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Winter Texan of the Week: Donnalois Ahlstedt

Converted Texan Enjoys Decades of Friendship at Alamo Resort

by Rocio Villalobos

Donnalois Ahlstedt spreads sunshine wherever she goes. Ahlstedt is Alamo Rose RV Resort’s official Sunshine Lady, a responsibility she does not take lightly. She provides reports at the weekly meetings, updating her neighbors on who’s sick and their conditions and who has an upcoming birthday. On birthdays, she delivers homemade cookies and a handwritten card.
“Being the Sunshine Lady has been a godsend,” she said. “It has given me so much more than I give it.”

In addition to serving as Sunshine Lady, Ahlstedt makes quilts for battered women and children and helps coordinate summer activities for the other year-round residents. They began water volleyball a few years ago, which quickly became a favorite.

“We operate like a committee of the whole and sit and decide what we want to do,” Ahlstedt said. “I just try to help them make it happen. The ideas are truly theirs.”

Ahlstedt recently rang in her 90th birthday with a brunch attended by 74 Alamo Rose residents. She credits her active lifestyle and daily bike rides for keeping her sharp and in good health.

“I have a tricycle I bought in 2013, and I ride it faithfully every day for about two miles,” she said. “It’s one of the best things I ever did because it forces you to get out. And here you can do that.”

The warm weather is just one of the reasons she’s glad to call the RGV her home since moving down full-time from Chicago in the late 90s. She and her husband spent about a decade as Winter Texans first and were among the resort’s first residents.

“People were so gracious and welcoming of us,” Ahlstedt said. “The Park has been so good to me all these years. It’s like a family. You really could not live on your own here. The Park is very close--close in age, close in needs. People are unbelievably kind.”

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