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RIBACK, Donna Ellen

July 13, 1938 – Calgary, Alberta
December 5, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta

A woman of courage, strength and dignity, Donna Riback, passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at the young age of 79.

Donna is survived by her son, Tevy Grunberg, daughter-in-law, Julie, her grandgirls; Sofie and Gina and her daughter, Mia Riback, along with her extended family and many dear friends.

Donna was a born and raised Calgarian with deep roots in community engagement and Jewish philanthropy, inspired by her parents Ted and Betty Riback Z”L. Donna grew up on Alfage Street, later leaving for college in the U.S.A. First, achieving her B.A. at Mills College in Oakland and her M.A. at Stanford University, all along the way making lifelong friends. Her first professional appointment being at the Red Cross Youth as a consultant. She moved on to travel Europe with a stint living in New York City and Vancouver until eventually making her way back home to Calgary.

While Donna was raising her family, she found the time & energy to co-found the Beth Israel players and to always be actively involved in volunteering. Donna is the first Calgarian to have created the LOJE – an endowment fund to continue her commitment of the Untied Jewish Appeal in perpetuity. She was also an immense supporter of the Jewish community locally and abroad, volunteering for; Temple B’nai Tikvah, UJA, Hadassah (CHW), JNF and so many others. Donna was filled with compassion and interest in others; she made friends easily and loved to chat with everyone.

Donna was always supportive and shared her vast knowledge with her family, never wavering in her support of their ventures and adventures. She kept traditions alive in the family unit with Jewish holidays, family trips and celebrations. Donna instilled her sense of integrity, honour and honesty to not only her children and grandchildren but as a role model and mentor to many.

After her courageous fight with Breast Cancer in 1997, Donna’s battle resumed in July 2017 with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. She fought the hard fight.

Her humour, laughter, knowledge and support will be dearly missed. Donna was predeceased by her beloved parents, Ted and Betty Riback Z”L as well as her dear sister Faith Riback Z”L.

Mom, we love you.

Funeral Services will be held at Temple B’nai Tikvah, (900 – 47th Avenue S.W.) today, December 7th at 1:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Beth Tzedec Memorial Park. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Breast Cancer Supportive Care Foundation at 403-270-2158 or Camp BB Riback at 587-988-9771.

Arrangements in care of the CHEVRA KADISHA OF CALGARY, Telephone: 403-244-4717.

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Condolence Messages

  1. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Donna was a remarkable woman who gave so much to help the world be a better place. She was a mentor to many and loved by all who knew her. I feel so grateful that she was an important part of my life for so many years and she will be missed.

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  2. Condolences to the family. Donna was a wonderful person. Caring, giving, understanding and dedicated. I worked with her for years on Community Council matters. She will be missed deeply.

    Rob Cohen

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  3. Julia Rosehill :

    Donna, my dear friend and colleague, you’ll be missed more than I can say.

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  4. Phyllis D’Aguiar :

    It was an honour to work with you on so many projects.

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  5. M Isobel Montgomery :

    To Tevy and Mia
    I send my sincere condolences to you both on the passing of your mother. I remember her visits on parent / teacher interviews as I was your teacher in Grade 1! You were blessed to have a caring mother and you will miss her.
    With love, Isobel Montgomery

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  6. Donna Riback’s legacy of philanthropy, altruism, community spirit, living, giving, loving, humor, sense of family and friendship touched the lives and hearts of every person who’s path she graced. I was fortunate to have her grace my life’s path for almost 40 years. To Tevy, Mia, Julie, Sofie and Gina…and to all extended family and close friends, my heart goes out to you all at this tender time. We are all so blessed to have had the privilege of loving this remarkable woman and receiving her love and friendship in turn.

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  7. Deb Kleinfeld :

    Donna was first cousins’ with my Mom, and they were also very good friends when all three of us were growing up. We all loved her so much! When she moved here to Vancouver, we had the opportunity to spend even more time with her and she was always fun to hang out with! My older sister, Karen, did sleepovers at Donna’s apartment and they had a blast!
    I will always remember the CIBC Walk/Run for the Cures that we did with Donna and Mia and Mia’s dog, Mocha, who apparently had a huge “fan base” there. We would walk and gossip and laugh for 5K!!! And then treat ourselves to brunch and a glass of wine to celebrate our walk! We did that for many years, until Donna really couldn’t travel anymore. But, I loved the time I spent with her and will always hold those memories in my heart.
    To Tevy, Mia and Julie, my deepest condolences. She was an amazing woman and will be missed terribly.
    Deb Kleinfeld

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  8. Elaine McNaughton :

    We will miss Donna immensely and always reflect on our wonderful visits filled with laughter. Al and I were fortunate enough to do some renovations and home repairs for Donna over the years and absolutely loved when she would reach out to us! It never felt like “work” when we went to Donna’s because she always made us feel so welcome, always wanted to hear how our children were and of course we would spend way too many hours swapping stories and laughing at the universe. She was and always will be one of our very favorite people. The world has truly lost a gem. We will remember you with much love Donna. To Mia, Tevy and family, our deepest condolences go out to you.

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  9. Tevy and Julie,

    So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you during this time.
    Love, Jill and Butch

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  10. My dear friend Mia,

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. I remember your smile and the joy in your spirit when you talked about your trips to visit your mom. I am sending you love and strength during this devastating time. May her soul rest in peace. I will call you soon.

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  11. Christopher Banting :

    Tevy,

    I am saddened to hear of your loss. Donna was like a second mom to me when we were growing up. Fond memories my friend.

    Chris

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  12. There was no one like Donna – she was in a league of her own. I feel so privileged to have worked and travelled alongside Donna. Her commitment to community through her time, spirit and tzedaka is inspirational.
    I will miss her so very very much
    xo
    Love and strength to Mia, Tevy, Julie, Gina and Sophie.

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  13. Dear Mia,

    So sorry to hear your Mom has passed away. We did not get to enjoy another martini together with you and Erin. That was such a good idea but it just never happened. The three of us will now have to go and celebrate her life. She was such an impressive lady. I always admired her and enjoyed her company.

    My sympathy goes out to you and your family,

    Marny Dabbs

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  14. Brenda Kossman :

    So sorry for your loss. Donna was an amazing woman. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  15. Julie and Tevy
    So sorry for you loss. Lots of love from us during this hard time.
    Love Sharon and Pannos

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  16. Sincere condolences. Many of us looked up to Donna as a shining example of community leadership and personal warmth. I will certainly miss our talks.

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