Donald Boyd Whitehead passed away on Monday, June 1. After months of battling COPD and cancer with grace and a positive attitude, he passed away peacefully after only 2 nights in hospital.
Don was born in Claresholm March 8, 1949 and grew up playing hockey, baseball and his teen years playing bass guitar for the Cobblestones (Claresholm's version of the Beatles).
He later moved to Edmonton where he worked at Labatt Brewery for 34 years. It was in his 30th year at Labatt's when he received a phone call one day asking if he was the Don Whitehead who grew up in Claresholm. After answering yes it is, the rest of his life changed. The voice on the other end of the phone said “Hi I'm Colleen and I've been working in Edmonton (and not really happy about being in "Oiler" territory for almost a year) was told by Jessie to give you a call.” After an hour long conversation he said lets go for lunch. He picked me up on his bike and we went for lunch and the rest is history.
When Don retired 4 years later, we moved back to Southern Alberta to be closer to family, but after working for 34 years he had a tough time with retiring and said he always wanted to drive a truck and I said go for it. He went to truck driving school and drove for Watt & Stewart hauling mining tires where we covered many miles across Canada and USA. We incorporated weekend stays in many different places and sometimes felt like we were always on vacation. Don stopped trucking after having a heart attack and at about the same time I was approached about contracting again so then we had the pleasure of travelling by air to client sites throughout USA, Philippines, Guatemala and Ireland. There again we incorporated vacation and weekend getaways including Hong Kong, Bali, Panama, Spain, England and many MLB games.
We lived in Vulcan for 4 years and then decided to move back to our hometown of Claresholm.
Don loved life and adventure. His passion was Harleys, mountains, oceans but most of all his family. He said the happiest day of his life was when he became a husband, stepdad and grampa all in one day. Even though we had many vacations by ourselves, he loved our family vacations and camping trips. One of his favorite vacations was our family weekend to Las Vegas to watch a Flames game. He loved family dinners, watching Patrick and Billy's ballgames, Taylor's basketball and flags, Dorian's hockey, Mia's cheerleading, Payton, Charlotte and Ella's ballgames and sitting on his front porch.
He was a loving husband, stepdad, grampa and friend. A man who never focussed on his own wants or needs and always put others first. Even in his final day he was telling hospital staff all he needed was his wife and that they all might as well take the rest of the day off.
Don leaves behind his loving wife, Colleen; stepsons, Patrick and Billy McCormick; grandchildren, Taylor, Dorian, Mia, Payton, Charlotte and Ella; our unique extended blended family, Ryan and Jenn Kinsman, Greg, Joanne, Loris and Liam McCormick and special Grampa Don to Chloe and Penny (Hong Kong). He is also survived by his mother, Marguerite; sister, Lynda (Jack) Strader; and nephews, Barry and Brad. He was predeceased by his father, Boyd Whitehead; father-in-law, Jim Bonnar (Cathy) and many dear friends.
Don is going to be dearly missed and loved forever by his family.
Due to the COVID situation we are currently dealing with we are planning a small family gathering in our backyard Saturday, June 13 with friends being able to join us virtually.
Donations may be sent to Claresholm Palliative Care in Don's memory.
Colleen, It is December 28. 2020. I have no idea why I googled Don today, but I was saddened to read his obituary. Like Don, I was one of the Cobblestones. He played bass, I played rhythm guitar. We were great friends for years. Unfortunately, we lost touch. So here I am - 74 years old and reminiscing about those wonderful Cobblestones days. I still play guitar, and every time I do, I think of my Cobblestone mates. They were innocent and great times. I would be happy to chat if you like. (780) 991-0193.
Colleen and family--so sorry to hear of your loss. Remember all the good times.
My condolences to all of Don's family and pray you have the peace and comfort to help you through your loss. Don was clearly loved deeply by his family and friends and enjoyed life to the fullest. I didn't know him well but he was so kind to me and fun to be around when I knew him better years ago before leaving Claresholm. Colleen, I'm so happy to hear that you and him had a wonderful life together with lots of great memories.
