Donna Evelyn MOAD, 19452006 (aged 61 years)

Donna Evelyn /MOAD/
Given names
Donna Evelyn
Married name
Donna Evelyn /RIPLEY/
Birth August 5, 1945
Death September 2006 (aged 61 years)

Burial September 25, 2006 (0 after death)


Was the daughter of Charles Clifford MOAD and Ruby Evelyn Mitchell


Eulogy delivered by David Ripley

I’m not going to dwell on the disease that Donna went through but I am going to make a couple of comments about it and a couple of comments about the care givers. I am quoting from a book that I got on interlibrary loan. (One of the things I have asked for in lieu of flowers is a donation to Collingwood Public Library to develop a resource centre for people going through catastrophic illnesses. This book I hope will be part of the package.) Quoting from it, “ALS is generally such a rapidly progressive disorder that the patient and family members are continually discouraged by the appearance of new symptoms. The physician can also be subjected to feelings of frustration, depression and helplessness…” further down the paragraph…”It is important that the physician work with the patient and family to keep one step ahead of the game at all stages of the disease. This helps forestall crisis and the psychological disaster that could ensue.” It also goes on to saythat many physicians can not handle this disease well because there is nothing that can be done for it. There are two forms of the disease; Familial 9-12% of the people that get ALS get it by that means. The rest is an cause and an cure. A few physicians are so distressed by this disease that they do not want to see the person back in their office and can be very abrupt. Donna did run into one person like that. Fortunately our family physician was excellent and did tryto keep on top and he did warn me when Donna was first diagnosed that she would quite likely be gone within two years. People at the hospital I could name but I will probably overlook some, Joanne Walker, Kelly, Lynn, Patty (two), Blair, Tim. Donna was feeling very distressed one evening, we had received something in the mail reporting on the Jerry Lewis Telethon reporting on a California gentleman who has a 535 million dollar company selling physical fitness equipment and he has been diagnosed with ALS. He wondered what he had done wrong that God was punishing him for. This is exactly what Donna had said a couple of weeks ago. Joanne came in and spent some time counselling Donna and she gave us some bible passages that had beenimportant to her. I laminated Joanne’s card for Donna and referred to several times.

We have some very special friends that spent a lot of time [at the hospital]…I didn’t want to leave Donna unattended by family or friends if I could not be there. I was there as much as I possibly could. Marge Clute, Velma Cook, my cousin Lynne Reaume, Julie Tolles (Warrl) who is my first cousin (for those in genealogy my first cousin once removed) spent a lot of time with Donna and also our next door neighbour Helen Szuta. Also Dr Zinman at Sunnybrook was very kind.

Donna was very goal oriented. She grew up at a time when girls became either teachers or nurses and she went the teacher route. She did very well with that. Shortly after her second year as a teacher they asked her to take on student teachers inher classroom. She had a natural talent for it but she also worked tremendously hard at it. She also had a goal to do well with her music. She had her piano grade 13 credit when she went through high school but she wanted to improve her vocal skills so she got lessons up here from a charming lady in Thornbury. And she did get her Royal Conservatory Grade 8, which is equivalent to high school graduate level.

She was proud of her boys, she was proud to be my wife. Toward the end she would say she needed her grandchild. It would be arranged that Everett would call to say good night and Donna would beam. When they came up to visit, he is a pretty rambunctious little guy, and would come in and give Donna a hug and a kiss and then he would be off to ride the elevator and then come back for another hug and a kiss.

Another thing about her goals, I was fortunate that I was one of Donna’s ‘goals’. She asked me out to a Sadie Hawkins dance in high school and we have been together since then. Had we married earlier we would be on our 45th wedding anniversary. We just went by our parents wishes that we wait until I finished my course. So...I wrote my last exam on the last Friday in March and we married on the first Saturday in April.

The first job we had was with the Red Cross in Northern Ontario and we really considered that to be the start of our ‘Honeymoon’ and that Honeymoon has lasted 38 years. We were still enjoying it to the last. But an interesting story about thetime in the north. When we were up in Sioux Lookout all of our close relatives came up to see us once or twice. Aunt Bess, who was 96 when she passed and we had brought her to Collingwood to visit just before she passed away. At any rate, whenwe were up north Bess traveled by Train to visit us and a young lady named Wendy was doing an adventure to visit relatives in Calgary. While they were riding on the train sitting together they became casual friends as you do when you are traveling. Bess casually said if you ever have a problem, here is my address and phone number get in touch. Well, when Wendy was traveling back to England from her Calgary visit, the airplanes were on strike. A little after midnight Wendy called Bess and said what can I do? Bess said grab a taxi and come to the house and I will put you up until you can go. Bess and Wendy corresponded on a regular basis after that and Wendy and her new husband Paul visited her on a trip that brought them to Canada and Bess visited Boultons on some of her trips to England. Bess became legally blind and had lost touch with many of her friends. Bess asked Donna to write to let these people know she was alive and well and would like to hear how they were fairing. Donna started a pen pal arrangement with Wendy for Bess. Wendy would write to Bess and Bess would respond through Donna. The friendship between Wendy and Donna grew so much that they became best of friends. We have been over to visit them and they have been to visit us. Wendy was devastated when she heard of Donna’s illness. They couldn’t get over right away and planned to come over on October 20. This was a story Donna liked to tell because we have become such great friends as if it was just meant to be.

