Donald Ernest Waldern

December 30, 2021
After a Christmas season full of activities at his home in Summerland Seniors Village, Donald Ernest Waldern, 93, passed away December 30 at Penticton Regional Hospital. Raised in Ponoka, Alberta, with three brothers and two sisters, Don lost his father, Alfred, at the age of two. His mother, Marie, continued to run the family-owned feed and coal mill, while a young Don worked on a paper route and looked after the Waldern chickens and dairy cow. His love of animals and agriculture formed the basis for his university education and career with the federal department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.Marie moved her family to Vancouver in the mid-40s. Dad played English “rugger” and Canadian football at Lord Byng and King Edward high schools. Don played as a fullback with the Vancouver Blue Bombers, the 1947 Canadian Junior Football champions. In 2008, along with other team members, he was proud to receive the BC Lions Orange Helmet award in recognition of his contribution to the development of football in BC. Dad completed two Agriculture degrees at the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in Animal Science, Nutrition, at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Dad worked at the sawmill in Youbou, BC, to pay for school. Here he met a vivacious brunette from Nanaimo, Sharon Watson, who worked in payroll. They married in 1953. Together, mom and dad laughed, danced, and raised four children – Joy (Steven); Trent (Sharon); Shelly; and Heather (Murray). Their love of their four grandchildren – Shyla; Ian (Deirdre); Megan (Brian); and Greg, kept Don and Sharon busy travelling to the United States. Great granddaughters Evie and Naomi brought smiles and laughs in recent years. Don had a strong work ethic in his personal and professional life. He taught at Washington State University and worked as a researcher at the Agriculture Canada research stations in Prince George and Agassiz. In 1973, he moved into administration as Director of the research station in Kamloops. After a two-year stint in Saskatoon, dad’s life came full circle: in 1980, he was hired as the Director of the Lacombe Research Station near Ponoka. Retirement to Summerland in 1989 meant new adventures and friends. Dad bought a sailboat and helped St. Stephen Anglican Church resurrect its garden of remembrance. He and mom golfed, danced, played cards, participated in church duties, and regularly helped at local charities. Dad also enjoyed curling into his mid-80s. Throughout their many moves, and as part of all their activities, Don and Sharon made lasting lifelong friendships. Dad was also a man of integrity. This was most evident with his excellent care of our mom throughout her years-long experience with Alzheimer’s disease. He continued helping her when they moved into Summerland Seniors Village in 2016 until her death in September 2020. Dad struggled with health issues after mom’s passing, but he still wanted to listen to the music and dance. Don is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, as well as sister-in-law, Mary Waldern, of Campbell River, and brother-in-law, Harold Watson, of Nanaimo. Donations can be made to St. Stephen Anglican Church in Summerland, and Penticton Regional Hospital.Obituary-

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