Obituaries detail

Donna Lee (Zuber) Hughes
Oct 11,1933---May 01,2018

On October 11, 1933, Donna Lee Zuber was born to Herbert and Myrle Bailey of Ava, Missouri.  The sixth of seven children, she was often teased as being a ‘daddy’s girl’.  Growing up the daughter of a share cropper and railroad worker, Donna talked of childhood addresses that changed yearly.  When she was a junior in high school, her older brother and his wife asked if she would move in and help care for their young children.  Donna jumped at the chance.  Not only did this allow her to finish the year at the same school in which she had started, but it also allowed a chance encounter with the ‘boy next door’, Roland Hughes, who she started dating just after turning 16.  Seven short months later in a small country church on the outskirts of Hardy, Arkansas, with borrowed wedding rings and anxious parents, Donna and Roland embarked on an adventure that would last nearly 68 years. What an adventure it was!  They were blessed with six beautiful children:  Roland Lee, Risa, Brenda, Yvonne, Lisa and Paula.  It was to this family that Donna devoted her life.


As a lifelong member of the Community of Christ church, Donna was deeply committed to her faith, encouraging regular attendance by her family. While the Hughes children were greeted with a hot breakfast each weekday morning, it was corn flakes with bananas for Sunday mornings while listening to Donna play Amazing Grace on the piano.  Donna was ordained to the office of Elder, September 1, 1989.  On May 28, 2015, she and Roland were granted ‘superannuation’ by the Community of Christ church for lifetime service.


Along the way, Donna volunteered as a Red Cross Grey Lady at Blue Hills elementary school for several years, drove a school bus for the Fort Osage school district for 25 years, and was head cook at Heritage House senior living facility along with a host of other jobs.  In these years she developed many friendships that would last through all the days of her life.


In the days when camping was a ‘poor mans’ vacation, Roland and Donna would take their five girls on annual summer outings.  Let’s add right here this was NO vacation for Donna.  She would spend weeks preparing make ahead meals, packing, organizing and planning these vacations.  Cooking over a campfire, heating water for dishes and bathing, and trying to keep five young girls out of trouble was no walk on the beach!!  Her daughters look back on those times as some of the happiest of their childhood.  There was summer gardening, freezing fruits, and canning vegetables along with the infamous ‘chicken days’--- lord help us, you don’t want to go there!!  Donna enjoyed sewing.  Her daughters remember each Easter getting a new dress and spring coat and matching dresses each Christmas.  Later she volunteered and said it was a privilege to make wedding dressing for two of her daughters.  Donna spent countless hours in her kitchen.  From planned events of birthday dinners and family get-togethers to the every week occurrence of an impromptu invite to friends - or strangers for that matter - to share in the fellowship of Sunday dinner. Donna’s door was always open with room for anyone at her table.  Her children and grandchildren remember many life lessons shared in her kitchen.


She raised her daughters to be compassionate and giving.  While she detested confrontation, she raised them to stand up for themselves and be kind to those less fortunate.  She raised them with a strong belief in God and the miracles He bestowed and she taught them to LOVE in the truest sense of the word.


If her daughters were the light of her life, her husband was the oil in her lamp.  Over the course of their nearly 68 years, when any adversity came their way, an enduring and profound love sustained and embodied their union.  Her oldest daughter fondly remembers “…mom going into their bedroom every evening before dad would get home from work.  She’d fix her hair and put on lipstick for him.”  It was a love and devotion that never wavered.  Roland, recognizing the ‘gypsy’ blood in her, encouraged and supported a lifetime of travel for them.  They travelled from Australia to Alaska, Hawaii to the Florida Keys.  It was a love they shared and of which they never tired.


To her friends, Donna was fun, had a sense of humor, and was always willing to help.  To her daughters she was teacher and advocate and, when they got ‘out of line’, a force to be reckoned with.  As they grew older she became their friend, counselor, and confidant.  To her love of 68 years, she was his “ONE TRUE LOVE…. the only one I ever truly loved.  She was such a lovely, lovely lady.  ALWAYS a lady.”


Donna was preceded in death by her son Roland Lee Hughes; parents Herbert and Myrle Zuber; brothers Dale Zuber and Warren Zuber; and sisters June Payne and Evelyn Turner.


She is survived by her best friend, life travel companion, and forever love, Roland Hughes.  These words she spoke to him two short weeks ago, “I always knew no matter what happened, I could count on your love.”  Donna is also survived by daughters Risa Hayes, Platte City, MO; Brenda Smithart, Bath, NC; Yvonne Brockman (Doug), Yorktown, VA; Lisa Casto (Bill), Chicago, IL, and Paula Hawkins (Floyd), Independence, MO as well as sisters Bonnie Sparks, Independence, MO and Kathryn Middleton, Smithville, MO, 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.



We invite you to join and participate in a celebration of the cherished and devoted life she led. Thursday, May 3, 2018. Village Heights Community of Christ Church. 1009 N Farview Dr. Independence MO 64056. Six o’clock in the evening.




Time spent at church activities was always a priority for Donna. She encouraged her daughters to attend church youth camps which often required the aid of church resources set aside to help families who could not afford the cost. Once her children were grown and gone, Donna and Roland contributed to this fund, allowing other young families to benefit in life experiences best learned beside still waters and campfires.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to:




Village Heights Youth Camp Fund.




Village Heights Community of Christ


C/O Steve Euritt


26307 E. Blue Mills Rd


Sibley MO 64088


Additional Service:
Celebration of Life
Village Heights Community of Christ Church
1009 N. Fairview Dr.
Zip Code:
Date of Service:
May 03 ,2018
Time of Service:
6:00 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
Google Map:


Janet Brooks May 03 ,2018

Family friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

I watched your mom love on all of you. She was a dear sweet person. It still amazes me we have the same birthday October 11th and were both born in a little town called Ava, Mo. many of my family still reside there. Prayers for peace and comfort as you all transition to a life without this dear one. Much love, Janet