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Born: Oct 04, 1913
Date of Passing: Oct 13, 2001Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
DONALD IAN "DON" MacDONALD "Dad," as he was known to Peggy, his loving wife of 60 years and to his seven loving children, "Humpa," as he was known to his loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren, passed away early on the morning of October 13, 2001, after a lengthy illness. He was born in Winnipeg on October 4, 1913, only son of Daniel Brown MacDonald and Mary Elizabeth Johnston. He is survived by his one sister, Mary Elizabeth MacDonald of Victoria, BC; by Peggy, his constant companion and always-caring wife; by his seven children, Wendy MacDonald, Dawne McCance (Robert), Sally Longstaffe (Bert), Jake MacDonald, Dan MacDonald (Deb), Peter MacDonald (Sherry), Mary Kate Harvie (John) by his twenty grandchildren, Mike Johnson (Marissa), Mae Johnson (Yves), Gareth Johnson, Stephanie Johnson, Carson McCance, Patrick McCance, Erin McCance (Rob), Scott Longstaffe, Heather Longstaffe, Jim Longstaffe, Rob Longstaffe, Caitlin MacDonald, Meghan MacDonald, Erin MacDonald, Kristin MacDonald, Lindsey MacDonald, Carling MacDonald, Duncan MacDonald, Helen Harvie, Peggy Harvie; and by his four great-grandchildren, Evan Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Julia Johnson and Daniel Goulet. Dad was born and raised in the Elmwood area of the city, attending Lord Selkirk and St. Johns Technical High Schools. He received a BA (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of Manitoba in 1935 and an MA from the University of Toronto in 1938. In 1939, he was appointed to a Royal Commission investigating the finances and administration of the City of Winnipeg. He then began a long and distinguished career in civil service, starting at the Winnipeg Electric Company, where he met Mom. They honeymooned at one of his favourite spots, LacLu, Ontario, which became so beloved a place that they eventually built a cottage there. Dads career was interrupted by service in the Canadian Navy from 1944-45. In 1955 he was named General Manager of the Greater Winnipeg Transit Commission. He was President of the Canadian Urban Transit Association in 1963, and was appointed Director of Streets and Transit for the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg in 1961. In 1969 he became Executive Director of Metro, then, with the formation of Unicity, he was appointed the first Chief Commissioner of the City of Winnipeg in 1971. In the ensuing years, he brought his distinctive and formative vision to City politics. Dad served in the position of Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Winnipeg from 1971 to his retirement in 1978. He remained active in retirement, continuing in his support of Rossbrook House, becoming Executive Director of the Manitoba Golf Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Ducks Unlimited (later a Director Emeritus), and of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. He also served on the 1986 Cherniak Committee reviewing the City of Winnipeg Act. He was a frequent guest writer to the Winnipeg Free Press on civic affairs. Dad loved the outdoors and, long before an environmentalist awareness arose in our culture, he taught us to love animals, especially our many horses and dogs, and to learn about, and listen to, nature. All of us who survive Dad will remember his affection for the country around LacLu, ON. He built the family cottage there himself, over the years, as we were born, one by one, and provided summer housing too for the hundreds of birds that lived in his hand-made birdhouses. The cottage was where we grew close to him and to Mom, always benefitting from their generosity to us. God bless you Mom and Dad, for all you have given us, for all you will give us as long as we live. You were never happier than when surrounded by all of your children and grandchildren. Dads profoundly intelligent respect for nature translated into his civic politics, most notably into his initiative to establish Winnipegs Assiniboine Forest, to acquire and preserve river parkland, and to reclaim and rejuvenate the area now known as The Forks. Dad also loved golf. He was a member of Pine Ridge Golf Club for 47 years. He was an avid fisherman and sportsman, and his son Jake has written many stories about his inspiring love for nature. Dad was a man of warm compassion. Any time any one of us was in trouble, he was there, in his offhand way, day by day, every day. Always wise, compassionate and patient, he was a man of the widest interests and of the deepest intellect, a definite leader. And he was greatly admired and respected by all he knew him well. He loved and he nurtured his family in a quiet and unequivocal way, Humpa, Dad, we thank you for your guidance. Cremation has taken place. A memorial mass will occur on Saturday October 20, at St. John Brebeuf Church, 1707 John Brebeuf at 11:00 a.m. The family would like to give special thanks to the staff of T5 at Deer Lodge Center, especially Gwen Leche, Dr. Narrandes and Dads many dedicated and compassionate caregivers over the past few years including Anibal Ramos, Gary Mousseau, Frank Cormier and Denis Veilfaure. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Deer Lodge Center Foundation or Rossbrook House. We love you Humpa, Dad. We will always miss you.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 17, 2001
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