnosis in 2019 by expressing her gratitude for a long and full existence. She passed away in Billings on April 29, 2020.
Donna left an indelible impression on everyone who was fortunate enough to cross paths with her, and her spirit will live on through the lives she touched and the gardens she planted. Donna is survived by siblings Donald Ulrich (Judy), Kurt Ulrich (Judy), and Kay Pegg (Don); daughters Elaine Babby (Blair), Angie Babby (Jon), and Lorna Babby (Marvin); stepdaughter Beth Anne Gary (Scott); the sons she never had, Hans Werner Leimkuehler (Sandra) and Dale Young (Amy); grandson Matthew Thompson; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, step grandchildren, and step great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sister Karen Solle (Ed).
Donna will be interred by her husband’s side in Martin, South Dakota, and a celebration of her life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice, and carry on Donna’s belief in the goodness of people. The family thanks the staff at Wyndstone and St. John’s Hospice for their kindness and compassionate care, and St. Vincent’s Cardiac Rehab physical therapy staff for bringing much joy into Donna’s life.