Donald Harris
Donald Harris

Obituary of Donald William Colin Harris


May 12, 1936 – Guelph, Ontario

February 21, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta


Donald Harris, beloved husband of Marlene Harris (nee Bakkan), of Calgary, AB, passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at the age of 86 years.


Born in Guelph, ON, on May 12, 1936, Don was the lively offspring of Mary Jane and Norman Edgar Harris. In 1939 the family relocated to Toronto. His mom, with a diploma from the Canadian School of Practical Nursing, and his dad, with the proficiency of playing five musical instruments professionally and being able to conduct and keep together a 13-piece big band that played for years at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto and in the Maples Hotel in Montreal, provided a caring and stimulating context in which Don could develop his own gifts.


Don graduated from Leaside High School, where he was a star athlete and a cohort of Margaret Atwood’s older brother, who introduced him to his sister. Don so appreciated spending time with them both, especially at their cottage where he valued the contact he had with their parents. Don went on to graduate from the University of Toronto with a BA Sc (honors) before moving to U of A in Edmonton to do graduate work in geology. From there he continued his graduate studies and research at the U of C, where, in 1964, he met and married his beloved wife, Marlene, no doubt one of the most disruptive and life-changing actions in his entire lifespan! Living with Marlene for 58 years, during which time he sired four robust and talented sons, put up with a menagerie of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, turtles, lizards, a rabbit, and even 100’s of tadpoles developing into adulthood in the bathtub, was not a boring life, but perhaps a bit stressful for Don’s quiet and gentle demeanor.


Although Don’s research had gravitated into paleontology, he decided to enter the world of petroleum geology, working for a number of companies: Skelly Oil, Texas Pacific Oil, Ranger Oil, Scurry Rainbow Oil, and Home Oil. He belonged to a number of professional associations such as CSPG and APPEGA, as well as many eclectic groups: Calgary Science Network, Calgary Beekeepers Association, Planetary Society, co-founder of the Rundle Group, Stampede City Chorus, Cambrian Heights Community Association, assistant Cub and Scout leader, the Sundre Golf Club, and the Minus One Dance Club. Don excelled in many aspects of life: in music as an accomplished pianist, dancer, and singer, in athletics with awards from the Royal Life Saving Society (two Bronze Medallions and an Award of Merit), Red Cross swimming awards, proficiency awards from Rolph Road Public School (1949, 1950), athletic awards from Leaside High School, four scholarships in the 1950s, four fellowships and three teaching assistantships at the U of A and the U of C.


However, Don’s real job description emerged not long after 2000 AD when his true colours became evident! Since then, Don has passionately worked as a POETICIAN, using his creativity to write poems (in the style of Dr. Seuss) to transform society, inciting and inspiring others to right thinking (virtues) and right action (politics) for the greater good of all. His messages are designed to indoctrinate others! Don was a kind and gentle soul whose life was filled with gratitude for the multitude of kindnesses shown him by others. It’s no doubt that his most repetitive words throughout life were: “Thank you so much.”


Besides his loving wife Marlene, Donald is survived by his four sons: Ron (Debra), Mike (Charlotte), Donovan, and Jon (Shiho), along with five grandchildren that he thought the world of: Wyatt, Riley, Greyson, Ren, and Kira. Also surviving is his brother, Ken Harris, his niece, Samantha Harris, as well as numerous cousins and friends. Donald was predeceased by his parents. 


The family thanks Dr. Farhan Khan, family physician, and Dr. Tina Cheng, oncologist, for their compassionate care of Don over the past four years, as well as thanking all the other health care practitioners involved in assisting Don.


A Celebration of Don’s Life will be held at Calgary First Spiritualist Church (1603 – 6th Ave. N.W. ) on Sunday, March 19, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Don’s service streamed live (see below) on the day of the service.


In living memory of Donald Harris, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Heritage, 1708 – 16th Avenue NW, Calgary, AB, T2M 0L7, Telephone: 403-243-8200.



Livestream Instructions


In memory and celebration of the life of Donald W.C. Harris, whose memorial service will be Livestreamed on Sunday March 19, 2023. The scheduled service is set to begin at 2:00PM MST.


Where to Access the Online Event:

o There are 2 options for viewing the live event. Calgary AV Video Player and YouTube. Any option should work on any device (you may be asked to download the YouTube app on mobile devices and tablets) but if you encounter any issues please try all of them.

 ▪ Calgary AV Video Player

PASSWORD: WeAreOne (Case Sensitive)

▪ YouTube


NOTE: These links and this event are NOT published publicly. The event, therefore, will not show up in public search results on either platform. The ONLY way to access the live stream is through the links shown above.


When: We expect to begin the live feed at or shortly after 1:45PM MST (Mountain Standard Time) on Sunday March 19, 2023



In order to enjoy the best online experience, you may consider some or all of the following tips:

1. Try accessing the link 10-15 minutes before the expected start of the event. This gives you a few extra minutes to deal with any technical issues that might show up last minute.

2. Ensure you have speakers – either built-in to your device or external – that are plugged in, powered on, and turned up. Also be sure to check that your audio is unmuted.

3. Consider your data / internet connection download speeds: a. In order to stream in high definition @ 30 FPS (frames per second), you should have AT LEAST 5 Mbps download speed available. If you have a slower connection, you can change the stream quality (YouTube only) to a lower resolution to suit.

Note: As with any “meeting,” we believe that audio is more critical than video – if the video glitches but the audio is clear, the meeting can often continue largely uninterrupted. However, when the video is clear and the audio cuts in and out, the meeting is often effectively over. Therefore, if for some reason you experience playback issues, we recommend choosing the lowest video resolution and focusing more on the audio.

4. IMPORTANT!! Remember to click “Play” to begin the video.

5. Enjoy the program. Thank you for watching!

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