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Born: Dec 28, 1944

Date of Passing: Feb 03, 2021

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Early on February 3, 2021, at St. Boniface Hospital, and surrounded by her family, Heather passed away after a courageous, stoic and inspiring 14-year battle with cancer.
The older daughter of the late Lloyd and Marion (Hostrawser) McDonald, Heather is survived by her beloved husband of 53 years, Philip, son Michael (Joanna), daughter Kelly (Gordon), son Andrew (Tammy), and her treasured grandchildren, Olivia, Cameron, Owen and Anya. She also leaves to mourn her younger sister Gwenn (Allan), nieces, Wendy and Annie, nephew Duncan, and cherished cousin Ted (Janice) along with his family.
Mom was born in Port Colborne on December 28, 1944. She and Gwenn enjoyed a childhood full of family and friends all over southern Ontario (God's Country as she often described), particularly at her grandfather's farm. The new INCO mine brought their family north to Thompson in 1960. After adjusting to their new surroundings, she met Dad in high school, and they spent almost all the next 61 years together. Mom earned her teaching certificate in 1964, teaching at elementary schools in Winnipeg and then Montreal until she took leave to raise her family. Work brought Mom and Dad back to Winnipeg in 1976 and she eventually returned to teaching in the 1980s as a resource aide helping students with special needs. She was active for over 30 years supporting women's education through P.E.O. and as a member of the congregation at Charleswood United Church, serving many roles.
Throughout her entire life, Mom was never one to complain, laze around, or fade in the face of a challenge. She was a lover of animals with many pets through all her years. She made her own clothes, drove rally cars, became a seasoned gardener, camped in any weather, and loved to cook for everyone and then play games after dinner. Mom travelled extensively with her constant companion Dad, often accompanied by close friends, Sheila and Hugh or Denis and Hilda. She dearly loved to watch (and loudly support!) her children or grandchildren compete in swimming, hockey, soccer, volleyball and basketball. After building the cottage on Spruce Lake in 1997, they welcomed any and all every summer to their lakeside paradise - Mom loved to entertain. She instilled in us the skills of life, proud devotion to family, taught us to never back down from any obstacle or wallow in self-pity, and most importantly that there is always room at the table for one more and to always share in our good fortune.
It was unsurprising then that Mom took cancer head on and never once admitted defeat. While supporting her every move, we were constantly in awe of her grace, tenacity, and strength. She was helped though every step of this battle by Dr. Andrew Maksymiuk and nurses Pat and MacKenzie at CancerCare Manitoba and we will never be able to thank them enough. And though her time was short in Palliative Care, we received outstanding support from them in her last days.
We are choosing to delay our celebration of Mom's life until such time as we can all gather together.
In lieu of flowers, please support a local charity of your choice or donate to CancerCare Manitoba.

Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 06, 2021

Condolences & Memories (21 entries)

  • Phil, please accept Heidi's and my sincere condolences on your loss. - Posted by: Dave Summerton (SU) (Work friend) on: Feb 07, 2023

  • Just read of Heather's passing Phil. Condolences my long-ago friend. Many fond memories from Montreal in the early 70s. You two and Denis and Hilda Ripley are forever in my memories. Ian - Posted by: Ian Ridpath (Friend from long ago) on: Oct 26, 2021

  • Please accept my condolences Phil. Be strong. - Posted by: Luc Salvador (work friend ) on: Feb 19, 2021

  • Phil, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. The obituary expressed so well and lovingly the magnitude of your loss. Please accept my deepest, heart-felt sympathy. You are in my thoughts and prayers. (Joseph Russo, work colleague) - Posted by: Joseph Russo (Work Colleague, Montreal & Vancouver ) on: Feb 18, 2021

  • My deepest condolences to Phil and family on the passing of Heather. During this difficult time, may the many years of wonderful memories bring you comfort and peace in the days ahead. - Posted by: Brenda Staples (daughter of Air Traffic Controller) on: Feb 11, 2021

