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KELLY, Donald John

March 6, 1934 – Calgary, Alberta
August 25, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Donald J Kelly passed away peacefully while surrounded by his family at the Foothills Hospital at the tender age of 84.

Born in Calgary to William and Elizabeth Kelly, Don was a highly respected man, known for his intelligence, wit, and work ethic. He was generous to a fault, both honourable and committed to helping others. He accomplished far more than he would claim, amongst them a fifty year law practice with a succession of firms, mostly involving the names McPherson, Kelly, O’Neil, McNiven and/or Patterson, various real estate development projects, and helping St. Mary’s become a University. Don was instrumental in the founding of the Sinneave Family Foundation. He was a past president of the Ranchman’s Club, a member of numerous Boards of Directors – both non-profit and commercial, involved in the Catholic Church and the Community – especially Bearspaw Village, where he resided for forty years. Don and Doris left few countries unvisited over a long string of vacations, always wanting to learn more of the communities they didn’t live in, and the history of the world. Playing games, going for a round of golf, winning a hand of bridge, skiing, cooking a gourmet meal, playing hide and seek with the grandchildren; he always, ALWAYS, had time for friends and family. He was a good man with a fabulous sense of humour who will be so greatly missed.

Don is survived by his loving wife of fifty-six years, Doris; his children, Colleen (Kent) Sawatzky and their children Keegan, Reanna and Mitchell, Sue (Rick) Leroux and their son Jarod, Sean, and Tamara (John) Nairn and their children Taylor, Jessica and Craig. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Joyce, Lea (Al), Marion and Rosemarie; and many nieces and nephews.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary, AB) on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary, AB) on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Catholic Church (1307 – 14th Street S.W., Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Reception to follow at Church Parish Hall.

If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to Parkinson Canada, Condolences may be forwarded through The family would like to thank the amazing staff at the Foothills Medical Centre.

In living memory of Don Kelly, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. CALGARY, AB, T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Doris and Family,
    I was sorry to hear the news of Don’s passing and wanted to offer my condolences. I know what a proud father and grandfather he was and that he will be deeply missed by each of you. His contributions to the Sinneave Family Foundation over the past many years will be remembered as well as his warmth and sincerity.

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  2. Rick and Brune Sinneave :

    Doris and Family
    Please accept our condolences for your family’s loss. Don was an integral part of the inception and establishment of the Sinneave Family Foundation.
    Don’s work on this benefits so many people with autism. We are grateful for his work on the foundation. We will remember him with fondness.

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  3. Charles Holder :

    Dear Doris and family. My deepest condolences on Don’s passing. May you find peace at this time in the love and support of your many friends. Charles Holder (Mary).

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  4. To all of you, family and friends alike. I’m so sorry for your loss. It was an absolute pleasure to get to know Don these past 10 years. His wisdom and humour will be dearly missed. Smile through the tears at memories and gifts his life has given you.
    Sincerely Norm

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  5. Margaret Van Tighem :

    My condolences to the family – will keep you in my prayers
    My memories of Don are mostly from my childhood when we would visit Uncle Bill and Aunty Beth. The boys were usually passing through the house grabbing snacks and joking with their Mom.

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  6. Maureen Fothergill :

    Dear Sean,
    So sorry to hear that your father has left this mortal coil. You are very fortunate to have had his influence in your life and it is sad that he is gone from this world. As you have said he has had a good innings, but I trust that family and friends by your side will ease the loss.

    As a friend I send you this Irish blessing:
    May the road rise to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sunshine warm upon your face.
    May the rains fall upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

    Thinking of you and your family Sean.

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  7. Dear Doris and Kelly family,
    We are So Sorry to hear of your loss. Don was an amazing man and will be missed greatly. Prayers, Jane Ellen (V.T.) and Greg Durnie

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  8. Gordon and Carol Van Tighem :

    Our condolences on your loss. Don was a significant presence early in my life and again, albeit indirectly, when we relocated to the NWT.
    Fond memories remain, be strong, embrace family and celebrate the good memories!

