In memory of
DONNACHIE, John April 24, 1926 – Glasgow, Scotland April 10, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta Dr. John Donnachie (Big Guy, Uncle John, Dada) passed away in the early morning of Monday, April 10, 2017. He was almost 91 and very proud to have extended the family record for longevity. John was born in Glasgow, Scotland. After the early death of his father, his mother, Kathleen, returned to work as a teacher to support the family and so began his education in feminism. The Jesuit Fathers at St. Aloysius College helped John's mother and Aunt keep him in line. They also encouraged him to discover the Magis – "for the greater glory of God." So began his life long journey of discovery and improvement; a journey that expected he maximize his talents and make use of them, especially for the benefit of others. After his graduation at seventeen, John joined the Royal Navy where he served aboard HMS Ming and HMS Duke of York during World War II. His service provided him with some of his best memories and some memories he chose not to discuss. With the war ended and his subsequent studies at the University of Glasgow completed, John travelled to Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where there was a need for optometrists. He fell in love with Bulawayo. He also fell in love with our mother, Honora O'Connell, from Swansea, South Wales, who had travelled to Bulawayo to teach at an all girls school. They met through the Catholic Church and were married in 1954. Nora claimed she fell in love with John's mind and how he challenged her. John insisted it was "his good looks and his incredible charm" that won her over. John and Nora left the sun and lushness of Bulawayo for the crisp winters of Calgary when their daughter Oonagh (Howard Cuffe) was two years old. Their daughters Elizabeth (Alan Burns) and Paula (Tony Parks) were born in the years following. Of having three daughters, and depending on the day and the debate, John either said he was "blessed" or "friendless". Actively involved in the Calgary Community, John ran for the provincial Liberals in 1961 and 1979. He ran and lost, but he ran. It's hard to be a Liberal in Alberta but he believed you had to try and try again. He was a Trustee on the Calgary Catholic School Board from 1980 to 1992; a member of the Calgary Housing Authority Board (now Calgary Housing Company) during the 1970's and 1980's; a member of the Alberta Optometric Association; and he was on the board and served as Chairman on more than one occasion at the Calgary Elks Lodge and Golf Club. John loved golf. He loved to play golf, to watch golf, and to discuss golf. For John, there were many parallels between playing golf and being a Catholic: even on your best day golf humbled you and had a way of reminding you that you could always improve. But more than anything John loved being 'Big Guy' to his grandchildren Daniel, Emily, Sophie and Clara. They loved his never-ending supply of candies, his sock collection, and his ability to make them feel like they were the most important person in the room. John is survived by his daughters and grandchildren, his sister Dorothy McKeon and sister-in-law Liffy Donnachie, both of Glasgow, Scotland, and their families. He is also survived by the rest of our Clan Donnachaid Calgary: Mary, Katie, Paddy, Jim, Frances, Janie, and Michelle, as well as their spouses and children. John was predeceased by his beloved wife Honora, his brother Eddie and sister-in-law Margaret, brother Vincent, brother-in-law Patrick McKeon, both of Glasgow, Scotland, and, sadly, his nephew Patrick John McKeon of Sydney, Australia. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church (640 - 19th Avenue N.W.) on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com . If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Catholic Charities, c/o Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 - 17 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2S 2T2 Telephone: (403) 218-5500 or to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Provincial Office, Sun Life Place, 710, 10123 – 99th Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3H1 Telephone: 1(866) 412-4222. In living memory of John Donnachie, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park.
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