Dona N. Willis Profile Photo

Dona N. Willis

d. September 15, 2023

Boise, formerly New Meadows

Dona N. Willis

Dona Nadine Willis, also known as Mother, Grandmother, and Prima Dona, age 93, passed away peacefully early Friday morning, September 15, 2023.  

Dona was born on February 4, 1930, in Hays, Kansas, the first of three children born to Herbert and Ina Bell Fischer.  Dona had two brothers, Herbert Leon and William Donnell.

Defeated by the drought, her family left Kansas in June 1939, when she was 9 years old, to go “out West.”  On their trip through Colorado and Utah into Idaho, for the first time in her life, Dona saw mountains, trees, and rivers.  This was the beginning of her love for the mountains, and as the family passed through Boise on their way to Nyssa, Oregon, where they settled, she was so taken by the beauty of the Treasure Valley that she vowed to return to Boise when she grew up. 

Dona attended school in Nyssa.  She played clarinet in the marching band, wrote for the school newspaper and was on the debate team.  She graduated from Nyssa High School in 1948, and in keeping with her vow, moved to Boise.  

Shortly thereafter, she met Alfred Liechty from Emmett, Idaho.  They were married in April 1949, and bought a 40 acre farm on El Paso Road near the Gem County and Canyon County line.  Two children, Dona and Michael, were born while living on the farm.  In 1956, the family left the farm and spent the next few years living and working in Oregon and Washington.  Richard was born in 1957 in Pendelton, Oregon.  In 1959, the family returned to Boise where Robert was born in 1960.  Dona and Alfred were divorced in 1962.  

Dona continued to live and work in the Boise area raising her children.  In 1964, she married Jerry Grate, and together, they operated Grate Industries until their divorce in 1973.

In March 1979, Dona married Houston Willis.  Houston retired from the real estate business, and in the 1980s, they operated a daycare in Boise.  As a working mother, Dona knew the importance of good childcare.  She thoroughly enjoyed the children and formed lasting friendships with the parents and with many of the children as they grew up.

In 1990, Dona’s dream of living in the mountains was realized.  She and Houston bought property in McCall and built a house where they lived until 1997 when they built another home in New Meadows.  Houston passed away in 2003.  Dona loved the mountains so much that she continued to live in New Meadows until 2010 when she once again returned to Boise where she lived until her death.

Dona is survived by daughter Dona Piercy (Bill); son Michael Liechty (Patricia); and son Robert Liechty (Donnita); grandchildren: Jesse Liechty (Elizabeth), Sarah Pokorney (Jon), and Amanda Hutchison (Parker); great grandchildren: Wyatt and Ella Pokorney, Tyler, and twins Benjamin and Emily Hutchison.  She was predeceased by her parents, her brothers, and her son Richard.

The family wishes to thank Saint Luke’s Hospice Care for providing such excellent care and comfort during the last months of Dona’s life. 

A graveside service will be held at Dry Creek Cemetery on Monday September 25, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dona N. Willis, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Monday, September 25, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Dry Creek Cemetery on Monday September 25, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.

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