Donna Stahr-Smith

In Loving Memory

of

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba

February 25, 1938

Passed away in Sarnia, Ontario

October 27, 2017

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Obituary Announcement

 DONNA-JOAN STAHR-SMITH (née Neily)

 

Donna was born in St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, MB, on February 25, 1938 and passed away in her 80th year at Vision Nursing Home, Sarnia, ON. Donna and Lynda were the children of Donald Irving Neily and Marjory Adamson Gillies-Watt. At 19, she married her late husband, Donald Raymond Stahr, and they had three children together. In 1973, the family moved to Sarnia at Don’s transfer with Imperial Oil when he was 38 and she was 35 years of age. They felt they had been transported to heaven weather-wise, as the week they moved it was 35°F below in Winnipeg, and 35°F above in Sarnia! Although they missed being close to their beloved cottage at Clytie Bay, ON, and the many good friends they had made there, they managed to return for several summers to enjoy its wonder, harmony and beauty. Sadly, Don died in 1981 of heart disease at the age of 46. Her eldest, Mark Donald (then age 22) had just graduated from university, and her daughter, Marcia Lynda (age 20) was midway through; her youngest, Michael David, at 15, was still in high school when their father passed. Donna continued to live in Sarnia, and in March 1983 she married Christie Verdun Smith, who survives her. She spent the next years helping to raise Christie’s twin sons, Jason and Stephen, who became a part of her life when they were 8. Over the years, she also helped to raise her beloved niece, Patricia-Lynne. Being a mother to all of them was one of her greatest joys. Her family meant the utmost to her, with music and education running a close second. Given Christie’s passion for sailing, she joined him in this endeavour, and another grand adventure began, sailing 4 of the 5 Great Lakes over many enjoyable summers. An indomitable spirit with boundless joie de vivre, Donna found pleasure in everything she tried. She could easily light up a room with her 100 watt smile and twinkling eyes. Then there was her voice! A soaring soprano, she would enthrall all those who were lucky enough to hear her. Her singing career was varied and lengthy: it began with “the Good Deed Choir” in Winnipeg at the age of 4, followed by school choirs, the Elgar Choir in Vancouver, and then various high school choirs. In her late teens and twenties, an important part of her Winnipeg life was singing in the choir at John Black United Church, where her mother was a fellow choral member and Donna was most often the soloist. She sang as well with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and spent a few enjoyable summers in musicals at Rainbow Stage. After the move to Sarnia, Donna was known at Grace United Church by Rev. Dr. Mackenzie as “Our Singing Stahr.” She also sang for many years with the Melod-Y-Aires, the Polysar Glee Club, the Sarnia Symphony Singers and various church choirs, until the disease of Parkinson’s took away her voice and her ability to share playing the piano, dueting at church with Christie on the organ. “Mansion over the Hilltop” was one of their favourites. Mention must be made of her two dearest and oldest friends, Myrna Lewarne Loewen of Mississauga, born at the same hospital three days earlier than Donna, and Carol Elliot Mitchell, whom she met in Grade 3. They remained lifelong friends and were indeed among the treasures throughout the many chapters of Donna’s life. Donna was blessed by the angels at Vision (Danielle, Waverley, Michelle, Brenda, Paul, Don, Bridget, Stephanie and Nick), and also by Melanie, who was her caregiver and friend for 7 years. She fought a long, hard battle with Parkinson’s and spinal stenosis. She passed away from these and other complications on October 27, 2017. She is survived by her children, Mark (Kathy), Marcia and Michael (Cathy), Jason (Colleen) and Stephen (Julie) and niece Patricia (Charlie) and grandchildren: Jeffrey and Jillian; Lauren (Curtis), April and Michael; Nahanni and Tehya; Hunter and Keira; her grandnieces Mikayla and Jordyn, and her great-granddaughters, Lily and Skylar. Donna had long been a loving mother, stepmother, auntie, grandmother and great-grandmother and she took tremendous joy from the time spent with her extended family. These moments, either during their many visits or even via videochat, were some of the greatest delights of Donna’s life. Cremation has taken place, and Donna’s Celebration of Life service will be held at The Community of Christ Church, 1104 Leckie Drive (at Murphy Rd.) on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 1:00, with a light luncheon following. Let’s join together to reminisce about the magical joy that was Donna Stahr-Smith. She will be forever missed and remembered by the many who loved her. You may also leave remembrances and condolences to the family online in “Donna’s Guestbook” at mccormackfuneralhomesarnia.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Donna’s honour to the Parkinson’s Society of Southwestern Ontario (https://parkinsonsociety.ca/in-honour-gift/ or 888-851-7376) or to St. Joseph’s hospice in Sarnia (https://stjosephshospice.ca/?q=donations or 519 337-0537) 

Services

Visitation

Sunday November 19, 2017

Community of Christ Church

Prior to service time.

Funeral

Sunday November 19, 2017

Community of Christ Church

1 pm.

Disposition

 

Cremation

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254 George Street

Sarnia, Ontario  N7T 4P2

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