March 2, 1938 – October 4, 2021
Born in Victoria BC to Ray and Iris Wooldridge, Donna started a long and rewarding life in the flower business. She began working on the family bulb farm in Brentwood at 8 years old, and by the ripe age of 11, ran a crew of half a dozen farm hands growing daffodils. No stranger to a good day’s work, for a short while Donna was employed as a teller by the Bank of Montreal.
She met Larry (Laurence) Combs in her late teens and it wasn’t long before they had a family of 3 boys and a girl. To expand the family farm, in 1967 the troupe moved up Island to Cowichan Station, where a river ran through it. It was here along the Koksilah River, her children of a mink rancher, grew up in paradise.
When it was time to let the kids have free reign of the countryside (far too young by today’s standards) Donna pursued her passion for growing flowers. She created a lush landscape and bountiful garden all around the house on the hill.
In due time and following her roots, Donna returned to the workforce in flowers and plants landing employment at the well-established Floral Art Shop. Having the opportunity to blossom her talents, it did not take long to discover she had a natural flair for floral design.
In the early 80’s Donna met Ray McKinnon, her soon to be second husband, the father of the bride at the wedding of her son. By the late 80’s, staying in foliage, Donna transitioned from retail to Wholesale. She partnered with the team of Pacific Flowers (mom, dad and sister’s family business); a leading force serving the needs of florist shops and retail outlets on Vancouver Island, with an operating staff of over 20 persons.
Donna’s role of delivering plants and flowers to north island locations (Campbell River and Comox, including Port Hardy, Thasis, Zeballos and Gold River in a 1 ton truck based out of Victoria), earned the respect of big rig drivers who shared the same routes and stops.
With a husband, partner, navigator, co-pilot, and relief driver, Donna and Ray turned work into an adventure traveling up and down Vancouver Island, through good weather and bad. Their adventures continued to play time as well, and together they explored many distant locations around the world.
But above all, Donna will be remembered for her passion for gardening and landscaping. In her mind, no project was too large. Her home and acreage in Cobble Hill gave her so much pride and joy that cancer was simply an unwelcome nuisance. Donna passed away peacefully at home with family at her side.
Donna was predeceased by her parents, Ray and Iris Wooldridge and both her husbands Laurence (Larry) and Ray.
She is survived by her sister Joan, children Dale (Kathleen), Terry (Carol), Barry (Julie), and Pam; as well as nine grandchildren, five great grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
At Donna’s request there will not be a funeral service, but the family hopes to plan a celebration of life at a later date.
The family would like to thank Donna’s health support team: her doctors, her community of nurses and Cowichan home support care workers, for making possible Donna’s wish to remain in her home. Their care and devotion cannot be understated. Thank you.
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