Donna Rauschke

Donna M.K.(Grant) Rauschke, 83, of Scarborough passed away peacefully June 13, 2020, with her family by her side.

After persevering through challenges presented with progressive Parkinson’s Disease, Donna’s body could not overcome the acute changes that occurred in the past month. A loving and devoted mother to her two daughters, Meridyth Astrosky and Krista Cushing, both of Scarborough, are at peace knowing that their parents are once again together.

Donna was born on February 26,1937, to Richard D. and Ruth H.M.(Ahlquist) Grant of Scarborough, Maine. Donna was educated in Scarborough, a town she cherished dearly. She graduated from Scarborough High School as a proud member of the Class of 1955. She then went on to University of Maine at Orono where she pursued a degree in Education, graduating in 1959. College held more than academics for this young social butterfly as Donna met her “knight in shining armor.” Attending a “social mixer” she gravitated to a handsome, recently out of the Navy, Minnesota farmboy, and Engineering major, Kenneth Rauschke. Yes, indeed, it was a match made in heaven. They both were from farming roots, Scandinavian heritage, and Lutheran. Donna married her “sailor” on August 23, 1958. They lived in campus housing for married students until Ken graduated in 1960. As University of Maine alumni, Ken and Donna would go on in future years to attend homecomings, class reunions, and support school endeavors. Donna was an active member in the UMO Women’s Club for many years at a local level.

Their life path led them to Massachusetts for the next five years as Donna taught in Byfield and Ken worked for United Shoe Corporation as an engineer. By 1963, their family had grown by two daughters. Family and roots were immensely important to both Ken and Donna as they returned to Maine to be closer to Donna’s family and lived in Portland. In 1970, they built their “home” in Scarborough on Donna’s family farm land.

Donna’s career as an educator took a slight turn when she completed her Special Education certificate. She had substitute taught for years, but this became her passion — and to say she loved where this path took her and the lives she touched is an understatement. She had this innate ability to see the potential in any one and guide them to seeing this in themselves. Her tenure took her from Bessey School to BessWorth. The colleagues she worked alongside of became her dear friends and were permanently woven into her fabric of life adventures.

Donna and Ken’s commitment, dedication, and zest for their life together grew over the years which included nurturing, guiding, and teaching their two “girls” to follow their own paths all along maintaining this strong connection to their roots. As grandchildren entered their lives, Donna and Ken’s hearts grew even larger. Elise, Samuel, Brent, and Matthew could not have asked for grandparents that could love them any greater, beam with pride in all of their endeavors, and be a phone call away for much needed Grandma “pick me ups” or the recipe for peanut butter pie as they became young adults. This loving relationship rang true for her niece Karli and nephew Parker who were so much a part of her life and she adored.


Donna embraced celebrations — holidays, birthdays, and any of one’s life transitions were important to her. She would remember graduations, accomplishments, births, losses, or challenges and send a card to express her sentiment. And oh, could she turn anything into a party. She would be the hostess beyond hostess. Always willing to add another place setting at the table, send home a “goodie bag,” she instilled manners, the value of service to others, opportunities to be creative, and to learn basic life skills all with a caring and compassionate heart. Friendships with Donna and Ken were more like family. Either one of them would share what they had and this became more evident in hosting students, “adopting” Vietnamese siblings that became siblings to their daughters and strong ties for years to come with expanding families, their home became a safe harbor for young couples needing temporary housing, or church affiliated musicians, teachers, and a very special exchange student from Sweden.

Family and family history were near and dear to Donna. Her brother Glenn and she were raised to embrace storytelling in order to keep traditions and history alive and present. Their commitment to family — whether it was the Scandinavian heritage with the Ahlquists or the Scottish influence of the Grants continues on with their children and grandchildren as traditions pass through generations. Ken and Donna hosted “Cuz’ns Koffee” which came to be memorable for many. Donna and Ken were members of SONS of Norway which blended her passion for heritage and service. Donna loved Ken’s Midwestern family deeply — her sisters- and brothers-in-law, Shirley and David Titman, Edna Kamper and their families may have lived “away” but were always at home in her heart.

The Rauschke “family” grew through the years to add more who called her “Mom” and “Grandma.” She was so proud of her four Truong children and their families. Grandma enjoyed the videos, the face timing, and updates.

Her belief in God and faith played a central role in Donna’s life from her birth forward. She and Ken became longtime members of St. Ansgar Ev. Lutheran Church in Portland upon their return to Maine. Donna took an active leadership role in the Sewing Group, the Altar Guild, VBS, the International Church Fair, and Santa Lucia events to name a few. During this time of COVID-19, she felt the loss of not being able to attend church in person but became more comfortable and looked forward to ZOOM church and Fellowship Hour.

Truly Donna lived what she believed and loved with her heart and soul. One could come to know that she would always welcome you with a kind word, a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, confidante, and know “you.” She would not hesitate to lend a hand, a shirt or make you one.

Donna leaves a great legacy of hard work, love of God, love of family and friends — and a reminder to us all to make time to connect with those you love even when life is busy.


Donna is preceded in death by her parents, and the love of her life, Ken. She felt his loss deeply and we know that they are walking hand and hand together again.

She is survived by: daughters, Meridyth Astrosky and Krista Cushing, both of Scarborough, Maine; grandchildren, Elise Astrosky and Brent Astrosky both of San Diego, California, Samuel Cushing of Belfast, Maine, and Matthew Cushing of Savannah, Georgia; her brother Glenn Grant of East Sebago, Maine; sisters-in-law, Edna Kamper of Algona, Iowa, and Shirley and David Titman of Monticello, Iowa, and Donna M. Grant, Macon, Georgia. As well as several nieces and nephews and their families from Georgia to Iowa and the loving embrace of cousins and friends.

The family remembers with immense gratitude her caregivers through this journey especially Dr. Michael Ciampi and Compass Concierge Inc. “Team Donna” became a part of this Rauschke family providing compassion, care, humor, and heart every step of the way. A private graveside service was held on June 20, 2020.

Those wishing to remember Donna, may make gifts in her name to one of her many passions — history or “roots” and education: Scarborough Maine Historical Society for the “Beech Ridge School,”, SONS of Norway-“Scholarship Fund,”

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