Donald Fraser Smith, resident of Grande Prairie, passed away on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at the age of 95 years.
Donald was born on the family farm near Sexsmith on August 9, 1923 and lived the majority of his life there. He moved into Points West Living in Grande Prairie in October of 2012 where he lived until his passing.
He was educated until about Grade 6 in a one-room school house in Sexsmith. His early years were spent with his dad working the fields, raising cattle and pigs and eventually taking over the farm, which consisted of four quarter sections.
He met his wife-to-be, Jean, in Edmonton and, after a distant courtship and time enough to frame up a home, he brought her to the farm in June 1954 as his wife. They spent their early years working hard together on the farm and made local news when they flew out of Grande Prairie on CP Air for a trip to Hawaii in the early 60’s.
After 14 years of married life, to the astonishment of the community, Don and Jean were very proud and excited to announce the arrival of their daughter Donna Lynne in 1968, followed very shortly by Melodie Rose in 1969. They did a lot of travelling with their children and then, in later years, Don and Jean enjoyed travelling in their motorhome throughout Canada the US, living as Snowbirds in California, and seeing more distant places on various cruises. Don even made a trip to Australia in 1985 to visit his daughter Melodie who was living there and then, at age 82, went to Switzerland for Melodie’s wedding. In 1999, they welcomed their first granddaughter.
In his final years, after Don moved to Points West, his greatest joys in life were playing crib or Chinese checkers with his grandchildren (by then there were 7), teaching them to tie knots, and visiting the farm to ride around with them on his golf cart. He was lovingly cared for in Points West by his caregiver family and continued to tease them and joke with them until the final week before his passing.
Don was a jack-of-all-trades. He built his own house, including doing the plumbing and electrical using only hand tools, and he did most of the repairs and maintenance on the farm equipment. He spent many hours tending the vegetable garden and keeping the large yard free of weeds. He could be spotted on his hands and knees with a screwdriver digging dandelions out of the lawn. After he retired and the land was rented out, he was often seen checking out the fields to see how they were doing and removing the weeds by hand if necessary.
He will be forever loved by his daughter Donna (Robert) Debre and grandchildren Rebecca, Matthew, Rachael, and Mark of Sexsmith, AB; and daughter Melodie (Rene) Prem and grandchildren Naomi, Josiah, and Joshua of Maple Ridge, BC; as well as nieces, nephews and close family friends of many years.
He was predeceased by his loving wife of 49 years in August of 2003; three siblings: Sidney, Jean, and Roy; one special niece Heather; and one nephew.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at Points West for the wonderful, loving care that Dad received there.
There will be a private gathering held following cremation.
Memorial donations may be made to the Grande Prairie Hospice Palliative Care Society (Box 21215, Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 6W7).
Condolences may be sent by visiting www.oliversfuneralhome.com
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