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Donna Nokes Rieckens

February 08, 1951 - December 31, 2012

Funeral Service:

7:00 P.M. Friday, January 4, 2012 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.


Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Donna Nokes Rieckens

February 08, 1951 - December 31, 2012


Donna Marie Nokes Rieckens was born February 8, 1951 in Saratoga Springs, NY to Henry and Anna (Cook) Nokes.  She died December 31, 2012 at Eventide in Moorhead, MN after prolonged illness.

She is survived by her husband James Rieckens, sons Joseph, Thomas and Cecil Jacobson; stepsons Sean, Brian and Derek Rieckens; grandchildren Andrew, Sami, Cidni, Dakota and Tristan Jacobson; step-grandchildren Amanda, Miranda, Dylan, Luke, Katherine, Jacob and Erin Rieckens and great grandchildren Lena and Layla.

When her boys were in scouting, Donna was a District Commissioner for the Two Rivers District of the Northern Lights Council.  During her life she held jobs as a receptionist, cook, store manager, restaurant waitress and hostess, and truck driver.

Donna loved doing anything that allowed her to express her independence and had a touch of adventure.  She loved trucking, doing a “man’s job” better than a lot of men.  She started with Marten Transport and traveled the country taking her “charge ahead” attitude with her.  When time from the job allowed she liked playing the professional tourist with side trips to Mexico, national parks, honky-tonks, and racetracks.

Donna and her husband were co-owners of Whitehorse, Inc and drove together for 10 years laughing most of the way.  (Sharing life on the road 24 hours a day ain’t always easy.)  As her health declined, she had to give up trucking and managed a restaurant as chief cook, waitress, bookkeeper, and dishwasher.  Not able to stay still she moved on to manage at a couple of convenience stores finally settling in as assistant manager at Stop-n-Go on 45th St in charge of “the best buns in town.”

Donna loved bingo and Miller lite, Hank and Merle, BB King and Clarence Carter, Mariah and Little Feat, and any movie with Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot or Winnie the Pooh.  She hated formality and phonies.  Sometimes her dynamic personality got her into trouble but she could always charm her way out.

There was no middle ground for Donna.  Her clothing was either simple or uniquely Donna.  Generous with friends and strangers alike but don’t mess with anyone or thing she cared about.  When angry her sparkling blue eyes would turn to sea green, a sort of early warning system for spouse.

She was an animal charmer with horses, dogs, and ornery cockatiels at her command.

Donna’s final two years of her life were a struggle against her paralysis and it was hard to see how much of the joy in her life she was missing, but it couldn’t completely damper her spirit…  You could see it in her eyes and her soundless laugh.

Interment will be at a later date in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Memorials preferred to “4 Love of Dog Rescue”, P.O. Box 9283, Fargo N.D. 58106-9283.


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9 responses to “Donna Nokes Rieckens”

  1. Linda T Sano Knapp Johnsen says:

    Fall River MaGod Bless you Donna Marie. It didnt matter how long in between or lost contact with one another it seemed liked yesterday when we found each other.
    We grewn up and were best friends and we will remain BFF. I love and miss you.
    To the family Donna was very special and thank you Jim for standing by her you are a wonderful caring man and husband. Thomas thank you also what a wonderful caring son. To both of you I know it wasnt easy. Your Mom and Grandmother sister aunt loved everyone of you unconditionally. Keep her memories in your heart. God Bless you all.

  2. Jim Rieckens says:

    This is the eulogy I gave for my love, Donna (TSBITWH*). It was a lot longer with a lot of stories like about all the times she almost got both ofus arrested but I knew I could get through it all and pared it down to this. The music I chose was also part of my tribute with significance in each one:

    Amarillo by Morning- George Strait
    Fast as I Can – J. McMurtry
    “She lost her mind but she never missed it
    Most folks said she’d never learn
    She’d take the path of least resistance right to the point of no return.
    Apprehended on occasion, left off easy everytime…”

    Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
    Always on repeat in her player

    In Spite of Ourselves – John Prine, Iris DeMent
    So us

    My Girl-Temptations
    When she couldn’t speak we’d hold hands and lip sink to this one

    Magnolia-J J Cale
    One of her favorites. For a New York gal se could sound as sweet as a southern belle on the CB. Good for teasing truckers.

