March 27, 1930 – November 10, 2015
Born in Westport, Nova Scotia in 1930, Don’s childhood spanned the Great Depression and WW2. With his keen interest in aviation, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 18 and served for 27 years. He was transferred all over Canada and even went to the arctic (in winter!) to clean up Russian satellite debris.
He met his beloved best friend, Virginia, in Winnipeg and married her in 1958. They enjoyed exploring the regions of Canada and shared their curiosity and love of the outdoors with their daughters Elaine and Linda. Ahead of their time, they defied the expectation to place Elaine in an institution because she was disabled. A devoted daddy, Don played with her and Linda alike. Don cherished and admired Virginia, his partner, intellectual match and comfort. He was beside her always, right through her long and final journey with Alzheimer’s disease. He has been waiting these 16 years to be reunited with his bride. At last!
Retiring in Courtenay in 1980, Don enjoyed many hours walking at the beach or in the woods with his “extended” family… Don had a passion for blondes: yellow labs and golden retrievers! Also a great book collector, Don read widely about the natural world, the arts, history, finance and politics. He loved mysteries: on British television shows, in novels, and as discovered in science. Stepping out, Don attended arts events by “the Sid”, the art gallery, local drama groups and Musicfest. A generous and humble man, he also quietly supported numerous individuals, groups and charities.
Predeceased by his parents, daughter Elaine, brother, and wife, he travelled with Linda in later years. They toured all over Vancouver Island and Vancouver, visited the Maritimes, took a cruise to Alaska and even hopped over to Australia! Much slowed down after a partial leg amputation in 2005, Don’s life remained rich. CBC radio was always on, connecting him to current affairs, science and the arts and he was always happy to welcome his good friends Penny & George, Linda T, Hope, Angela (niece) and family, and “He’s not my son-in-law, he’s my friend!” Frank. Don is deeply missed by his daughter Linda (Frank) and will be remembered for his generous, intelligent and witty personality.
Don did not want a formal service. A small informal gathering he would himself enjoy will be held in the spring, details to be arranged. He was proud of his time in the RCAF and wished to be remembered by it’s motto: Per ardua ad astra, Through adversity to the stars. Don passed on the evening of November 10th and the next morning military planes flew overhead for Remembrance Day. How fitting!
Don, it’s not the same here without you. We take comfort in the thought of you walking and laughing with Virginia and running with Elaine– after all those dogs! Save some room, we will meet you with joy later.