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  9. Dear Doris and Family,
    May Barb and I send you our sincerest condolences on the passing of Don. He was a giant in the legal community and contributed so much to the lawyers around him and to his clients. He will long be remembered by his legal colleagues, his clients and his friends. May the Peace of God be with you all. Alan and Barb maitland

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  10. Dawn Verheylewegen :

    Tribute to Donald Kelly

    Obviously, I’ve known Don Kelly my entire life…and he probably knew me better -as he was a dear and beloved friend of my parents Marge and Jim – long before I ever came on the scene.
    It’s funny that in my early years, when we all lived that wonderful tribal existence at the LH Estates, I was terrified of “Mr. Kelly”! He was so tall, so serious, so intimidating! Man, if he told you to “stop” doing something, you just froze! My mum Marge, Doris, Sal, or “Mrs. O” could attempt the same thing and all of us kids would continue to run amok…but boy sometimes just a word or a look from “Mr. Kelly” could send you scurrying away to hide from his “wrath” LOL!
    When I entered my teens I realized, as all children do, that my perceptions of childhood experiences were skewed by my young age. I came to discover that Don Kelly was a most loving, humorous, caring man. In our conversations over multiple reunions (over decades) I came to know and respect this man…and to know that Doris and all his children and grand children meant everything to him. As did all the LH kids. He cared more deeply than he ever let on…until you had a 1-to-1 conversation with him away from all the hoopla. It was, just like having a quiet conversation with my dad…peaceful, gentle and often enlightening, edifying, intellectual, but most of all encouraging.
    I will share one last memory…because it speaks to the heart of Donald Kelly. At one time, we lived very close to Don & Doris …we would have a family dinner together and a sleepover. Us girls (Collene, Susan, Laura and I) were so close, like sisters, and we would all snuggle up in sleeping bags in a bedroom upstairs…after Doris and mum would do a last “bed check” on us, I always remember that, late in the evening I would hear the door quietly open and I would see Don quietly looking in on us…counting heads perhaps, but I tend to think he was counting the hearts in his keeping…
    He will forever live in mine.
    God Bless You and Keep You Donald Kelly, I thank you for your influence I my life.

    Dawn (Duncan) Verheylewegen

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  11. Ingrid and Rob currie :

    Our loving support for your family during what is a difficult time. Know that your father made a huge impact in our world on so many levels and he will be dearly remembered for all he represented. As your father, you will hold his special gifts close to your heart and you will continue to pull many sweet thoughts from your memory bank as time passes. His wonderful legacy will continue in his children and grandchildren.

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  12. Don was a true gentleman and it has been an honor to work with him these last ten years. I will miss his strength and his guidance. My deepest condolences to his family.

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  13. Dear Doris and family,
    So sorry to hear of Don’s passing. Our thoughts are with you as you celebrate his life and grieve his absence.
    James Thomas and Ann DuMont

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  14. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Sorry I can not come to the service.

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  15. Dear Doris and Family,
    My sincere condolences to you and all of the family for your loss. I’ve always had immense respect for Don and his dedication and contributions to The Sinneave Family Foundation. It has been my honor and pleasure to meet Don numerous times over the past 8 years at Sinneave events, and he was always kind, insightful, wise, witty, and a true gentleman. Don leaves a great legacy deserving of celebration–and he will be deeply missed by so many.

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  16. Dear Doris and family,
    So sorry to hear that Don has left us. My thoughts and prayers are with you. He will be missed by all who knew him.
    Love from Sharon and Joanna

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  17. Dear Doris and family,
    Bev and l are so sad to hear of Don’s passing. We only just heard (as we had been out of the country). We offer you our sincere condolences and hope you have occasion to see this late message.
    l had the honour , privilege and pleasure of working with Don for many years, and started my career with him at the wonderful law firm of MacPherson , Kelly and O’Neil( MKO). Aside from his skills and knowledge as a lawyer, he was honest , kind and generous beyond compare.
    l will always remember , that Don supported my wish to practice criminal law in the early years of my career, which l did for approximately 3 years , and which enabled me to obtain great litigation experience. l then carried over that experience to a civil litigation practise at MKO. Don did this although there was various other work at the firm l could have been doing, which would have been of more assistance to the firm.
    Don led by example , and his approach and measured analysis to dealing with legal matters was extremely valuable, and provided a template to me for dealing with legal and business issues. You could always go to Don for advice, and he was always interested and willing to help.
    Don was modest, and reserved and a wonderful role model. It cannot be overstated just how kind , intelligent and generous he was , as reflected in the numerous other tributes that have been sent regarding Don. l am sure all of his family are so proud and appreciate how blessed you were to have him in your lives. l am.

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