It is with deep sadness that the family announces the passing of their beloved husband, father, and papa, on December 24, 2022, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the age of 91.
Don was born in Fort Frances, Ontario, March 13, 1931, to Millie and Louis DeBenedet. As a young boy, he moved with his family to Kenora and a few years later returned to his home town of Fort Frances. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic school and graduated from Fort Frances High School. During these years, he was also an active member of St. Mary’s church. After graduation from high school, Don moved with his parents and his beloved grandmother, to Marathon, Ontario, and began his career in the pulp and paper industry.
After arriving in Marathon, Don met the love of his life, Bernice (Stilwell). They were married in 1952 and raised three daughters, Donna, Carol, and Joan. As family time was important to him, many summers were spent trailering across Canada and the U.S. Don and his family were active members of the Anglican church in Marathon, Fort Frances, and most recently, Thunder Bay. He was a member of the vestry and contributed to the church family.
In 1972 the family moved back to Fort Frances where he worked as an instrument supervisor until his retirement in 1992. He and Bernice enjoyed their empty nest years square dancing, and Don enjoyed sharing his passion for music by volunteering with the Rainycrest Rascals and entertaining at long-term care facilities in Thunder Bay. Many winters were spent in their little Bella Casa in Fort Myer’s Beach, Florida.
In 2001, he and Bern moved to Thunder Bay and resided there until his passing. Don was first and foremost a family man who dedicated his life to his family, his church, and his community.
He was predeceased by his parents Louis and Millie DeBenedet; and parents-in-law Ernest and Winnifred Stilwell. Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Bernice, of 70 years; daughters Donna Salo (Wil), Jillian (Rob), Ashlee, Carol Murray (David), Michelle (Colby), Nicole (Kyle), Dan (Krystal); and Joan Harrison (John), Matthew, Angela (Mario); and his 14 great-grandchildren. Also left are his brother Frank (Dode); sisters-in-law Bonnie Anderson and Doris Brewer; and special nieces and nephews.
Dad was loved so deeply by his family and he will live in our hearts forever. A private family service will be held in Thunder Bay.