In Memoriam: Donna Shields

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 November 15, 2018 - 9:56am

In Memoriam: Donna Shields

Notice of Passing – Donna Shields 1927 - 2018

Donna Shields, wife of Member #001 Ken Shields, passed away on October 10, 2018.  Donna was a very interesting person and a trail blazer for women in her time. She was in the restaurant business in the 1940s and taught music to earn extra money.

 She was recognized by the Le May America’s Car Museum in June of this year during Motorcycle Week as a vanguard of women riding motorcycles – she was the first woman entrant to run the famous “Mud Run” motorcycle endurance race in north Seattle and finished 2nd !  She refused to use her own motorcycle so the local Harley dealership let her use one of theirs. She got her start driving motorcycles in 1951when she drove a 3-wheeled Side Hack (motorcycle) delivering copy for a couple printing companies in downtown Seattle. She did that later in life for the Seattle P.I. and then the Seattle Times.

Also in the 50’s, Donna and girlfriend LaRae drove their motorcycles to Mexico because there was a place there to buy leather upholstery for one of her cars. She and LaRae ended up spending a night in jail in Dunsmuir, CA when they were arrested for passing on a curve and refused to pay the $10 fine!

Back in the early 50’s, she became extremely interested in the “Muntz Jet”, a 2 seat convertible built by “Mad man Muntz”. She located a barely used one in Chicago.  She soon flew to Chicago and drove the Muntz Jet home to Seattle.  Ken offered to go with her but she declined as she felt it would not be right travelling with a man she was not married to.

Ken and Donna were married in 1960. They met at one of Ken’s restaurants in Seattle. They built a house on the beach in Rolling Bay on Bainbridge Island and were often seen riding their motorcycles on and off the ferry in Seattle and Bainbridge Island.  

They bought the Topaz in 1978 and moved aboard. She could handle the “Topaz”, a 52’ McQueen, like a pro and was fastidious about the upkeep of the boat that the Shields lived on for 23 years.  She supervised the maintenance of the brightwork and kept updating the electronics.

They bought their home in Sedro Woolley in 2000 and sold the boat in 2001. Donna was under Hospice care at their home at the time of her passing.   


Chaplain Ken Klett with Larry & Rheta Downs