Notices are posted by 10 am Monday through Saturday
Date of Passing: Sep 12, 2019Offer Condolences or Memory
Her memory will be forever cherished by her dearly loved son Terry; beautiful granddaughters, Abby (Tyler) and Lily; their mother Barb; sister Judy (Jack); brothers, Brian (Linda) and Ted (Sharon); nieces, Kelly (Lindsay) and Dale; nephews, Bari (Shannon) and Jeff (Stephanie); grandnieces and nephew, Grace, Taylor, Avery and Jack; and lifelong friends, Eunice and Mo. Also missing her is her loyal dog, Lola. Donna had many cousins, co-workers and friends that meant the world to her.
Donna grew up in Elmwood and attended Elmwood High. Fresh out of school, Donna and her pals moved to Vancouver to enjoy life and spread their wings. After many years in Vancouver, she returned home and eventually settled in Transcona with her son where she remained for all these years. In the 1970s, as a single mom and sole parent to her beloved son, Terry, she was the only woman in a sea of men at the annual hockey Dad's dinner. The following year, all moms were invited, much to Donna's delight. This was quintessential Donna.
Donna worked at Safeway, Eaton's and her beloved Hudson's Bay (downtown) where she made many friends and many purchases. As fate would have it, in 1972, Grandma Helene pointed out a newspaper ad for a switchboard operator at CBC and the rest was history. Donna quickly rose through the ranks and eventually became an HR Consultant to the Manager of Human Resources for the Manitoba Region. When the Regional Director for Manitoba took on the added responsibility for the Alberta and Saskatchewan regions, Donna was her trusted second in command. Donna spent the last two years of her career at CBC in Toronto when she appointed Chief of Staff to the Vice-President of English Radio. She was involved in many ground-breaking initiatives at CBC. She retired in 2008. Throughout her accomplished career, Donna was never impressed by titles or power. She was always guided by her evaluation of the person with whom she worked. She fought for the average employee and made great effort to ensure each person was treated fairly, even when the news was bad. She thrived on complex problems and dedicated herself to protecting programming through rounds of punishing cuts. At these and all times, Donna always had innovative strategies. Phrases like "let me convince you" and "let me think about it" were her mantras as she fashioned unique solutions for her bosses. She was a mentor, an advocate, and a brilliant, indispensable strategist. She loved her job and the people she worked with. When her family would tease her she would be quick to jokingly remind them of her "status" at CBC. It didn't help.
Donna was a complex, accomplished woman. Courageous. Unflinching. Incredibly funny and quick to laugh. Tough when needed. Always kind. Donna enjoyed her casino outings, trips to Grand Forks, Thief River Falls, and Disneyworld with her family and friends, as well as her bucket list trip to Europe with Eunice. She always referred to it as "the trip of a lifetime". Donna was a story-teller. Her tales were legendary and will be told for generations to come. Family gatherings will never be the same.
Very special thanks to Barb (for keeping your promise), Eunice and Jeff for your help, and to her loving family for surrounding her with love. She was grateful. The family also wishes to acknowledge the expertise and compassion of the Palliative Care Ward at St. Boniface Hospital - particularly nurses, Ashleigh, Colleen and Brittany.
A private family service has taken place. Online condolences may be sent to Voyage Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) or the Winnipeg Humane Society.
"Couldn't cook, didn't care...."