Donna loved her garden. If anybody got into our back yard it was like a park setting.

She also loved her doll collection. This leads us to another story. Donna has a museum quality collection of wonderful dolls. Part of that collection she got through a very close friend, Catherine Kerr. Donna was thrilled when Catherine moved to the area. Catherine had had a terrific job with the Civil Service representing Canada overseas. She was a wonderful person. In her retirement, she was into collecting and selling quality antique dolls and she would travel to doll shows. She had asked if Donna would help her at the shows. Coming back to Collingwood after having a terrific show in Oakville, Catherine was killed in a car accident. She had actually gotten out of the car to help someone who had gone into the ditch on theother side of the road. She was struck by a car going too fast for conditions. I can remember going into the house at lunch time, I was always able to go home for lunch, and finding Catherine and Donna sitting on the floor playing with dolls. Another side note to that is Rubie and Jack Ready in Manitoba were both good friends of Donna and Catherine through their interest in dolls.

Another vignette, Donna loved to travel and one of first trips to England we were able to travel to where her ancestors had lived. We were able to have a meal in a pub that was used by council when her ancestor represented the riding.

Another trip from England to Athens by cruise; Donna was thrilled to explore the ruins in Athens and especially the Acropolis. It was at the time of the Olympics [2004] and they had a group of people called ‘The nice ladies’. That was their actual title. They wore special yellow jackets and their job was to act as hosts and help anyone who appeared to need assistance. We had a wonderful conversation with an older woman who spoke eight languages. It was her observation that if we could get rid of the political nonsense, there was no difference from one person to the next and we were all likeable people wanting a good world for everyone. Donna felt the same way and liked that conversation.

She loved live theatre. We attended the local theatre and we supported the Mirvish shows by annual subscriptions. In the 17 years that we have attended the Mirvish shows there has only been one show that we walked out on. She did not like violence and she did not like humour that put people down. The show we left was ‘Dame Edna’. The entertainer was picking on audience participants. Donna found his humour too offensive. It was such put down humour that we left at intermission.

She loved going places with the airplane but the first time I took her for an airplane ride, I had gotten my license at about 10 in the morning and I took for a ride about 1 o’clock that afternoon. The wind had changed and it was awfully bumpy.It was like being on a roller coaster. I went out over the bay to get the calming affect of the water [No mechanical turbulence] but I knew I would have to come back over the land to get to the airport. Well I think the bottom fell out of the plane when we came back over land. It took quite a while before I got her back in the plane. Once we got over that she loved going places.

One of the last things she did, about six days before she was hospitalized, we had a wonderful trip with Marge and Wayne Clute, and we did a circle trip. It is a trip I always like to do; we traveled up the Bruce peninsula, across Manitoulin Island landing at Killarney for lunch. We spent a couple of hours there and then flew down the Parry Sound side. Donna enjoyed the meal. She enjoyed the company. It was one of those days that was meant to happen. We were both glad to have that timewith the Clutes.

I am going to finish, but if you come out to the reception, there are a lot of pictures and if I have a chance I will discuss them with you. There are pictures of her dogs. She got very attached to them and was devastated when they passed. When we were in England, there is a comedian and a crooner named Ken Dodd we heard. He has the reputation of being a wonderful entertainer. He is the Red Skelton of England. His humour is always clean. Not the sort of thing that would offend.Stage crews don’t like him because he will put on a show starting at 8 PM scheduled to end at 10 PM but if the audience is still laughing he will keep going and has been known to still be going at 4:00 the next morning. In one of his shows I have on DVD he says an optimist is a person who thinks they are going to be out by midnight. At any rate there is a song from that that Donna asked to be played at her funeral because she truly believed it represented her life:-

Ken Dodd singing “Happiness”

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed, with more than my share of happiness.

To me this world is a wonderful place. I’m the luckiest human in the human race. I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold. But I’ve got happiness in my soul.

Happiness to me is an ocean tide, a sunset fading on a mountainside. A big old heaven full of stars above, when I’m in the arms of the one I love.

Ooo… Happiness, Happiness, the greatest gift that I possess I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed, with more than my share of happiness. Happiness is field of grain turning its face to the falling rain. I see it in the sunshine, feel it in the air. Happiness, happiness everywhere

A wise old man told me one time, “Happiness is a frame of mind”. When you get to measuring a man’s success, don’t count money count happiness.

Ooo… Happiness, Happiness, the greatest gift that I possess I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed, with more than my share of happiness.

Ooo… Happiness, Happiness, the greatest gift that I possess I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed, with more than my share of happiness.

I got more than my share of happiness….

This is Ken Dodd’s signature song and a version of this song is sung at or in every performance he does. I was not able to find the sheet music for this song and the record and CD versions I have were imported from England via eBay