Obituary and Eulogy for Donald Kenneth Taylor
Donald Kenneth Taylor
It is with great sadness that the family of Don Taylor announce his passing on November 3, 2020, at Douglas Campbell Lodge, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, at the age of 102. Left to mourn and forever cherish his memory are his loving children, Gary Taylor and Linda Taylor Gander, as well as extended family and friends. Don was predeceased by his loving wife of 66 years, Irene Taylor, in 2011, his parents, Elizabeth and William Taylor, stepmother Alice Taylor, sisters, Susan Parker and Gladys Tully, brother, Roy Taylor, and his son-in-law, Warren Gander.
Don grew up on the family farm in the Reaburn area and took his schooling at Reaburn School. After finishing his schooling, he purchased farm land in the Reaburn district. He cleared the land by hand and set up a farm site on one of the properties. He built a house on that farm site, just prior to his marriage; and in 1944, he married Irene Evers. Together, Don and Irene ran a successful mixed farming operation, for over 40 years. His tireless work ethic, strong mechanical aptitude, and ability to fix almost anything, served him well in farming. Don loved the farm life, and it was his life long passion. Even after his official retirement, he assisted Gary on the farm for over 22 years. He could still operate a combine at age 88 and really enjoyed doing so. In 2006, he and Irene moved to Windsor Park Estates in Portage la Prairie, and then in June, 2011, to Douglas Campbell Lodge.
As a husband and father, Don loved his family dearly and worked very hard to provide for them. He was very honest, and his word was his bond. He attended church regularly, at the Alliance and Baptist churches, until his later years, when he would watch the church services on television. Don’s Christian faith was what he based his life and values on, modeling those values for his family. Because of that faith, Don has now gone to his eternal heavenly home, to join his beloved wife, Irene.
A special thanks to the amazing, compassionate, and very talented staff of Douglas Campbell Lodge, for the great care and love shown to Don, and a special thanks to all the family and friends that visited Don, through the years. He greatly appreciated each visit.
His memory will live on in those that were fortunate enough to know and love him. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Douglas Campbell Lodge, 150 9th St. SE, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 3T6, or to a charity of choice.
Due to the covid pandemic Don’s family will celebrate his life privately.
Messages of condolences can be made online at www.omegafuneralhome.com
Eulogy for Donald Kenneth Taylor ~ by Linda Taylor Gander
It is very difficult to capture someone as special as Dad, in a few short minutes, but I hope I can give you a glimpse of the special man, husband, and father he was.
Donald KennethTaylor was born in the family home in Reaburn, Manitoba on August 3, 1918, to William and Elizabeth Taylor. He spent 88 years of his life living in the Reaburn district. Don had an older sister Susan Parker, an older brother, Roy Taylor, and a younger sister Gladys Tully, who have all predeceased him. Dad’s mother, Elizabeth, died when he was 10 years old, and sometime later, his Aunt Alice, Elizabeth’s sister, married William. She became mother to the children and helped raise them from that time on.
Dad always had a very special spot in his heart for his mother, whom he had loved dearly and held very fond memories of her in his heart. He also had fond memories of his “auntie and stepmother” whom he loved as well. He greatly appreciated what she did in becoming mother to her sister’s children. I could always sense some lingering sadness in Dad’s heart, from having lost his mother so young. He had had a lot of adjustments at such a young age to deal with, the most significant being deprived of his mother’s love and affection. Ironically, even though Dad’s mother died young at age 42, three of her four children lived to 94 or older. Dad’s father, William, died at age 93.
Dad attended Reaburn School, for his main formal schooling. For his first few years of school, he walked 5 miles a day to go to and from school. This would have been when he was as young as 6 years of age. When he was around 10, he drove himself and his sister Gladys to school, with a horse and buggy.
