Donald Victor Adams was born on Jan. 26, 1932 in Calgary and passed away on Aug. 20, 2016 at the age of 84 years.
Donald was the fourth of seven children born to Victor and Flora Adams. He lived his early years in the district of Home Glen, west of Wetaskiwin. The family moved to Spruceview, west of Innisfail, in 1945. He grew up on the family farm, eventually leaving school in Grade 8 to work with his father driving school bus and delivering freight around Innisfail and Calgary.
Too young to drive, he would dodge the neighbour’s wife who would call the sheriff. Each time the sheriff would let him off with a warning and a reminder to try harder not to get caught! His days of eluding the neighbourhood busy body were over when he purchased his own truck and began hauling gravel.
His “never stop working” attitude carried him north, all the way to the Peace Country where he met Mary Kozie working in a cafe. Don must have said something pretty special to get a woman like her to marry him, or it could have been his clever sense of humour and quick wit, but he did it somehow and they were wed in January of 1956.
They didn’t think things were quite tough enough trying to run a gravel truck in the ‘50s and decided to have three children to add to the excitement. Thus Donna, Gary and Larry were born. Mary showed her dedication by staying in a small trailer they towed behind the gravel truck, raising children and making meals until Don bought a lowboy and started Adams Transport Ltd. With this company, he began hauling equipment all over the north. Mary became bookkeeper, dispatch, answering service, cook – anything that needed to be done – as they raised the kids. He worked as smart as he did hard, establishing a reputation of reliability and quality work. In 1985, at the age of 53, he was able to sell the business and retire.
Don approached his retirement much the same way he approached everything, never afraid to try something new. He and Mary would travel the south in their motorhome, making many lifetime friends as they did. In classic Don style, when stopped in the middle of the desert with other RVs coming and going, he would set up a “Don Adams custom made” campsite, complete with fake power and water hookups. It amused him to chat with people and agree to let them on the wait list for his spot, before quickly letting them in on the joke.
Don eagerly spent time with his eight grandchildren, teaching them to play pool, darts, quad, and of course, fish. He always had as much or more fun than the kids! More recently, he found joy in his two great-grandchildren; laughing at their antics or sitting with them with on his knee – just like he did years before with the grandkids, less one Lazy Boy recliner that packed it in years before!
If you knew Don, you knew he loved to fish. He fished lakes, streams and the coast whenever he could. Being on the ocean in a 14-foot aluminum boat near a pod of killer whales just made it a better day for him!
Don didn’t know it at the time, but when he purchased a beautiful recreational property at Shaw’s Point, right on the shore of Lesser Slave Lake, he, along with Mary, created a special place for family and friends that continues to create cherished memories each year.
Don’s children and his grandchildren have spent countless hours on the water, the beach, and around the fire pit. Don would have his jet boat on the water, towing anyone brave enough to climb into a tube or a pair of skis and see how long they could hang on; or simply sitting quietly with lines in the water, telling the grandkids to stop scaring all the fish away! Family and friends were always welcome to come and sit by the fire, share stories, a drink, and a laugh.
His love for the outdoors took him many hidden away places: hunting, jet boating trips up the river, and to the dunes in Arizona, to name few. His sense of adventure and never quit attitude fueled his creativity. He could build or fix anything and came up with many creative and simple solutions to problems that would stop others in their tracks. Don just never quit – on the job, on his family, or on that big fish [mounted in the cabin!]. It didn’t matter what it was, he got it done and did it well.
Don was an amazing man, supportive to family and friends, always willing to help out in any way. His hard-working attitude took him many places, meeting many great people and living a life full of adventure and special moments most never get. He had a mischievous look to go along with his pranks and could always be counted on for his quick wit and sharp comebacks. Don leaves his family here and you don’t have to look far to see glimpses of him passed down through his children and theirs, carrying on what he stood for.
He blessed our lives and left us with many memories to cherish.
Don was predeceased by: his loving wife, Mary; parents, Victor and Flora Adams; and a sister, June Dvornek.
Don’s memory lives on in the lives of his children: Donna [Jim] Smyth, Gary [Barb], Larry [Darlene]; and eight grandchildren including Sherri, Jenna [J.J.], Brandon [Alex], Shaun [Nicole], Megan, Stuart, Patrick, and Sara; and two great-grandchildren, Caellum and Collins.
A celebrant of Don’s life was held Aug. 26, 2016 at the High Prairie Legion.
If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the High Prairie and District Palliative Care Society as expressions of sympathy.