AUBURN —Donna Crow knew she wanted to become a nurse from an early age.
“When I was pretty young, I’d say late grade school, early junior-high, probably,” said Crow, of St. Joe.
“My Grandpa Perlich always had kidney problems, and he was down at the Bluffton Clinic a lot, and we would go there to visit him and he always said, ‘One of you girls ought to become a nurse.’ And I guess I took that to be my calling.”
Now, after serving DeKalb County patients for over 37 years — 33 of those years in the family practice line — she has retired from Parkview Physicians Group–Auburn.
Charting her nursing journey, Crow said that while in high school she took biology and chemistry classes “and everything that I needed to go to school and become a nurse.”
Crow went on to attend Goshen College. During the summers while she was in school, she worked at the former McCray Hospital in Kendallville as a nurse’s aide and at Carlin Park Nursing Home in Angola as a qualified medication aide.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree from Goshen, she took the licensing exam to become a Registered Nurse.
Originally, Crow had planned to become a flight traveling nurse. However, after she met the man who would become her husband, Mark Crow, and the couple decided to marry, her plans changed and she returned to DeKalb County.
Crow started her nursing career as a floor nurse on the surgical floor at DeKalb Memorial Hospital. She was at DeKalb Memorial for about 4 1/2 years and in that time also worked in obstetrics.
Crow and her husband started a family, and after having her second child, she decided to stay home and took a couple of years off.
After the birth of her third child she started her office nursing career with a family practice physician whose group later became DeKalb Health Medical Group and went on to become Parkview Physicians Group.
She began her office nursing career working for Dr. Stephen Cole in his night clinic, one day a week, in Auburn.
“That just progressed into a couple more days a week and then eventually into full-time with him in his office during the day,” she said
Cole sold his practice in 1990 and Crow ultimately ended up staying there, working for Dr. Richard Anningson, who had moved to DeKalb County from Canada.
When the practice opened an office in Butler, Crow transferred there and remained with the office for more than 20 years. While in Butler, Crow’s duties included responding to phone and fax questions from area nursing homes.
From Butler, Crow returned to Auburn, where she rounded out her career working as the phone nurse for Dr. Tracy Hitzeman.
“I just basically enjoyed taking care of people here in DeKalb County,” Crow said.
“I have seen many changes during my nursing career, but going from paper charts to electronic medical records was very memorable. … I’ve enjoyed my years and just decided it was time.”
In her retirement, Crow has projects on which she would like to work, as well as spending time with her family that includes three children and six grandchildren.
“I have been very fortunate to have worked with knowledgeable and caring providers as well as wonderful co-workers,” she said. “While I will miss them, I am looking forward to being able to spend time with my grandchildren, do some sewing and quilting, travel some, and read books.”