Donna Darlene Thomas
It is with immense sadness that the family of Donna Darlene Thomas, age 63, of Wallbrook, announce her peaceful passing on Sunday, November 13, 2022 in Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville, Nova Scotia.
Born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Donna spent her early years growing up in Waverly, just outside of Dartmouth, NS. She was a daughter of the late Donald and Carlene (Miller) Spears.
In her teens Donna’s family moved back to Pictou County, where she met her best friend and devoted husband Robert "Bob" in high school, which began 47 years of a loving relationship between two soul mates.
After graduating from West Pictou High School, Donna attended the NS College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, and finished her formal studies with a double degree in Sociology and Education from Dalhousie University, all the while working 2 and 3 part-time jobs as a young wife. Anyone who met Donna quickly learned that she did nothing "half measure". Her drive, creativity and devotion to family were the hallmarks of a long and fruitful life.
After 4 years living and working in Halifax/Dartmouth, life took them to Hantsport where her love for the Annapolis Valley was cultivated and this became her second home. As a teacher Donna taught at the Hantsport School which she loved, but with limited teaching positions her entrepreneurial spirit was re-kindled, and she and a good friend opened the Crimson & Clover Gift Shop and Tea Room. Here two of her favourite hobbies came together, cooking and crafts/giftware.
As a business owner she became active in local economic development and renewal which eventually led her to tourism where she served as Executive Director for the Evangeline Tourism Association. In this position she loved to travel and promote the Valley to many places up and down the US Eastern Seaboard as well as Upper Canada. Donna loved adventure.
Then, when you thought it couldn’t be busier, her life took a turn for something even better as she became a mom for the first time after 15 years of marriage. This was her true calling, and she was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom to 4 beautiful children that quickly became the most challenging, loving and fulfilling role of her life – a dream come true!
It wasn’t long before Donna and Bob decided they needed a larger home for this growing family and they moved to the Gaspereau Valley in 2000 to raise their family in a beautiful rural setting along the Gaspereau River. Though the ensuing busy years as "CEO of the house" Donna still found time to teach Sunday School at St. John’s Anglican Church in Wolfville, contribute to many bake sales, make costumes for her children and others, home renovations and gardening. She loved to garden and you would often find her tending to plants, either inside or outside of the house. On top of all that Donna was a valued advisor and Manager of Special Projects for Bob’s software business, a position she constantly hoped to be fired from.
Sadly, Donna’s life changed drastically after her car accident in 2010, leaving her physically disabled. Did she let that stop her? No. After a long recovery her drive and passion were renewed as she wasn’t long taking a full credit course in landscape design from Ryerson in Toronto.
However, family continued to be her primary focus and she and Bob returned "back home" to Pictou County as often as possible to visit with her Mom, sister and brother as well as Bob’s dad.
In recent years Donna continued her creative interests and turned her hand to several new crafting hobbies including repurposing old jewelry pieces to make necklaces and bracelets, a newfound passion, making old things sparkle like new. When Donna did rest, you could find her basking in the sun with her kitty companion Winnie, or cuddling with her dog, who she loved dearly, Bella.
Although Covid slowed her down a bit and she couldn’t go out often, the many phone calls, texts and Facetimes with family and friends kept her sane. She especially loved Facetiming with her great nieces and nephews who brought much joy and love into her life. More recently, she rekindled relationships with many childhood friends through social media and drew on this energy to help her through the more challenging days.
But above all she continued to be devoted to her grown children and her grandson, Merrick. She was proud to watch them grow into wonderful caring young adults each with a strong work ethic and their own zest for life. Although her mobility issues limited her in many ways and she always wanted to do more, she truly felt content that she had done her job as Mom to her 4 "miracle" kids.
Despite her many health challenges she never stopped learning and creating. Donna was resilient. She was passionate. She was so funny your cheeks would hurt after an afternoon with her. Donna loved to host parties and cook and was an amazing baker. She would welcome anyone into her home for a warm meal, and a place to rest their head. But she truly was a jack of all trades, and she would give absolutely anything a try, at least once. Most importantly, she was this genuine, selfless, beautiful woman who was given an incredibly tough battle and turned it into a joyful, beautiful life. Full of laughter and love, she gave people all around her motivation, inspiration, but above all else, hope. Donna was fearless until her last moments with her family.
Of course, she could not do all this without the help and support from her extended family, honorary family members to whom she was known as "Aunt Donna", special friends (and you know who you are), medical support staff and some of the best caregivers she could have hoped for. This was especially true in recent months where she had the right people for the moment at her side with unwavering support and love. This includes some special people in her life who provided footcare, haircare and personal massage therapy, all who she considered very good friends.
Donna will be deeply missed by her loving husband/partner/best friend of 47 years, Bob; her children, Victoria, Kimberly, Amanda and Richard (Shelby) who gifted her Grandson, Merrick. Also her big brother, Bruce (Jacqueline) Spears, sisters-in-law and childhood friends Jane (Scott) and Beverly (Dave), as well as several nieces, nephews and extended family, all of whom she loved so dearly.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her sister, Sandra Spears.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 20, 2022 in the White Family Funeral Home, Kentville. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 21 in St. John’s Anglican Church, Wolfville, with The Reverend Nicole Uzans officiating. Reception to follow at the Church.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns and high-risk members of the family, the family respectfully prefer that guests wear masks and practice social distancing. For those unable to attend the funeral service, a video webcast of the service will be available on-line by Tuesday, November 22. Donations in memory may be made to The Heart & Stroke Foundation or Diabetes Canada. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kentville. To view the video webcast and for on-line condolences and inquiries please visit: www.whitefamilyfuneralhome.com.