He lived a full and vigorous life and “paddled his own canoe” right to the end. Don considered himself a lucky man. Born in Alliston Ontario on July 21, 1925, he grew up in Owen Sound where he excelled in sports, particularly hockey, making the roster of the Toronto Maple Leafs as back-up goalie when he was just 18.
He enlisted in the RCAF, trained as a pilot and air gunner. Following his military service, Don attended University of Toronto and graduated in “the Class of 49” as a Geological Engineer, a career choice driven by his love of the outdoors. Don was happiest out in “the bush”; the great Canadian wilderness, and worked as a geologist, mine and project manager throughout North America and Australia. It was this appeal of nature, and economic opportunity, which first brought him and his young family to Blind River during the uranium rush of 1953.
A true romantic, Don would say his greatest luck was meeting, wooing and marrying the love of his life, Joan. Don and Joan raised four children in Blind River, and together they explored the world, living and working two years in Australia, and two decades in Calgary. Don’s lively curiosity and engineer’s discipline led him to create and patent his own inventions.
His sense of adventure brought excitement to every journey. He was a great story teller, captivating family and friends with tales of his larger-than-life experiences. Don and Joan moved back to Blind River in 2006 to be near their cottage and community of lifetime friends. Joan has been a rock for Don, caring for him at home as he adapted to living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Don is survived by Joan, his loving wife of 63 years; his four children, Bill (Vivian), Gloria Hall (Richard), Dan (Janice Sutherland) (Maureen Ha), and Barbara Sanders (George); eleven grandchildren (Jill, Dana, Christopher, Erin, Ron, Karen, Eric, Michael, Nathan, Rachel and Esther); three great grandchildren (Ivy, Anna and Francis); and his sister June (Ken) Taylor.
The family would like to thank the many people who have cared for Don and supported Joan during the progression of his illness. Since we, as their adult children, live far away and can’t be on hand for day to day help, we are extremely grateful to those of you who brought your friendship, love and professional care to them.
The family would like to invite anyone from the community who has shared a part of Don’s eventful life, to join us as we gather to celebrate his remarkable journey on Tuesday, July 21 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Blind River Seniors Cultural Centre 17 Michigan Avenue, Blind River, Ontario.