Donald A. Fairgrieve-Park died September 30th in Edmonton, AB.
Don is survived by his wife, Mavis; children: Donald Jr, Michelle (Beverly Clarke), Gary (Carie) Fairgrieve-Park, and stepson, James (Staci) Lesnik; grandchildren: Lewis (Samantha), Ross (Trish), Kalin, Kenedi, Logan (Alexandria) Fairgrieve-Park, Levi (Denise) Clarke, Jessie and Sofia Lesnik; six grandchildren: Gabriel, Audrey, Nico, Aliyeh, John and Aeriyanna.
Don was born in Saskatoon in 1933 to Ruby and Edwin Park. His parents came from Britain and were urbane and cultured. Don spent his entire summer, except during the War, at a beach cottage in Santa Monica, California. His uncle worked in the film industry in Hollywood. Don was born 15 years after his sister, Ruby, and 10 years after his brother Earle (who was shot down in the war). He was essentially an only child. At the age of 9, he developed polio after he was sent to a boarding school in Winnipeg. After a long confinement, he became an extremely active child excelling in athletics. In his senior year of high school, he won almost every track and field event. Racking up far more points than anyone else. Don was known as a talented football player and middle-distance runner. He played a major role as a member of the Saskatoon Hilltop football team that became national champions in the mid-1950s. He had a great love of sports, which played a huge part in his later years.
Don took Mechanical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. After marrying Beverly LaRoche, they moved to Estevan, Sask. to begin his career with Continental Emsco, where Don Jr. was born. He was transferred to Calgary where they had Michelle and Gary. After nine years, he started a new career with Nabors Drilling and worked his way up to be President. Don, along with a few eager young engineers designed a massive enclosed Electric Drilling rig 18E. It was designed to meet the unique challenges of drilling and servicing in the Arctic North Slope. He also helped with the development and testing of the Iron Roughneck. Don later became President of Beaudrill Ltd, a subsidiary of Gulf Canada, overseeing Arctic Offshore drilling rigs, facilities and four icebreakers. In his retirement, he took the Executive Director position of the Manning Innovation Awards. For 10 years, to his delight, he tested and recommended awards for scientific innovation. A job he said he would do for nothing.
All through his career, Don was always available as someone who would work hard for the community.He started as a director with the Calgary Booster Club, became the longest serving director of CODA (Winsport), Director – YMCA, he was the last community Chairman of the Calgary Stampeder Club, President of Bobsleigh Canada, Director – Canadian Olympic Association, Alberta Founder of Merit Scholarship (Loran Scholarship), Past President of CAODC (Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors), Director – Saddledome Foundation. One of the highlights of his life was being chairman of CODA (Calgary Olympic Development Association), when the winter Olympics were held in Albertville, France. He attended every event with such gusto that everyone was highly amused by him. Pierre Lueders (2-man bobsleigh) won gold under his tenure giving him another cherished moment.
Don married Mavis Lesnik and they began an adventurous life of traveling to many places such as Europe, Asia, US, and all across Canada. When traveling in Europe, Don was always renting the fastest cars and heading off the beaten track. Don’s energy and curiosity was amazing to witness.
In 2014 Don and Mavis made a surprising move to Edmonton. Don kept his health concerns private. He had developed a rare condition called Amyloidosis that affected his muscles and organs, and in the end took his life. In the meantime, Don donated his time to improving all the mechanical and landscaping aspects of the condo (The Wesley). Don was always ready to help and ended up knowing most of the passerby’s and the owners, in his downtown building.
Never giving up his spot on the board until a few days before going into the hospice. The man whose favorite sayings were “If you rest you rust”, “Up and at em” and “Up she bumps” to the pique of his wife, Mave, was effectively stopped. A big heartbreak to those who knew him. He had a huge heart and never said no to anyone who asked for help. Mave remembers him coming in to get sandwiches and coffee for a homeless woman, who had built a lean-to at the back of the building. It was a cold Christmas Eve, and he went out to sit with her every night. She would not come in. Mave found him sobbing over her unfortunate life and he often would say he was thinking of her.
One of Don’s favorite places was Hawaii, where he visited mainly with his first wife and children, and sometimes with Mave, close to 30 times. There he allowed himself to finally relax. He did wish to be buried there but chose to be in Calgary. He was a hell of an Engineer and a good human being. Donald will be deeply missed by his family and many friends. He was a loving husband, father and and an enduring and significant friend.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2020 at Connelly McKinley Funeral Home, 10011 – 114 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre (WEAC) at www.e4calberta.org.