It is with deep sadness and also with joy that we celebrate a life well lived. Donna Mae Oliphant of Saskatoon, formerly of Eston, peacefully passed away on November 1, 2019 at Royal University Hospital at the age of 83 years. Donna was born November 14, 1935 at the Eston Union Hospital. She was the second daughter of Lionel and Pearl Graham and little sister to Frances (Lane). Donna grew up in the village of Madison. She attended school in Madison, Eston and Kindersley and then went on to attend Jacobsons Hairdressing School in Calgary.
Donna married Duane Charles Oliphant on August 16, 1954. They were blessed with two sons, Brent and Dwight who were raised on the family farm. Donna and Duane loved dancing and attended many couples dances in the early years of their marriage - they were an awesome pair to watch dance.
They were in the construction business for eight years and during this time, they lived in Yorkton and Swift Current while working on airports for each of these places. Donna remembered the days when she had to cook for up to 17 men. They started farming in 1962 and continued farming until 1996, the year of Duane's sudden passing. Donna loved the farm life, she also enjoyed fishing and hunting on occasion with her husband in their younger years. The farm prospered and grew and she was very proud of what they built together.
In the late 70’s, they were able to get away and go south to California for the winters. They met many people and cultivated many friendships over the 20 years that they continued to enjoy this annual winter get-a-way. While down south, she was very active with line dancing and crafts of all kinds, golfing, shopping at the flea markets and having good quality time with their friends.
After Duane passed away, Donna bravely moved into Saskatoon in 1997 to the Willow Crest condominium where she lived up until the time of her death. Donna was very social and in no time at all was making new friends and able to feel like she made a new home in Saskatoon - she cherished her many dear friends that lived there. Some of these friends accompanied her on travels to Maui as well as several trips down to Palm Desert, California. She also made a memorable trip to Italy with her sister-in-law Marilyn Carter and the Carter family. Another special journey she took was with her granddaughter Sheena when they went on a seniors bus tour to Branson and Memphis where they did the tour of Elvis’ home in Graceland.
Donna was a supportive and kind grandmother. Her grandchildren will cherish their heart-to-heart visits, phone chats, laughs and many conversations had where they never, ever felt judged and could always just be themselves. They will also cherish the times when certain attributes and a few more stubborn qualities shone through in them, how she would jokingly say “oh, you must get that from me”. Donna’s strength and fiery spirit was inspirational to her grandchildren and her soft, open heart gave them the truly invaluable gift and blessing of her unconditional acceptance and love. Her sense of humour was remarkable and she could always laugh at herself, a rare quality, but Donna had it. She was very organized, neat and tidy, she knew what she liked, what she didn’t like and what she wanted. Donna was proud of her family and always did her best to make sure everyone was looked after. She wanted nothing more than for her family to be well, have what they needed and for them to feel loved.
As a mother, she was fiercely protective of her boys. She always stood by them and was constantly thinking about their welfare and wellbeing. She looked forward to their phone calls, visits and the way they would tease her, which she knew was their love language…a way that they could all share in a laugh. Donna loved and appreciated both her sons for different reasons. Brent’s dependability and knack for taking care of the business of things made her feel safe and secure in the world especially after Duane passed. She looked to Brent for more serious matters whereas she looked to Dwight for inspiration and a good laugh through his daily phone calls, texts and outrageous jokes. His humour and more affectionate nature always uplifted her spirits.
As a wife, Donna was passionate and loved Duane deeply, he was her one and only and she looked forward to the day she would reunite with him in heaven. She was a generous and fun-loving friend and her door was always open to them. Every day she was grateful for her friendships and would often express how good her friends were to her. Donna loved her husband, family and her friends very much and will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Her family is grateful for all that she gave and the warmth she shared during her precious time on earth. She will live in their memory and hearts forever.
Donna was predeceased by husband Duane, her mother and father Pearl and Lionel Graham, grandson Gavin, sister Frances Lane, brothers-in-law Ford Lane and Gary Hornsby, nephew Parker Hornsby and in-laws Olive and Bill Oliphant. Left to cherish her memory are her son Brent (Nancy) and their daughter Sheena, son Dwight (Patti Aitken) and her children Evan and Ali Aitken and Dwight’s children Darcy, Karissa (Albert) Labrash and Nolan. She also leaves eight great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren as well as numerous other family members.
A Memorial Mass was held on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Eston, SK with Reverend Father Emmanuel Azike, OP celebrating.
Donations in memory of Donna may be made to the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan, #200-4545 Parliament Avenue, Regina, SK, S4W 0G3.
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