Donna Balcers

Obituary of Donna May Balcers

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A dearly beloved wife, mother and grandmother passed away on August 20th, 2023.  Donna’s passing interrupted a love story which began when she met John, a journalist, in 1965.  Their marriage in 1967 led to a solemn bond of romantic love which was mutually adored and unbreakable.  They spent their 56 years of marriage in total submission and trust in each other.


Donna was a faithful, supportive, enchanting wife and a dedicated, warm and caring mother.  She loved being a mother to Scott and Marni.  She was a confidant when times were trying, an energetic companion on the ski hills or water skis and a helping hand with homework or life skills.  She enjoyed seeing her children grow and become themselves.  She knew when to let them go and welcomed them back when careers were finally planned.


She provided an attentive ear to their concerns, gave guidance and hugs and motorbikes to teenagers to explore the country she loved.  She was eager to be a part of their lives.  She was not the typical mother or grandmother – not the milk and cookies or bake sale type.  She wanted to be active and do things with her kids.


Donna treasured her grandchildren, was present at their births and furnished and decorated their bedrooms.  Her greatest regret was that Edmonton was more than six hours away to watch them blossom.


Donna loved life and filled it with beauty.  Her surroundings were full with colour and life.  She loved her home and decorated it with her own unique taste – walls filled with paintings and hangings and furnishings and tables topped with prized collections.  It was homey and welcoming and always tidy.  Animal figurines throughout the house – including Noah’s ark – spoke of the wilderness that was a part of her.


She was a beautiful lady, her modesty making her unaware of the interest she created in others.  Donna had her own unique fashion sense and impeccable style by setting a trend rather than following one.  She turned heads with her eye for fashion but was largely unaware of the attention it drew – she simply wanted to look good!  She presented a glamorous figure and enjoyed doing her make-up daily – even if it was only to go out and weed a flowerbed.


Donna was flamboyant in her own ladylike way.  She was fun and enthusiastic about life and liked people but was too shy to be outgoing.  Donna was not a social butterfly.  She liked individual conversations but avoided groups or organizations where she may to say something.  She was absolutely terrified at the thought of ever having to speak in public.


Donna had a wonderful sense of humour.  It was childlike, silly and innocent.  She laughed at physical comedy and would try to repeat jokes she had heard but invariably launched them with the punchline not the premise.


Donna was a force of a woman – confident in her knowledge, experiences and beliefs.  She would call a spade a spade and stand up fiercely for her family and friends without hesitation or regard.  Family and friends always came first.


She was a true friend.  Donna loved and was loved.  She had lifelong friends she cherished and followed their lives with interest.  She wanted a house large enough so her friends could stay with her not only for visits but also holidays.


She loved to entertain her friends and host dinner parties and social get-togethers.  Her special occasions ranged from formal sit-down dining room dinners with crystal glassware and bone china to barbeques complete with drinks and stuffed potatoes.


Donna especially loved Christmas.  It was a two-month celebration marked by decorating eight multi-sized and themed Christmas trees and an avalanche of prized collections of seasonal ornaments and displays.  The entire house was transformed into a winter wonderland.


Donna led an active life: had season’s ski passes to Panorama, water skied Columbia Lake and enjoyed synchronized swimming in Calgary.  She had a wide range of interests.  She loved to read, play cards, work with ceramics, watch Star Trek and cuddle her Bichons.  She and John loved to dance.  Country rock and waltzes always drew them to dance floors they seldom left.


Donna was born in Turner Valley, Alberta, and her early life was spent following her father around the province in pursuit of the newly-discovered oil boom.  She attended high school in Edmonton and upon graduation joined the oil industry career path.  An early-life diagnosis of multiple sclerosis forced her to abandon a business career.  After the birth of her children, she devoted the rest of her life to her husband, family and friends.  It was Donna’s love of the mountains and lakeside lifestyle which prompted the decision to buy property near Fairmont Hot Springs and spend the next 25 years building their dream home while still working in Calgary.


Upon John’s retirement in 2000, the couple took their first warm-weather winter holiday, relocated fulltime to Fairmont and fell in love with travel, whether roaming the country in a motorhome or sightseeing on ocean and river cruises.  In more recent years, Donna especially enjoyed a quiet home life, holding hands, sharing a rum and coke on the deck over-looking the mountains, lake and flowers.


An aggressive dementia in the last months of her life robbed her of her vitality but thankfully she was not fully aware of her situation.


Donna was predeceased by her mother Agnes Coley, her father Don MacCalder, step-father Ed Coley and sister-in-law Dzintra Meyer (Lloyd).  Family members missing her include her husband John, daughter Marni (Len), son Scott (Melodie), grandchildren Makayla, Katrina and Justin, brother Gordon MacCalder (Brenda), and brother-in-law Aldis Balcers (Gail).  Missing their aunt are Carmen and Ross, Shawna and Andrea, and Carrie and Kevin.  Cousin and bridesmaid Linda will remember her fondly.


With the passing of Donna, the world lost a special person, unknown by most but treasured by those who did.


She will be laid to rest in Fairmont Hot Springs Cemetery in May 2024, with the placing of a headstone she will share with her husband.

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