Skip to content

Lila May Donelson, 100, Palmyra, Mo., passed away at 12:15 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, at Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Palmyra.

Lila was born Nov. 16, 1922, in Selma, Calif., to  William Franklin and Vera May (Fichtner) Archer. She was married to Reginald MacLaughlin on July 9, 1943. Together they had one daughter, Cheryl Lee (MacLaughlin) Ellison (Chuck). Later Lila married Dudley M. Donelson on Jan. 2, 1948 in Rock Island, Ill. Together they welcomed two more children, Carolyn Sue “Susie” (Donelson) Schutte (Charlie) and Richard Dean Donelson (Kim).

Lila May Donelson

Additional survivors include grandchildren, Tara Huff (Sam), Valley Park, Mo.;  Rick Donelson (Stephanie), Broomfield, Colo.; and Renee Kirkpatrick, Donald Ellison and Neil Ellison; great-grandchildren, Carson Huff, Darren Huff, Dustin Wurtzberger, Jay Conoyer, Mya Kirkpatrick, Aiden Kirkpatrick and Isabelle and Logan Ellison

Lila was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Dudley Donelson; brothers, Eugene Archer and George Archer; and two grandsons, John and Joe Wurtzberger.

It is impossible to sum up the life of someone who lived to be 100 years old in just a few sentences but those who knew Lila could recount many fun stories full of laughter and tears. 

During World War II, she worked for Bowman Shoe in Quincy, Dekalb and Woodstock, Ill. Lila also worked for several years at the Palmyra Spectator as a proofreader. 

Later she would find her dream job working as a bank teller for Palmyra State Bank for 37 years until her retirement in 2006. During her career in banking, she built many friendships along the way. 

She was a woman who “never knew a stranger” and could befriend anyone. She had a green thumb and enjoyed working with her flowers, playing bingo and ding the occasional scratch off ticket to see if the big win came along. She relished every moment spent with her family and friends.

 A  funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Lewis Brothers Funeral Chapel, Palmyra, Mo. Rev. Wes Gehrke will officiate. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Palmyra.

Pallbearers will be Sam Huff, Rick Donelson, Tara Huff, Stephanie Donelson, Carson Huff and Darren Huff.

Friends and family are invited to Lila’s life celebration at a visitation from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Lewis Brothers Funeral Chapel in Palmyra.

Memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church.

Online condolences may be shared, and video tribute may be viewed at