Dr. Donald Albert Sander

January 14, 1948February 16, 2019

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband and father. This devastating loss has not only greatly affected his family, but as well, so many of the Alberni Valley community whose lives he has impacted in a significant way.

Born in Wilkie, Saskatchewan, Don moved to Port Alberni with his family as a young child. His path to becoming a family practitioner began at The University of British Columbia, then took him to St. Andrews Scotland, and ended in Cardiff Wales, where he graduated with his Medical Degree. His love for the Alberni Valley brought him back to Port Alberni in 1980, where he established his medical practice and worked for the next 39 years. He loved his work and cherished the personal relationships that he developed with his patients. He never imposed time restrictions when he was with them. An office appointment with Don was as much a social visit and chat session as it was a medical consultation. In addition to his family practice, Don was stimulated by the challenges of emergency room medicine, and consequently, did not only his own "on call" rotations, but often those of his colleagues as well. His memory was second to none and his attention to detail unsurpassed. No task was complete unless it was done to perfection. This standard was the only one Don knew.

Don was happiest in the company of his close-knit family and his extensive group of lifelong friends and colleagues. He was a generous and selfless man and always put everyone else first. With his sharp mind & quick wit, he was a natural storyteller and constant source of entertainment.

He leaves behind the love of his life, Heather, his three children; Michelle (Jon), Chris (Claire), Jonathan (Larissa), and a new joy that was brought into his life in 2018, his first grandchild Hayden. He also leaves behind his best friend and brother, Ken (Gail) and sister Marilyn (Ron) and all of his nieces and nephews; Brian (Christina), Krista, Leah (Graham), Lindsey (Jeff), Lauren, Michael (Megan) and Matthew (Sarah).

A special thank you to all of Don’s colleagues and the staff at West Coast General Hospital for the friendship and support he experienced throughout the years.

A celebration of Don's life will take place at The Alberni Athletic Hall from 2pm – 4pm on Saturday May 11, 2019. In lieu of flowers, if you wish, donations can be made to the West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) Foundation.


  • West Coast General Hospital Foundation


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, May 11, 2019


Dr. Donald Albert Sander

have a memory or condolence to add?

Andrew Ricketts

April 30, 2020

In Wales we are planning our 40th reunion of Cardiff Medical Students graduating in 1980. I have just heard the very sad news that Don is no longer with us. My life with Don & Heather was as a medical student in Cardiff and we became good friends. I have fond memories of times as medical students in those heady days whilst we trained together for our future careers as doctors on other sides of the world. I recognise Don in many of the lovely memories of his patients, he was always destined to be a caring and hard working GP. I was privileged to meet his family when I visited Port Alberni on two occasions and in fact my daughter was named after Lauren whom we met briefly but memorably in Port Alberni. Unfortunately I lost my wife to cancer in 2011 and I want to reach out to Heather to say share her loss.


June 22, 2019

I very much adored Dr. Sander. I was with him through the pregnancy of my first child and he, too, was having his first child. We had that common bond, both had babies the same year. I am very empathetic to his wife and children and all other family members he had. We know you are in heaven Dr. Sander.

Phyllis Moretto

April 29, 2019

To the Sander family: at some point , each of us experienced the great care of Dr. Sander. Most of all we will remember the wonderful smile and sense of humour reflected in the smiles of his children. We are very sorry for the loss of such a wonderful husband, father and most recently grandfather. Sincerely Phyllis , John and family. ❤️

Rod Dupperon

April 10, 2019

Dr Sander was a good doctor and a great person he always had time to talk and never rushed me out of a Dr. appointment. I had so much respect for him.
Sadly I just learned of his passing and I wish only the best to his family and friends I know he will be deeply missed.

Gavin MacLeod

March 22, 2019

Heather and family - we are very sorry for your loss; saddened by the news we have just read. Hold on to those good memories.
Gavin, Anne MacLeod and family

Kal Kullar

March 10, 2019

Dear Heather and the Family
It was a devastating shock to hear of the passing of our family physician and friend Dr. Don Sander. No words can express our deepest sympathies for your loss. I will share my memories with the hope that it provides some comfort.
He was a perfectionist and our family is forever grateful for having had him as our doctor. My first encounter with Don was a house call to check up on my ill father-in-law and he left me with an impression that is forever etched in my memory…his kindness, attention to detail, and so giving of his time. He was quick to diagnose my leaky heart valve with his stethoscope when others had missed it for many years and he put our hearts at ease in regards to the family’s health countless times.
I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement when I bought the Pharmacy in the Clinic and always remember his huge smile when he came in to the pharmacy. He was a wonderful doctor and a dear friend. He will always be remembered fondly.
Kal and Kindi Kullar

Sita Parmar

March 6, 2019

Heather and family:

My deepest condolences to yourself and your family on your loss. Such a shock to hear this!! Dr. Sander was always very supportive and caring for myself , my family as well as my extended family. He was a wonderful listener and always had time to chat about his children when they were growing up and about anything else. I first went to see him when pregnant with my first child when he was just beginning with Dr. Begg . I had horrible morning sickness and he said "Anything else?" I said "No, that's enough" and he laughed and nodded his head. I remember having a chat with him outside the old hospital on the bench.

He was very dedicated, thorough and meticulous as we could see in his signature handwriting! He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He leaves behind him wonderful memories for all.

Sita Parmar

Jill Blacklock (Telford)

March 5, 2019

Dear Heather, my heartfelt condolences go to you and your families. Don was one of the nicest, kindest physicians I ever had the privilege to work with at WCGH. It's true he gave a lot of time and focus to his patients hence his histories took forever to write. But his handwriting was the neatest and most legible of any physician. Indeed it was a huge shock to hear of his sudden death and I know he will be sorely missed by you all as well as the community at large. Take comfort in all the good memories. Sincerely, Jill Blacklock

Rosa Urdal

February 26, 2019

Condolences to the family! R.I.P. Dr Sander. I will miss you.

Tom McEvay

February 25, 2019

Don, Heather, Chris, Michelle and Jonathan have been very dear friends of our family for many, many years. Our thoughts have been with each of you since we learned of the passing of Don. Don was a kind and caring man who choose a life of servitude to his fellow man. His family and medicine were his life and his passion. Rest in peace my friend after a life of giving. There is no higher calling. We will miss you.


Tom, Trish, Patrick and Cody McEvay