THE ADVOCATE 87
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
he always made them feel as if they were old friends, and not simply
Don was also active in the community and would give his time to assist
whenever possible. No charitable organization, school group or sports club
that approached Don for a donation left empty-handed. He organized the
Smithers Bar Association Scholarship for a time and helped more than a few
local kids with their post-secondary educations. He enjoyed attending the
4H livestock auctions in the summer, and it was a standing practice of his
to run up the bids on the animals to ensure that the 4H kids got the best possible
price for their hard work. He didn’t care if he had to take home an extra
animal or two as a consequence.
Don sold his practice in 2016 and was finally able to spend more time pursuing
the other interests he had developed later in life, particularly his love
of sailing and travel. After Alison retired from nursing, they began to travel
more frequently, going on one adventure after another, each one greater
than the one before.
It came as a shock to everyone when, in February 2019, Don was diagnosed
with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The initial
prognosis was dire, and he was originally given a very short time to live.
But, against all odds, Don persevered and endured several rounds of treatment
and several surgeries in order to prolong his time with Alison and the
children. He had planned to take a sailing trip with his family in Mexico in
March 2020, but their travel plans were thwarted by COVID-19. Sadly, Don’s
condition began to worsen shortly thereafter, and it became clear that nothing
could be done to keep the illness at bay.
Don lived graciously and courageously with his illness, faced it squarely
and did everything he could to make the most of the time he had left with
his family. It was one of Don’s last wishes that that he might survive long
enough to see his daughter Rachel graduate from university. Thankfully for
Don, this wish came true. He passed away on June 11, 2020, surrounded by
his family, at the age of 55. He will be deeply missed by his family and those
closest to him.
This quote from Mark Twain was one of Don’s favourites and one he tried
to live by:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away
from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.