July 19, 1940 – June 7, 2020
It is with shock and sadness that her family announces the passing of Donna after a brief illness. She is survived by her husband, Paul; her children, Hugh (Janine), David (Ciara), Sarah (Peter), and Andrew; her grandchildren, Max, Ben, Sam, Killian, and Tiernan; her brother, Ron Cantelon (Shelley), and brother-in-law, Graham (Terrye); her nieces and nephews, Kevin, Amanda (Steph), Katrina, Katherine (Matt), Arthur, and Abigail; and her great-nephew, Shae, and her great-niece, Eliana. Donna was predeceased by her eldest son, Mark.
Donna was born in Winnipeg to Margaret and Arthur Cantelon, and her childhood was enlivened by her many cousins. A brilliant and creative woman, she graduated from Charleswood High School and the University of Manitoba before teaching high school mathematics. She was introduced to Paul in 1959, and 60 years of love and friendship followed. She supported him while he went through medical school, and then she chose to stay at home to raise their five children.
Donna made a wonderful home for her family, first on the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg and then on Departure Bay in Nanaimo. As a mature student, she attended Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University), where she studied art and art history. She especially loved pottery and painting, and her love of wildlife (particularly birds) provided a frequent subject for her work. She was a writer as well, and her stories continue to amuse her grandchildren. She enjoyed some amazing family trips in later life with her now-grown children, including France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and England.
We remember Donna for her unrelenting cheerfulness and good humour, even in the face of her illness. She had a silly streak and a quick wit; fortunately, both were passed along to her children and grandchildren. Her interest in people is reflected in the recollections of friends and family. She was, in the words of several family friends, someone you could talk to at any time.
Our thanks go to the attentive staff of the Nanaimo General Hospital, and particularly to the aides, nurses, and doctors of the Palliative Care Unit. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Mark Mitenko Scholarship Fund at either the Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation or the University of Victoria.
A celebration of Donna’s life will be held when possible.
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