After completing his schooling, he worked for his dad on the family farm. Subsequently, he purchased two quarter sections of land in the Reaburn district, a couple of miles from his dad’s farm, which he cleared by hand. He chopped many a cord of wood by hand. The wood was used for heating his home. On one of the properties he later built a house, which was to be the home and property that he and Mom lived on for over 60 years. He later added to the initial two room house he built. I am not certain where his carpentry skills were learned. He did not profess to be a carpenter, but the house did hold together for over 42 years. In their earliest days on the farm, Mom and Dad went from the use of an out house and coal oil lamp, to modern plumbing and electricity.
Mom, the former Irene Evers, and Dad had gone to school together for a few years in the Reaburn School, after Mom’s parents moved to Reaburn. They had bought property in the Reaburn district. Mom had taken her earlier schooling at private schools in Winnipeg. After completing her final years of schooling in Reaburn, Mom moved back to Winnipeg for employment and to work for Eaton’s, for a few years. She and Dad started to date around the time she worked at Eaton’s. Dad knew a treasure when he saw it. He felt Irene would make a wonderful wife and mother, and he was very right.
Don married, Irene Evers, on December 2, 1944, and they were married for exactly 66 years and 11 months. Their first mode of transportation was in Don’s 1934 Coupe car.
Together with Mom, Dad raised their 2 children, Gary and me, and was Mom’s husband and partner in running their successful farm operation for over 40 years. Subsequently, they spent 22 additional years, assisting Gary in the farm operation. They never had the impression they were too old to do things. When they both were close to 70, they built a brand new home and enjoyed living in it for 20 years. Downsizing was not in their vocabulary. They never thought they were too old, to do anything they had the ability to do. Dad and Mom worked very hard over the 62 years they were on the farm, but it was a life they both loved.
Dad had started married life, with 2 quarter sections of land, about 20 head of cattle, a couple of horses, and a few chickens. Of course, there were always a dog and some cats, to keep the farm yard fun and interesting. Dad always enjoyed petting the dogs or cats and having a little chat with them. He especially enjoyed the German shepherd dogs. After a few years, Mom and Dad got into the poultry business, and eventually had over 600 chickens. They sold eggs to numerous customers, both in Manitoba and Ontario.
Approximately 14 years later, the sound of clucks turned to squeals and oinks. They decided to get out of the egg business and into the hog business. That became the main stay of the farm operation on the animal side, which meant the building of larger barns, as well as adding more farm land, for a combined grain and hog operation.
Dad spent countless hours working in the barns, in the farm yard, and doing field work, over the 62 years on the farm. The physical work he could do, even throughout his later years on the farm, was incredible. He had the ability, determination, and patience to fix or mend almost anything on the farm, which included veterinary type operations. The expression “Where there is a will, there is a way” certainly exemplified how Dad tackled problems. He was still able to climb up on and run a combine at the age of 88 and very much wanted to do so. Farming was his lifelong passion. He never wished he had done anything else, which is a wonderful testament to the fact that he had chosen the right career.
Dad contributed to the community in whatever way he could. He served as a school trustee and secretary treasurer, as well as treasurer for his church, in his younger days.
At 40 years of age, he came close to being killed, when he fell through the attic of the Reaburn School onto hardwood flooring, while he was putting insulation in the attic. He suffered a broken knee cap and much pain, but obviously it was not his time to die. From all the farm work, he suffered the usual cuts, scrapes, bruises, and bites, but miraculously never lost any body parts.
After he “officially” retired at 65, and Gary took over the farm, he continued to be a tremendous help to Gary. He was an invaluable mentor and assistant. However, he also felt very fortunate that he could still have his hand in the farm operation with his son and pick and choose what he wanted to do, without the responsibility of being in charge. It was a wonderful mutually beneficial relationship that few fathers and sons get to enjoy.
In the hobby area, Dad liked to do carpentry projects and spent quite a few hours building or fixing different things. He even built 4 four seater swings, with platforms, without a pattern. They worked well and were enjoyed by many. Mom was the primary gardener in the family, but Dad assisted wherever he could. He was usually in charge of tilling and debugging potatoes. He looked after his last garden at age 93, at Windsor Park Estates.
Mom and Dad did some travelling in their retirement years, taking coach tours to the east and west coasts, in both Canada and the United States. They even got to cruise to the Bahamas, on one of their tours. They also did some shorter motor trips together. Many happy memories and friends were made from those trips.
