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Born: Jan 28, 1942

Date of Passing: Apr 11, 2021

Offer Condolences or Memory Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

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January 28, 1942 - April 11, 2021

Right to the end, mom taught us about life and love. Donna came into this world a charming, curious and creative little girl, accompanied by her identical twin, Deanne, and predeceased by her brother Victor. Born in Sydney, NS to a gentle but witty steelworker and a determined, talented homemaker, images of Mom's early life took shape in her stories; coal and kerosene, hopscotch and homemade dresses, clouds of black silt on laundry day, frugal beginnings where nothing went to waste. Older siblings Rod and Joy looked on as the twins took center stage, their childhood made more remarkable by a rare and sustained commitment to conformity; every dress, button and sock in its perfect little place, image after image of them perfectly dressed, perfectly composed and perfectly identical.
But while the world was looking in and marvelling, Mom was looking out, taking it all in. An inquiring mind from the outset, these early days aroused in her the lifelong habit to notice, observe and analyze whatever lay before her. In 2014 she wrote an incredible autobiography telling of her lifelong adventures and addressing the themes of relationships, family, religion and schools that captivated mom and remained central to her life as wife, mother, friend and teacher.
While mom's ambitions led her to teacher education at Saint Francis Xavier, NS, and a long career as a teacher, her heart led her to Dad. Donna and Jerry married in 1963 and what followed was a whirlwind of six children in eight years amid the backdrop of ever-changing scenery. Mom so willingly followed the path of Dad's career moving from home to home, from province to province; NS, Quebec, Ontario, BC, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and finally Manitoba, the details are dizzying, lifelong friendships and memories were formed, but the constant amidst the change was family. Mom used her enthusiasm and talents to cook, bake, knit, sew, build, create, renovate, volunteer, teach, coach...whatever it took to provide a dynamic, stable and loving home. She made sure we were educated, experienced and able, bringing music, pets, crafts, camping, clubs and sports into our lives, how she ever found the time remains a mystery.
What was clear though was her love for our father, Jerry. As kids we wanted to hear again and again the story of them meeting, their magical first blind date, their wedding. From their early romance to the ins and outs of family life, their love grew with us into adulthood and together they opened their hearts to whatever and whomever we brought into our lives. Mom supported our interests, careers and hobbies, was a loving mother-in-law and as we settled into our adult lives she settled into a new role, that of adoring grandmother. She welcomed it all with open arms, the growing families, the visits and sleepovers with the grandkids and she continued to love and cherish the people in her life. And speaking of the people in her life, decades of friendships were made and celebrated through travels, music, cards and dinners. She was much loved by all she met. We are all so lucky to have known her, Mom forged her own path and made better the lives of her family, friends and students through her caring, wisdom, generosity and humour. Her hands and heart are in the people we've become.
Donna is lovingly remembered by her husband, Jerry, and her beloved children, Scott, Adair (Lorne), Corinne, Todd (Rachelle), Brett (Christine) and Tania (Laine); and her grandchildren, Quinn, Cam, Nigel, Liam, Luc, Hayden (Kalina), Mackenzie, Kaylie, Ben and Caelan. She also leaves her sisters, Joy (John) and Deanne and an extended loving family. Donna was predeceased by her parents, Roderick and Eva; and brothers, Victor and Roderick.
Flowers are gratefully declined, memorial donations may be made to the CancerCare Manitoba, Riverview Health Centre or a charity of your choice. A special thanks to the staff at Riverview Health Centre for their gracious and compassionate care of our Mother.
A private funeral service will be held on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at Mary, Mother of the Church.
The service will be available via Live Streaming. If you would like your name to appear in the guest book, please email your name to re: Donna MacNeil.

Adam's Funeral Home of Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba in care of arrangements. Phone 204-248-2201. To view the service and leave condolences, please visit

Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 17, 2021

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • I never got to meet Donna, but I knew her son Scott. We were friends in Thompson. She raised a fine man, a blessing to many. I am sorry for the family's loss. I pray that they may all recieve comfort in their hearts after the loss of their dear mom. - Posted by: Kevin jesmer (Scott's friend from Thompson.) on: May 08, 2021

  • Our deepest sympathies to the MacNeil family. The world has lost a wonderful & talented lady. She was a delight to work with: quiet but oh! so organized. Her wit & laughter can still be heard. May her memory live long & healthy in the stories that you will tell & retell. - Posted by: Henriette & Robbert (Former co-worker/friends ) on: Apr 24, 2021

  • Dear Jerry and family, We were so saddened to learn of Donna's passing. We have fond memories of our times together in Thompson, and, more recently, so enjoyed our visit with you at your present home, experiencing the warm hospitality you both so genuinely offered. Our hearts go out to all of you, and you are in our thoughts and prayers. With loving sympathy, Linda and Dale Stewart - Posted by: Dale and Linda Stewart (Friends) on: Apr 20, 2021

  • Dear Jerry, So sorry to hear about Donna. Our prayers and sympathies are with you and your family. - Posted by: Ben and Millie Sveinson (Friends) on: Apr 17, 2021

  • My deepest sympathy to Jerry, Adair and Lorne, Scott, Corrine, Todd and Rachelle, Brett and Christine and Tania and Laine. I’ve known you all since your school days, marriage, children and enjoyed watching you grow under the guidance of your loving mother and father. We have had the privilege of travelling to Nova Scotia and meeting other family members and always felt so welcomed. You will miss her as we all will but remember the things she taught us. She was so wise and had so many talents. She fought a good fight and stayed positive until the end. RIP dear friend, we’ll remember the good times. - Posted by: Sue Heim (Friend) on: Apr 17, 2021

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