Salon 14

Malina Jane (Nelson) Donovan

May 22, 1936 ~ September 12, 2021 (age 85)


Malina Jane Donovan, 85, a life-long resident of Shelby, passed away on Sunday morning, September 12, 2021 in the Conrad hospital after suffering a severe stroke. She was born on May 22, 1936 to Henry & Marian Nelson in Hill County Montana and was named after her grandmothers, Malina (Guy) Parnell & Mathilda Jane Nelson. Malina Jane was the eldest of five daughters and raised in Gallup City near Conrad with her two younger sisters, Audrey Lucille (Kieft) and Dorothy Ann (Sargent). Malina graduated from Conrad High School in 1954 before her parents moved to Cut Bank. The following year Malina married Michael T. Donovan of Shelby on May 21, 1955 and the couple quickly began building a family of their own. Over the next nine years Malina, now twenty-nine years old, had herself a daughter and five sons. After fifteen years of marriage, she found herself alone with the daunting challenge of raising her offspring. Malina’s unwavering dependence and trust in Jesus was her source of strength and determination to keep her young family together by instilling her Christian values into her children. As she faced even the most difficult circumstances Malina overcame all obstacles along the way. On top of being a full-time mother with only a high school education, Malina worked two jobs selling jewelry and dining room hostess. She developed her talents for art, jewelry design, fashion and interior home decorating which brought about new employment opportunities presenting her with an improved means of support in pursuit of her family goals.

 As time marched onward there were graduations, weddings, grandchildren, and great-grand children that rewarded Malina’s diligent work and singular focus on family. The home she made celebrated the frequent reunions, hunting trips and relative visits over the decades making for lasting generational memories. She was the center of our universe bringing all friends and family into her loving arms.   

  Malina Jane is survived by her sisters, Audrey Kieft of Valier, Janet Dormady of Kenai, AK and Julie Clark of Columbus, MT; her daughter, J.D. “Judie”(Gary) Rhoades of Bolingbrook, IL; and her sons, Michael (Deanna) of Naperville, IL, Mark (Darlene) of Belgrade, John (Bonnita) of Great Falls, Joseph (Lisa) of Missoula and Henry “Hank” (LeAnne) of Columbia Falls Donovan; sixteen grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren; and dozens of nieces and nephews.

Malina was preceded by her father, Henry Nelson on April 3, 1968; mother, Marian Marie Nelson on February 6, 2006; and sister, Dorothy Ann Sargent on March 8, 2021.

  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM at Living Faith Baptist Church in Shelby.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Malina Jane (Nelson) Donovan, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
September 25, 2021

1:00 PM
Living Faith Baptist Church
1075 sanders Avenue
Shelby, MT 59474

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