- Donna Turzak
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 21, 2019
Condolences & Memories (13 entries)
Ken and I were both shocked and saddened to hear of Donna’s passing, and offer our heartfelt condolences to all the family. Ken and Donna were elementary school classmates at Sir Sam Steele School and we all attended high school together. Donna and I grew up as teenagers on Eaton Street as next-door neighbours. I remember admiring Donna‘s dancing (jiving) skills as well as her tasteful dress. She was always impeccably coiffed/dressed except on the day I talked her into going by car, in her pajamas and with rollers in her hair, to pick up pizza at the only pizza place in Winnipeg on Donald Street. Little did we know that Michael Hopkins, CKY radio, would be broadcasting an accident on the Disraeli Bridge. It was a snowy day at the beginning of May and he was stopped just over the second rise of the freeway. I swerved to avoid the collision, as we heard him say,” Oh my God, I’ve been hit!” There we were...on display on the freeway and subsequently at the police station on Rupert Avenue. Donna offered to call my parents to relate what had happened. As it turns out, my Mom had heard the accident being broadcast, just as we had. I always felt so badly that I had talked Donna into going in the car in her pajamas, yet she was so calm and reassuring throughout the whole commotion… Cool as a cucumber and not phased by adversity. These qualities served her well throughout her life! Although we lost touch over the years, I always had a special place in my heart for Donna. She was a kind and loving soul, with a wonderful sense of humor. She always made me laugh. Her love of family and friends was exemplary! Rest in peace dear heart... You are gone from this world but your legacy of love lives on! - Posted by: Ken and Linda (Peters)Boughton (Classmate, Neighbour and Friend) on: Sep 29, 2019
Donna was truly a force. Strong, ethical, brave, opinionated (always), incredibly smart with sharp instincts and a crazy sense of humour. She was my most trusted friend and mentor. Even though we lived far apart, imagining this world without her stories that left me laughing uncontrollably, her insights which always helped me see a situation more clearly, and of course her advice on everything whether I wanted it or not, leaves a huge void in my own life. I will miss you Donna, my dear, beautiful friend. And to those special people who she loved above all others - her son, Terry and granddaughters, Abby and Lily - I send my deepest condolences. - Posted by: Jane Chalmers (Friend) on: Sep 29, 2019
Donna and I met when she was 14 and I was 15 and I became a fixture in her home for many many years, our adventures too numerous for publication! She was the sister I never had and although we have been separated by time and space I love her still and the bond is not broken when one of us dies. - Posted by: Joanne Castello (Best friend as teen and long after ) on: Sep 25, 2019
My condolences to the Turzak family. I was a friend of Donna`s from Elmwood. Although we did not keep in touch over the years, I would often think of Donna and her wonderful smile and sense of humour. I am pleased to learn that she had a loving family and a successful career. Rest in Peace Donna. - Posted by: Gail Rau (childhood friend) on: Sep 24, 2019
Donna was my mentor when I was younger. I always thought how beautiful she was and I wanted to grow up and be just like her. Condolences to her family. - Posted by: Maureen Quinn (Cox) (Cousin ) on: Sep 22, 2019
Beautiful smile, Beautiful picture, Beautiful person! My condolences to her family - Posted by: Bunnie Haywood (Cousin ) on: Sep 22, 2019
Condolences Terry, Abby, Lily and the rest of the family. We had happy times watching our girls grow up. I'm glad we remained friends - Posted by: JANET SMITH (friend) on: Sep 21, 2019
I was a friend of Donna's in Elmwood many years ago. We lost touch but I have some good memories. It is great to read she had such a good life and successful career. Sorry to hear of another member of "the old gang" no longer with us. - Posted by: Mel Inglis (Friend) on: Sep 21, 2019
Will always cherish her big smile and tight hugs, she will be sadly missed but never forgotten. - Posted by: Debra Kosowan (Friend of family ) on: Sep 21, 2019
Met Donna many years ago at CBC in Winnipeg...and have fond memories of our many chats. - Posted by: Ms Frankie Glickman (CBC colleague) on: Sep 21, 2019
It was with very great sadness that I learned of Donna’s passing. We always had so much fun together growing up, either at the Turczak house, Winnipeg Beach, Beausejour, or family gatherings - such wonderful memories which I will never forget. I am sending sincere condolences to her whole family. She certainly has left a void in their lives and will always be remembered. Love to all the family. Linda Clancy xxxxxooooo - Posted by: Linda Clancy (Cousin) on: Sep 21, 2019
On behalf of all former students and staff of Elmwood High School, I'd like to express our condolences on your loss. Thank you for mentioning Elmwood High in the obituary. I'm sure some of her classmates will read this and recall her with fondness. We will add her name to our In Memoriam list, so that she will be honoured and remembered. Again, our sympathies to the family from the Elmwood High School Alumni. - Posted by: Colleen Armstrong (President of Elmwood High School Legacy Fund) on: Sep 21, 2019
My friend, my mentor, my North Star. We became friends quickly upon first meeting each other. Her wise counsel guided me through many dilemmas. Her humour helped me see past the hiccups of life. Her gentle soul was evident with her grandchildren and the dogs I inserted into her life now and then. When I would make the drive to Calgary from Ottawa and back again over several years, the highlight of that long trip was knowing I’d spend time with my dear Donna and her wonderful family during my journey. My life journey was so much better because of her love and friendship. With her passing, I will continue to ask myself - what would Donna do? What would Donna say? I will miss her more than I can say. Love Kathleen - Posted by: Kathleen Petty (Friend ) on: Sep 21, 2019
Sign up for free email alerts of new obituaries for specific people, towns & more.