    Nobody’s Girl- Bonnie Rait
    Do you really need this one explained?

    I’m Gonna Love You-The Notorious Cherrybombs
    Can’t play it without crying

    Can’t Get Enough of Love, Babe-Barry White
    This was her fantasy voice for me

    Soldier Boy-Shirelles
    Sung around her brothers’ kitchen table with Kath and other friends
    Repeating the course over and over (alcohol may have been involved)

    Dixie Chicken-Little Feat
    Just’ cause it’s so much fun

    Suitcase-Keb’ Mo
    Last concert before her stroke. Another one about married life.

    Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out-BB King
    Where some of you people been?

    The Story-Brenda Carlisle

    Birds-Neil Young
    “When you see me fly away without you”

    *acronym for a term of endearment


    When Donna had her stroke and was in a coma, it felt like going to her wake everyday for 40 days. I thought that experience would make this easier. It doesn’t.

    Doctors said she would probably not wake up but that would not be very Donna. When she did and got her bearings she spent a lot of time trying to move limbs and sit up. Overcome this by force of will. I told she had ruined a good eulogy cause when I got done people would think she was a cross between Mother Teresa and Tina Turner. That earned an eye roll from her but she had both an irrepressible spirit that like to shootout the lights but an emotional generosity she could extend as easily to a stranger as a close friend. Her little secret (that everyone knew) was that she wasn’t as hard-nosed as she appeared she could empathize with anyone and be deeply hurt by a slight. But don’t let it show.
    She was fiercely loyal to her sons and would fight for them thru thick and thin.

    We met in Amarillo Tx and after going together a while she kept saying “are we getting married or what?” so on a trip to LA, while she was sleeping in the bunk, I made a right turn at Kingman, AZ
    and woke her up in Las Vegas and told to get ready the limo was on its way to take us to the chapel. It was the only time I’ve ever seen her look frightened but she went thru with it anyway. We honeymooned across the country and never had an argument…..that didn’t end with me apologizing.

    She was a walking contradiction. She didn’t mind risks but would put 2 dollars on every horse in a race, bet on both odd and even. And didn’t like being told that wasn’t a smart thing to do. She liked being pampered but didn’t mind dirt under nails at work. She liked to dance on the tables but just as often spent time alone relaxing in her lounge chair.

    If you haven’t seen much of her in the last two years, she was the same Donna, just physically limited. She could express a lot with her face and those beautiful eyes. Nursing home staff was under strict instructions when entering her room to pick on me because it was great entertainment for her. Through all that she seemed to be more annoyed with her condition than sad.

    She never worried about what you thought of her saying “if they’re talking about me then they ain’t talking about someone else.” Another favorite was “if it was up your” maybe that ones best left a lone and all the others have that word again but most of you know.

    While looking for a suitable quote I found one from Winston Churchill (that would cause an eyeroll…Churchill) he said, “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Good luck, God.

    Piglet said,” How do you spell love?” Pooh said, “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”

  3. Tanya Nokes Myers says:

    Amsterdam NYI remember running into my Aunt after not seeing her for many years one day and she knew who I was! I remember her from when I was young as being a very unique individual who always told you how she felt, she got that from my grandmother I think. I also lost my mom and her mother in 2012. The comfort of knowing I will see them all again one day helps me get through. May it also help you to know that to!

  4. Mark Thorlakson says:


    I was very sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. She really meant a lot to me. She was always full of fun and caring. It is good to see you have so many people to support you in this time. I will always remember Donna with a great fondness.

    Take Care,

  5. Laura Hines and Protege says:

    Pottsboro TexasSo sorry for your loss. Peaceful thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  6. Earnestine Sanders says:

    Seagoville TexasLt Jacobson, I wish I could be there with you on Friday but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    We miss you a bunch!!!!!

    God Bless,
    Capt Sanders

  7. Cheryl Pitts says:

    Moorhead MN
    I met Donna when I first moved here to the area, playing bingo. She will be missed by many. She kept me entertained with her colorful personality.
    May you rest in peace Donna, until I see you again.
    Cheryl Pitts




    mesquite txMay God be with you and your family in this time. Our hearts go out to you and your family.

    We are thinking about you LT. Thomas Jacobson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    see you soon
    dto. hamilton and dso gadson

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