Mr. Donald Keith Gillespie
December 17, 1930 – June 13, 2021
Donald Keith Gillespie, best known for his trailblazing -- both literally and figuratively in environmental efforts, passed peacefully in the company of loved ones June 13, 2021 at the age of 90. He is survived by his beloved wife and partner, Norma Gillespie, sister Peggy, five children, ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Loving and proud father of Michael (Barb), Donald (Brenda), Christine (aka Abagail Yardley), Ian (Stephanie) and John (Nicole). Grandfather of Frederick, Jeremy, Torill (Brydone), Evan, Johane (Gill), Geordie, Lauren, Sean, Ryan and Hunter. Great Grandfather of Mara, Lane, Carter and Kingston.
Persistent and passionate environmental champions, Don and Norma have poured countless hours into preserving the natural landscape for British Columbia and beyond. Through their efforts and advocacy, they have been involved in establishing and maintaining some of the most amazing natural areas in Greater Vancouver. Among these landmarks are hiking trails on Burke Mountain, parks and trails around Port Coquitlam, and, of course, Colony Farms, Riverview Grounds and Finnie’s Garden – some of Greater Vancouver’s most vital natural ecosystems.
For over three decades, they have tirelessly supported the ongoing efforts of the many key environmental organizations for which they’ve held leadership roles and otherwise contributed to as advocates. Among them are: Western Canada Wilderness Foundation, Riverview Horticultural Centre Society, Burke Mountain Naturalists, Colony Farm Park Association and Friends of DeBoville Slough. In lieu of flowers, donations to any of these organizations would further Don’s amazing legacy of public service and environmental stewardship.
Those who knew and worked with Don over the years are welcome to share sentiments for his celebration of life, which will take place later this year. Remarks received already with great gratitude, speak to Don’s character, as an energetic and deeply committed champion of environmental causes. “He cared very deeply about our natural surroundings and many of us were inspired to make extra efforts when needed because Don was always willing to make that extra effort….I feel blessed to have known him– he was truly a good man.” Linda Asgeirsson
What makes someone dedicate their life to their community and the natural environment? For Don, it was the fundamental belief that each and every one of us has a responsibility to our neighbours, our community and this planet. He believed we all have a responsibility to leave the world in a better place than we found it and lived every day based on this belief.
What Don would ask is this: What are we doing to make our contribution? By making our own contributions, to our communities, to preserving the biosphere, and to social justice, we honour Don’s life and his legacy lives on.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Mr. Donald Keith Gillespie
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June 23, 2021
I had such great times with Don when he would volunteer for some of the toughest expeditions and work parties aimed at saving a local wilderness area. Here is a 1993 photo taken in DeBeck Valley near Pitt Lake of Don when he was part of the expedition to lay out what became known as The Fools Gold Route. This area is now the 38,000 hectare Pinecone Burke Provincial Park - just one of the protected pieces of nature that is part of Don's legacy. It was always an honour and a joy to walk with Don.