Wednesday, March 22, 2023
March 22, 2023


Donalda Margaret (nee Gillis), died on Tuesday,

July 28, 2009, at Lady Minto Hospital, Salt Spring

Island. Donnie was born on July 11, 1929, at Port

Alberni, B.C., to Warren and Margaret Gillis (nee

Forster). The family lived on Vancouver Island

before settling in 1938 in Surrey, where both

Warren and Margaret had been born. Donnie

attended South Westminster Elementary School

and Queen Elizabeth Secondary School. She was

always an excellent student, shone in school dramatic presentations, and

in her fi nal year was elected student council president, the fi rst girl to hold

the post. She then attended U.B.C. and Provincial Normal School. Her fi rst

teaching position took her to a one-room school in Lund, B.C., where she

met and fell in love with George MacKenzie. They were married in 1951,

and embarked on the adventures of a lifetime together. George’s work in

the forest industry took them to a number of B.C. locations: Port McNeill,

Surrey, Penticton, Merritt, Greenwood, Burns Lake, Kitimat and Prince

George. Donnie raised the family, taught periodically and corresponded

prodigiously. After George’s retirement, they lived briefl y in Greenwood,

but following his early death in 1988 she lived in Surrey and Abbotsford.

In 1998 she moved to Salt Spring Island to share her life with Ray

Hill, whom she had known since Normal School days, and who with his

wife Beth had remained a lifelong friend. Donnie and Ray were keenly

interested in current events, both local and global, and enjoyed a mutual

pleasure in social events on Salt Spring. Both had experienced declining

health in recent months, and Ray’s death on May 28 preceded hers by only

a few weeks.

Donnie is survived by her sons Stewart (Colleen), Neil (Mary Beth), and

Andy (Cathy), and her daughter Leith Ridley, and their families. She is also

survived by her sister, Joan Parolin (Joe), & brother Ken Gillis.

A celebration of Donnie’s life will be held at First Memorial, 14835 Fraser

Highway, Surrey, at 2:00 on August 15, 2009.

If anyone so wishes, contributions in Donnie’s memory to Lady Minto

Hospital Foundation (135 Crofton Road, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 1T1)

would be accepted with gratitude, in lieu of flowers

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