WILSON, Donald W.
October 6, 1926 — December 16, 2020
In December 1917, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their first airplane. 103 years later, on December 16, 2020 retired Captain Donald Wallace Wilson slipped the surly bonds of earth and took his last flight…
Don Wilson landed in Canora, Saskatchewan on October 6, 1926. Fascinated by flight, he built his first airplane at age 16 which crash-landed out of the barn he launched it from. At age 18, he joined the Canadian Army for the last three months of WWII and was training at the Vernon Army Camp the day the war ended. He rejoined his true love, the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1946. While he passed every test to become a pilot with flying colours, he was considered “too short” so instead trained as an Aircraft Electrical Technician. He rose through the ranks to Flight Sergeant and was commissioned as an Aerospace Engineering Officer, serving thirty years on various bases in Canada and Europe. His last job before leaving Gimli, Manitoba was overseeing a “T33” mounted as a gift to the town when the airbase closed in 1971. He retired to Kelowna in 1976 with his wife Verna, who after 50 years of marriage passed away in 2003. He remained in the house that they built on the Rutland bench almost to the end.
Don continued his love of flying joining the Kelowna Ogopogo Radio Controllers Club, building and flying many model aircraft including his own designed Biplane, Tiger Moth, floatplane, and Dash 8. And yes, he crashed many of those too! One WWI Biplane model was donated to the Kelowna Military Museum along with his military uniforms.
Don was also a prolific self-taught painter after retiring as a realtor with Century 21, creating many beautiful scenes including of course airplanes such as the Snowbirds over Kelowna. If one of these graces your home, please give it a salute in Don’s honour.
Don is survived by sons Kim (Betty Anne) and Gary (Kim), and daughters Tammie (Dugg d. 2008) and Leanne (Larry) along with their families including several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; two brothers Stan (Isabelle) and Les (Carman); brother-in-law Jim Shackelton (Annette); and nieces and nephews. He was blessed to have many of them by his side during his takeoff at Kelowna Hospice House. A special thanks to Dr. Hart and the compassionate care Don received during his layover there.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private internment will happen at Kelowna City Cemetery where Don will land beside his wife and his beloved “Judy”. A Celebration of Life is planned for the fall of 2021 at Dad’s favourite spot Ancient Hills Winery overlooking the Kelowna airport where he often enjoyed a glass of wine in the sun with the dogs at his feet.
Fly high dear Dad. You are now free to soar the wind-swept heights! “We’ll meet again…”
Donations in Don’s name may be made to Central Okanagan Hospice House, www.hospicecoha.org.
If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of WILSON Donald W October 6 1926 — December 16 2020..
Death notice for the town of: Kelowna, Province: Colombie britanique