January 9, 1927 – Regina, Saskatchewan
May 29, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta
It is with great sadness that the family of Donald Thomas (Don) Wakelam announces his passing on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at the Chinook Hospice in Calgary. Born on January 9, 1927 in Regina to Thomas and Mabel (nee Perras) Wakelam, Don was 92.
Don grew up in Regina and graduated from Central Collegiate in 1946. In his youth, he was a newspaper carrier for the Regina Leader Post, and played the trombone and xylophone in several Regina area bands including his high school band, the Regina Rifles and the Queen’s City Boys Band. He began his career working at the Canadian Bank of Commerce in southern Saskatchewan before joining the Canadian Army in 1949, serving in the Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps. Don served in Churchill (where he also volunteered as a radio announcer at Station CHFC), Vancouver, Regina, Washington D.C. (at the Canadian embassy), Ottawa (where he was involved in the very early years of computer pay systems) and Calgary where he retired from the military in 1974. Subsequently he worked for Greyhound Lines of Canada, when he was a founding member and past Chairman of the Canadian Payroll Association, retiring in 1987 as Director of Payroll Services. Don was President of Calgary Canukeena, and as an avid model railroader, was a member of Cal-O-Rail for over thirty years and served on the Board of the Calgary Model Railway Society. Don was also a volunteer for twenty-six years at Spruce Meadows and served as a Ring Master for national and international events. He was a life-long reader and especially enjoyed military history and current events.
More than five years after his diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, quite remarkably Don was cancer-free at the time of his passing. He credited his positive attitude for some of this success but knew that none of this would have been possible without Dr. Lesley Street at South Health Campus in Calgary and the staff of the Hematology Outpatients Clinic at the Peter Lougheed Centre for their wonderful care for four and a half years, and to whom his family will always be grateful. A special thank you to Sharon Holbrook and the Chateau Renoir staff and residents, who provided Don a supportive and stimulating home throughout his cancer treatments. A most heartfelt thank you also goes out to the staff of the Chinook Hospice for making ‘Donald’ comfortable and happy during his finals days.
Don was immensely proud of his family and did not hesitate to regale anyone he met about their accomplishments. He married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Mona Smith (b. 1928, d. 2014), in Regina in 1951. He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by his children, Randall (Norma Armstrong) Wakelam, Dawn (Keith) Hunt, and Janice (Kerry) Horlock; grandchildren, Christian Wakelam, Karen (Christopher) Wood, Stephanie (Luc Barton) Hunt, Katherine (Derek) Kemp, Kevin Wakelam, and Riley Horlock; and great-grandchildren, Camden and Keegan Wood. Don was predeceased by his parents and by his younger brother, Fred Wakelam, of Regina.
A Celebration of Don’s Life will be held at a later date. Condolences may be forwarded through www.McInnisandHolloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, 2020 – 10 Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2M 3M2 Telephone: (403) 263-5300 or (toll-free): 1 (866) 547 – LIFE (5433), www.llscanada.org/.
In living memory of Donald Wakelam, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.Print This Obituary & Condolences