May 2, 1946 – April 1, 2020
Donna Patricia Swales (Spicer) was born in Calgary, Alberta on May 2nd, 1947, the first child to Patricia Alberta Spicer (Tait) and Clifford Noel Marshall Spicer. She became a big sister when Doreen and Cliff were born.
Her pre-teen and teenage years were spent growing up in downtown Calgary where she lived and was co-parented by her Mom and grandmother, Katie Belle Tait, who played an important role in Donna’s childhood. In those same years, Donna spent summers in BC at Auntie Ella’s house, a family friend with whom a special ‘motherly’ bond was maintained until Ella’s death.
Donna was introduced to her life-partner and soul mate, Murray, on her 19th birthday. They dated and then married the following year on April 8th. In January of 1973 the pair left Calgary with their infant daughter for six months of work in the Yukon…. In 1977 their family grew when son Greg was born at Whitehorse General Hospital.
In addition to being a mother and family caregiver, her roles in multiple more than full-time family businesses with Murray where she was chief finance, admin, paperwork chaser and instituter of bottom lines (ie: “No you/we can’t”), family, friends and community were very important to her.
Her family: Cliff (Carol, nieces: Brandi, Kellie), and Doreen (Larry, nephews: Paul, Scott), in-laws (Sharon and Garnet, children: Alison, Cameron, Michele and families), her Aunts, Uncles and cousins; “The Girls” aka (Viscount) “Bennette Belles”, Good Family Friends – many who became Aunts and Uncles to Katie and Greg, are all Family that form a central part of Donna’s life story.
Donna volunteered and participated in local community groups and countless projects that provided joyful activity and community spirit such as Parent-Participation Preschool, Block Parent program, school councils, Rotary Club, United Church, church and community choir… always knowing that real ‘boots on the ground’ activity brings tangible improvements to the sphere.
Throughout the 16 years that included three different bouts of cancer, she continued with her friendships and activities, which became more important than ever – she refused to quit – her unbelievable tenacious self pulled an unwilling body along. It was the life full of family, friends /beautiful people, that prevailed to the end.
Donna died with son Greg and daughter Katie by her side and grandsons Owen and Tate in her heart; pre-deceased by Murray 23 months ago. She was comfortable, warm, and felt peaceful in her own quiet home. Her longevity and best-as-possible passing were achieved with the help of some truly great humans who used their personal attributes in a professional realm:
Adrienne Mayes, Sally McDonald and Diego Villa (Medical Doctors) – sincere care and patient-centred support that went far above and beyond what words can express; team of women and men – too many to name – in the surgical ward (Registered Nurses); Hilary Smith, Ashley Beggs and Alexia Bidaman (Registered Nurses) in the chemo room (and others in that hospital hallway and blood clinic) who made the best of an undesirable situation; Carol Yamada, Deah Sutton and their colleagues (Pharmacists) who cared and provided dependable, organized knowledge; Nicole (Nikki) from Homecare (Registered Nurse) provided hands on care and support along with tools for patient independence. Special thanks to Donna’s friend Elaine Smart for being there every day, care from her neighbour-friends, all her family and beautiful family-friends who continued to make dates, drop by or call with well wishes. Donna’s community kept her living and then provided her the ability to make her own health, living and death choices. It was the best possible situation in one we wouldn’t have chosen; heart-felt thanks to all of you.
A graveside interment of Donna’s ashes will be announced and held at a later date. Obituary
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