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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Ethel Jane Donica

Ethel Jane Donica passed away Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville, after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Mrs. Donica is survived by her four children, seventeen grandchildren, and thirty great-grandchildren.

“Jane” to those who knew her, Mrs. Donica was born on August 28, 1933, to Buddy Moses and Annie Fortner, two field hands who lived in McKinney, TX, north of Dallas. She was the second of three children.

Jane was raised in the cotton fields of Depression-era Texas where her classical voice and arresting beauty made her a belle of the community. Swept off her feet by Riley Donica, a young preacher from Oklahoma, she married and moved to the hamlet of Zafra in the Kiamichi Mountains in December 1957, to join Riley in his work as a missionary.

Jane soon became a pillar of the mountain territory, feeding hungry visitors—whether friends or strangers—nursing the sick, visiting the families of prisoners and those recently deceased, and caring for neglected children, many of whom came to regard her as a second mother. She taught Sunday School and spread the light of Christ wherever she went, both in her words and in her deeds.

Though she had taken few piano lessons due to her childhood poverty, her passion for music and her remarkable voice added sparkle to revival meetings across the country and inspired a similar artistry in her children.

Jane made it her work to change lives for the better. She is admired and beloved, and her presence graced the world as it now graces heaven.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to John 3:17 Ministry, Att. Suzanne Rudd, 431 Hwy 145 So, Newport, AR 72112. Donations can be made online by going to .

Funeral services will be directed by Beasley-Wood Funeral Home, at the First Christian Church of Mena, Arkansas, on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, at 2:00 P.M. Viewing will begin at 1:30. Interment will follow in the Pinecrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Mena.

Visitation was held Tuesday, Oct.15, 2019, from 5:30-7:30, at the Beasley-WoodFuneral Home.

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