On Monday, November 21, 2022, Herb Donaldson, father, grandfather, brother and avowed “car guy” passed away at the age of 76.
Herb was born on April 30th, 1946, in Vancouver, B.C., to Herb Sr. and Jean (Stanton) Donaldson. The eldest of four siblings, Herb’s fondest childhood memories were of growing up in Garrow Bay and attending Gleneagles. Whether he was washing dishes at Joe Troll’s or swimming in the Pacific, Herb was always happy to recount stories of his 1950’s childhood. An accomplished baseball player, Herb later attended West Vancouver High, where he was a member of the swim team.
From West Van, it was on to Europe for a six month tour, and then Haida Gwaii, where Herb drove a logging truck, before a serious accident put him in the hospital for over a year. It was there where he met his first wife, Noni (Winckler).
Married in 1968, Herb and Noni returned to Haida Gwaii, before moving back to the lower mainland. Herb joined Lafarge Canada in 1971 and remained there until his retirement in 2006. Shortly after retirement, Herb moved to the Sunshine Coast to be closer to his beloved Pacific Ocean.
There weren’t many single fathers in the early 80’s, but Herb was one of them. What he lacked in culinary skills (it’s a miracle his boys didn’t succumb to scurvy given Herb’s dinner rotation of Heinz pork & beans, hot dogs, and frozen dinners) he more than made up for in selflessness and devotion. His boys never missed a single practice, game, appointment, or event.
A natural story teller with a comic’s timing, Herbie always left his audiences wanting more and his many listeners reveled in retelling his stories years later, whether it was recounting backing up Parisian traffic at the Arc de Triomphe so he could climb under his decrepit Ford Thames van to adjust the shift linkage, how he was denied entry to the Monaco Casino for “attire unbecoming”, questioning the long term prospects of the Toyota Motor Company (hey, it was the very early 80’s) or explaining the virtues of “God’s Country” (Shuswap Lake) to a group of his son’s friends during a perfect July sunset at Eagle Bay.
A quick wit, a great writer (with honed political insight), a lover of great jokes (especially those involving Ireland), a keen fisherman, and possessing an uncompromising work ethic, Herbie was liked by all he came across. Hearing he had moved on to acting (taking on the role of “Relic” from the Beachcombers) after moving to the Sunshine Coast surprised no one. If he ever called you “Big Guy” (and Herbie called almost everyone “Big Guy”), you knew he liked you. Herbie made the world just a little bit better.
Predeceased by father Herb Sr., mother Jean, sister Leslie and son Jeremy. Survived by his sister Sue and brother John, three sons, one daughter, four grandchildren, two nieces, one nephew and dear friend, Jett.
Herbie, I’ll miss our Sunday calls.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Everybody has a Herb story - we hope you keep retelling yours.