Donna was born to Edward and Mildred Billberg and grew up among the Ponderosa pines on the family’s extensive acreage in what is now known as the Wandermere area.
She graduated from North Central High School in 1954.
She spent all but the last nine years of her life on that piece of land.
Donna’s first love was always animals and she made sure she was surrounded by them throughout her life.
She had early aspirations of becoming a writer but ended up studying nursing at Sacred Heart Hospital instead.
Donna married USAF Victor Sydow and lived on an Air Force base in Morocco for a short time.
They had four children and in the family’s early years, they were all involved with showing Shetland Ponies for their ranch, Twin Pines.
In the early seventies, Donna earned a trainer’s license and the family had two racehorses at Playfair Race Course in Spokane.
After being a homemaker for many years, Victor and Donna divorced in 1973 and after that Donna became a fiercely independent single mother.
Donna went to work and held a wide variety of jobs including time working as an Electrologist at the Crescent at Northtown Mall, a Pinkerton Security guard at Spokane Intl.
Airport, and the owner of a gift shop called the Brass Boutique.
After retirement, she dedicated herself full time to helping animals, volunteering and helping however she could at various animal rescues.
In recent years, she volunteered at the food bank in Elk.
Donna was not just a rescuer of animals, her generous heart extended to people as well and she would help anyone in need.
Donna was a dedicated daughter and a wonderful and protective mother and we will miss her kind ways, her lively spirit, and her great sense of humor.
Preceded in death by her son Edward L. Sydow, and parents Edward and Mildred (Luedke) Billberg.
Survived by her son Robert J. Sydow, of Spokane; and daughters Regina E. Saladino, Punta Gorda, Florida, and Ann R. Sydow, Athol, Idaho; five grandchildren Meagan Jorgensen, Matthew Sydow, Tia Sydow, Natalie Corbin, and Alexandra Tiplady and several great-grandchildren.
Donations can be made in her honor to Rivers Wish Animal Sanctuary in Spokane or Wolf People of Cocolalla in Cocolalla, Idaho.
The family would like to express special thanks to Hospice of Spokane for their enormous support in recent weeks.
Memorial Mass will be Thursday, August 28th at St. Thomas More Parish, 505 W. St. Thomas More Way at 11 am followed by an inurnment at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Please visit Donna’s on-line memorial page at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com to leave a message of condolence.