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Donald Thompson

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Donald Willard Thompson

March 3, 1927 - June 22, 2014



On June 22 Donald passed away peacefully in his sleep in Nelson, British Columbia. Donald was pre-deceased by his loving wife of more than 50 years Arleen (‘Bonnie”) (nee McPhee) in December 2011 and his son Russell in February 1982. He is survived by his sister Kathleen (Mike), his children Eric, Richard (Marilyn), Daniel (Jolene) and Kathryn (Ron) as well as his grandchildren Erin, David, Ryan, Erika, Sarah, Ryley, Caiden and Zahra and step grandchildren Kelsey and Alicia.

Born March 3, 1927 Donald grew up in Zealandia, Saskatchewan. He graduated from high school at a young age and earned an Undergraduate degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a Medical degree from Harvard University. He interned in Calgary, Alberta before settling in Toronto, Ontario where he would become Head of Pathology at Toronto General Hospital. He taught medicine for 25+ years at the University of Toronto.

Donald led a very active life. He was an avid sports fan, known for his ability to get the best tickets for events in Toronto. Numerous hobbies included coin, and stamp collecting and thoroughbred horse racing. He was a patron of Canadian arts and had a keen interest in Canadian history, assembling noteworthy collections of documents around the Riel rebellion and published his own work “Emerging Saskatchewan” from the perspective of a postal history. He also excelled at Bridge, playing in tournaments throughout North America. His children have fond memories growing up on acreage in Richmond Hill, Ontario where Don ensured active outdoor lives with many hours spent on the family skating rink and in large gardening enterprises, where his passion for botany was on display.

A Queen’s Jubilee Medal Winner, Donald made major contributions to the medical community through his extensive research into the impacts of smoking and mining on Lung Cancer in the 1950s and 1960s, and as a principal of Toronto-based Cyto-Pathology Associates where he authored a definitive work on the proper administration and interpretation of Pap Smears. He was considered a world expert in Pathology and was often called as an expert witness or to provide services to a Canadian Prime Minister and US Presidential candidate. His entrepreneurial pursuits included development of the Deerfoot Mall and Deerfoot Business Park in Calgary, Alberta.  

A dedicated father, husband, doctor, history buff, sports fan and hobbyist, Don will be deeply missed by his surviving family members who know that his passing provides him relief from his recent failing health.  The family will hold a private celebration of Donald’s life in Calgary, Alberta on Saturday June 28, 2014. Those wishing to make donations in honour of Donald are asked to direct their donations to the Canadian Lung Cancer Society.

After a fulfilling and vivid life, Donald now finds the rest and peace he deeply deserves.



Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff

Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Jason Steele
Relation: Family friend back in Richmond Hill

Danny, Eric, Richard and Kato, so very sorry to hear of this news. A heartfelt condolence to you all.

From: Mary Bartle
Relation: Paternal grandfather

I remember Don’s gardening expertly and beautifully created in their home in Mississauga. Don’s generousity when the grandchildren came from Paris to live with me for the summer.
Now I am grateful to have chatted with him about a month ago.
My sympathies to the family.

From: Doris Fishman
Relation: ACBL Bridge Clubs in Calgary

I had the pleasure of meeting Don Thompson here in Calgary at some of our local duplicate bridge clubs. He made quite the impression as he was such a gentleman. We had heard of his accomplished past. Although he was here for a very short time, I’m sure that many members of the bridge community here will remember him. I know he certainly made an impression on me. Sincere condolences to the family on his passing. He left a wonderful legacy and may good memories sustain you in your sorrow.
With sincere sympathy,
Doris Fishman (on behalf of) ACBL Unit 390

From: Sherry Daley Strong
Relation: Niece

To Eric, Richard, Dan and Kato I would like to offer my condolences on the passing of your father. I recall how excited my father was when your Dad took him to the Hot Stove Lounge at Maple Leaf Gardens. I also recall your father planting his garden at my parent’s home. Eric was a baby then. I have many fond memories of your father and mother. Sincerely, Sherry Daley Strong

From: Tom Daley
Relation: Uncle

Sincere sympathy to you all on the passing of Don.

From: Mary Isabel Sagent - MacPhee
Relation: Uncle

I was sorry to hear of your father’s passing. My heartfelt sympathy and thoughts will be with you now and in the coming days ahead. Sincerely,
Mary Bell

From: Luisa Mascarenhas
Relation: My ex employer

Dr. Thompson was a very kind and generous person. I owe it to him, to this day for my present employment. He treated me and my colleagues to the very best dinners and shows in town. In spite of his busy life he always found time to give advice for my betterment. He was a very successful and well known Pathologist but yet so humble. I will always be grateful to him for his kindness. He will be forever missed. My sincere condolences to the family. Your father/grandfather was truly a great person.

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621B Herridge Lane, Nelson, BC V1L 7B3
Phone: (250) 352-5592

2870 Georama Rd, Nelson, BC V1L 6Y7
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