Donna Hensel

Donna Hensel

Donna was born Sept. 20, 1927, in Menomonee Falls, Wis., daughter of Louise (Keip) Bleck and Albrecht Bleck. When Donna was three, an auto accident took her father’s life. Consequently, she lived with relatives for much of her early childhood while her mother worked as a beautician in Milwaukee. She attended a one-room school when young but joined her mother in Milwaukee for high school. She graduated from Washington High School and then went on to Marquette University, graduating in 1948 with a B.S. in chemistry.

Donna and Winfried “Win” married in 1950, a marriage that lasted 67 years, and raised two daughters. Donna returned to college, earning a teaching degree, and then taught eighth-grade science for 22 years.

In retirement, Donna took up tennis and tried out various volunteer organizations until landing at the Milwaukee Art Museum, a significant divergence from her background in science. At the art museum, she met friends who became cornerstone friendships, became Docent of the Year, and made an applique of Picasso’s Cock of the Liberation. She continued her role as an educator leading school groups.

Donna was outspoken in her beliefs. She joined the Unitarian Universalist Church, evolving from sorority girl and bridge player to feminist and advocate for zero-population growth. She loved to travel and saw much of the world, including a trip to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia at age 80 and to China when she was 85. In 1977 she went to England for a brief teaching stint, which included a class trip to see Queen Elizabeth in a Silver Jubilee pageant.

She will be greatly missed. We loved her for her humor, spunk, generosity, industry, stubbornness, resilience, creativity, curiosity, and much more. The angels had better be on their toes.

The family welcomes gifts to the Milwaukee Art Museum in her honor. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420