Colleen & family, so sorry to hear Don had passed, you & the family are in our thoughts & prayers.
Colleen and family--so sorry to hear your sad news. Always remember the good times. Dianne Yarmoloy
Don will be greatly missed just a fun GOOD guy
So so sorry for your loss! Don(whitey) was such a good guy! We spent years working together at Labatt and also played ball and hockey together! It was great having him play wing with me as he could skate like the wind! It felt so good to see him start out a new life after Labatt and see him relocate back home! May he Rest In Peace and I know that he would want us to celebrate his life!
Sincere sympathy to Colleen and family
Condolences to you and your family.
Hi Colleen, I am so sorry for you and your families loss. I know how much the both of you two were in love with each other. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your boys and grandchildren. Love all you guys❤️
RIP Whitey, glad to see you had some lovely years post Labatt.
Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Condolences to the family. Don was a kind man with a pleasant manner. It was a pleasure working with him. He will be missed. God bless.
Sorry to hear of Don's passing, I only met him one time at Margarite's 80th birthday in Claresholm, Margarite is my first Cousin on the Miller side. Again I express my regrets of Don passing so young, George & Jean Miller, Lakota, ND USA
So sorry for your loss Colleen, but you and Don had a wonderful life, so you have many wonderful memories!
Colleen - i have known you, your dear MOM and DAD since you were a wee babe and your MOM had coffee and visits together, with my Roger and you in your strollers. Now i offer you and your family prayers for strength, peace and love , with good memories. Love and Hugs, "OLD" friend Marilyn
Please except our deepest sympathies for the loss of your husband, step Dad and Grampa Don. We met Don shortly after Colleen and he got married and over the years Don and I developed a unique friendship. I admired and appreciated the way he accepted the responsibility of StepDad to PJ and Billy and StepGrampa to Taylor, Dorian and Mia. I will miss our conversations and " Smoke Breaks ". Goodbye # 2 from #1. LOL Rest in Peace Dear Friend
Sending our sincere condolences to you all from the Dodd family.
Sorry for your loss
So sorry for your loss Colleen
Colleen and Family,I know how hard this has been and how much you will miss Don.We will miss his laughter and fun when we had coffee with the girls.He was a very special human being and will be missed by all who knew him.Please let us ( coffee Buddies) know if you need anything.Love and prayers and a huge hug from me.❤
Colleen and family, my condolences to all.
such a touching story about don. I didnt get to spend alot of time with don and colleen, but the times we were together, I quickly knew, they were kind, funloving, honest and true. I can easily understand dons wish, to just have his wife with him. He honestly was a dedicated, loyal husband and knew the value of a good woman. He was quiet, yet friendly. He did enjoy a good laugh. I hope all your treasured memories will be with you colleen. You were blessed to have him as your best friend in life And I know he felt the same about you. Take care.
Hugs and Prayers to you and the family. Don will be well remembered.
Sending our deepest condolences for your loss Colleen, Patrick, Billy & et al, from Spain. Our thoughts are with you all. Hugs & Kisses Dawn & Ian.
Sincere sympathy to you, Colleen and your whole family. You enjoyed a relationship that most people in the world only dream or read about. I hope your wonderful memories fill the time and your heart until you both meet again on the big Harley in the sky.
Colleen You were so blessed to have such a great husband , step dad ,grandpa and best friend my goodness your loss is great and you and your families will miss him sooo much . You are a special person you have brought the coffee buddies together since you came back in town . I appreciate you and Don for being so generous with yourselves and sociable with everyone who stops by your house . Take care and my deepest sympathy and prayers for all of you ❤️
My deepest condolences Colleen. Don was a great guy who will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Colleen our deepest condolences to you & family.Don was a sweetheart who will be missed by all who knew him!
Colleen, I am so very sorry for your loss. Don was a wonderful guy and you two made such a beautiful couple. My prayers and love go out to you, PJ and Billy at this difficult time.