  • Phil, Michael, Kelly, Andrew our heart is with you during this painful time of loss and grief. It is the most difficult chapter of life losing close family you have a lifetime bond with. Cherish the memories, and hold your family close. She will be missed. Jason, Michelle, Dave and Colleen. - Posted by: Jason and Michelle English, Dave English, Colleen English (Former Neighbour, friend) on: Feb 11, 2021

  • Our condolences to the Family. Heather will be missed. I was speaking with Darwyn Samuels who said that we are losing many of our small Thompson School class of 1959-1960 and Heather was a part of that group! - Posted by: David and Thelma Armstrong (Friends) on: Feb 09, 2021

  • So sorry to hear of your loss Phil. Offering my condolences and prayers. Stay strong. - Posted by: Ron Chase (Phil’s work friend.) on: Feb 08, 2021

  • Phil, Michael, Kelley and Andrew. My family and I are deeply sorry for your loss. Heather was my godmother but was always an aunty to me. May she rest in peace. Love you forever Heather. - Posted by: Chris Ripley (God son) on: Feb 07, 2021

  • So sorry to hear of your loss Phil. Offering my condolences. - Posted by: Glenn Schwartz (old friend/colleague) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • My sincere condolences Phil to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time - Posted by: Donald Spurrill (Friend) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Heather was a beautiful friend in our teenage years in Thompson, Manitoba . She and her sister Gwen plus you Phil were all part of the tapestry of our life in the frontier. When I read her obituary, it looked as if she had a wonderful, wonderful full life. I am sorry we missed the latter years. Our best to you Phil and to your family. Love George and Cheryl Bell. - Posted by: Cheryl and George Bell (Childhood friends ) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Phil, please accept my condolences for your distressing loss. Enjoy your memories, and your family. - Posted by: John Aspinall (Work friend.) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • The Watson family has known the McDonalds since the 1950s and Heather attended Bill & Candy's wedding in Winnipeg, Feb. 14, 1967. She & Phil married the same year and we re-connected in Montreal at the end of Expo '67. Heather was one of a kind and the world feels a little colder with her passing. But...the warmth of good memories of Heather will always gladden our hearts and make us thankful that we knew her. - Posted by: Bill & Candy Watspm (Long-time friends) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • My condolences to Heather’s family. I knew Heather as a teenager in Thompson. We were all we a close knit family in the early days as teens in Thompson. She was always admired. Dianne Bindle Dick - Posted by: Dianne Dick (Friend ) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • That is a fabulous obituary for an obviously fabulous person who seized the gift of life and lived it to the full. Although I never met Heather, I heard Phil frequently mention her name, and always in the most loving and respectful way. Having now lost both my parents, and both of those of my wife of 44 years, I am keenly aware of the pain of separation. Fortunately, we have indelible memories and fortuitous dreams to stay forever connected. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Heather. - Posted by: Mike Murphy (colleague of husband Phil) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • I was deeply saddened to learn of Heather's passing. I have nothing but good memories of the days I worked with her at Charleswood Junior High. She will be missed by everyone who knew and loved her. - Posted by: Mary Ellen Young (Good Friend & former co-worker) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Heather (and Phil) have been long time acquaintances from our church. Heather fought hard through her years battling cancer. I pray that she passed peacefully. My heart goes out to Phil and her family as you struggle to cope in the days ahead. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Rest In Peace Heather. - Posted by: CORALIE BORNAIS (Church friend) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Phil and family. My condolences to you all on the passing of your lovely Wife and Mom. I will miss my chats with her as she gardened and all the knowledge she shared with me about different plants and flowers. It was a passion for her and was evident every summer when her garden was in full bloom. RIP Heather. - Posted by: elaine modjeski (Neighbour) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Our family condolences to Phil, Mike Kelly Andrew and your families. May God give you strength to see you through these difficult times. With sincere sympathy Daina Dean and family - Posted by: Daina Gagne ( Miller) (Neighbour for over 35 years) on: Feb 06, 2021

  • Philip and Family: I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of Heather, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I always looked forward to spend a few minutes chatting with both of you during intermission at PTE. I will make a donation in Heather's memory at Central Plains (Portage) Cancer Services. - Posted by: Ray Taillon (Friend from PTE) on: Feb 06, 2021

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