After over 62 years on the family farm, in November, 2006, Dad moved with Mom to Windsor Park Estates in Portage la Prairie. He missed the farm, but quickly adjusted to his new home and enjoyed the new friends they made there. Dad was grateful to Jim and Mary Hayes for the beautiful retirement condo complex they established, as well as for their friendship.
During that time and just past his 90th birthday, Dad had to relinquish his driver’s license, because of his failing eyesight. Being the determined man he always was, that was not going to deter him from his independence. It was not long before he had purchased a scooter, and off he went again. He would sometimes travel to the west end of Portage from Windsor Park Estates on his scooter, probably to the chagrin of a few car drivers.
Dad lived at his condo until June, 2011. He moved into Douglas Campbell Lodge on June 27, 2011 and lived there until his passing, on November 3, 2020. He spent over nine years at Douglas Campbell Lodge. He was cared for by the amazing staff and enjoyed many activities and outings, through his time there. We greatly appreciate each staff member at DCL, who did their very best to make Dad’s days healthy, happy, and safe.
In the last few years, the quality of his life diminished, as he could no longer see to read or do very much, but he always did his best to cope with whatever situation came his way. He greatly appreciated, as did we, the many times Mary Nikkel came to visit him and read scripture. She was such a blessing. We also are very appreciative, to all the family and friends, who visited Dad through his years, at Douglas Campbell Lodge. He enjoyed each visit.
Whatever Dad undertook, his word was his bond. He governed his life by the traits of his faith in God and Biblical teachings, hard work, loyalty, honesty, and integrity. He instilled in us those traits, through the example of his life. The world is a better place because of him.
Along with Mom and Dad, Gary and I attended the Alliance and Baptist churches, for many years. Gary and I both feel that the greatest gift Mom and Dad gave us was that they took us to church as children and gave us such a strong Christian foundation. They lead by example. Actions spoke louder than words. Dad loved to read his Bible and did so until his eyesight would not allow him to see the words any longer. That was a sad day for him.
It was always evident to us that Dad was proud of his family. Dad, Gary, and I shared a wonderful strong love and friendship. We could talk about a lot of different things and shared many interests. Dad loved us unconditionally. Warren, my late husband, also shared a special friendship and love with Don. They did many projects together and especially enjoyed the carpentry and painting projects they did together, at the cottage at Clear Lake.
When Warren died so suddenly, Dad was deeply saddened, to lose his special son-in-law and friend. In his own way he tried to comfort me. One of the things Dad told me was that I should never quit or give up, but that I must carry on. Dad lived his life by the motto of never giving up or quitting.
As stated earlier, Mom and Dad were married for almost 67 years. Not too many marriages have that kind of longevity. They shared an amazing love, life, partnership, and legacy together. They were of the generation that knew how to work hard, their word was their bond, and if they didn’t do it, it didn’t get done. There was no such thing as quitting, and they relied totally on their own resources to make a living.
Mom always loved and took care of Dad, and he always loved and took care of Mom. Dad faithfully looked after Mom in the last months of her life, sometimes sitting with her for hours, to make sure she was okay. His great love for her was very evident. Mom passed away on November 2, 2011. Dad lost the love of his life and certainly grieved for her and missed her deeply. He remembered and spoke of her so fondly, often recalling their life together and what a wonderful wife she had been for him.
As Dad was a Christian man, based on the Biblical teachings and Dad’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, we believe he has now gone to his eternal, glorious heavenly home. To quote the Bible, For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
There is no doubt, Gary, and I will miss him so very much, and there will be a huge void in our lives that will never be filled. He and Mom were our gifts from God. However, we have joy and peace in our hearts knowing he is now in the glories of heaven, never to experience suffering or pain again. When Mom had suffered sadness or loss, she would often say “life must go on”, so that is what we must do, until it is our turn to join Mom, Dad and Warren, for all of eternity in heaven.
We will always love and remember him, and he will be forever in our hearts.
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