It is with broken hearts that the family of Donald Merle Gessner announces his sudden passing, at his home in Sifton, MB., on April 14th, 2021, at the age of 79. He is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Esther, his two sons Patrick (Irene) and Chad, his daughter Sandy, honorary daughter Helen, two grandchildren Avery and Taylor, brothers Richard (Dick) and Harold, many dear nieces and nephews, and other family members. Also mourning his passing, are the many friends and musicians, too numerous to name, that he played music with over the years, and his A.A. family with whom he would have celebrated his 43rd year of sobriety this year.
Don was born February 28th, 1942 in North Battleford, SK. where he and his five other siblings grew up and shared many happy times until he left to join the Canadian Air Force at the age of 18. This move took him to Cape Breton, a place that became dear to his heart, where he began his family. Don wore many hats in life. He was a radar technician in the Air Force, and later became a carpenter, working in many locations across Canada including the D.E.W. Line in the Arctic. Further on in life he became a councilor, working in addictions and then in mental health with the M.S.S. of Manitoba. Most recently, his career led him to a job with the Ochichakkosipi Healing Lodge in Crane River. During this time he discovered and proudly embraced his Metis heritage. Don loved playing his guitar and singing for, and with, friends and family. This was an important part of his life that began in childhood. Several years ago, he created a CD featuring a few of the many songs he wrote and performed. In 2016, his band, Flatlander, was chosen to play in the Battle of the Bands competition at Dauphin's Countryfest. Afterward he always joked that his band had opened for Countryfest that year. He also loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting and enjoying wildlife, both alive and on his plate. Another of his favorite pastimes was photography. He has many pictures of Ireland and the UK, taken on a family trip, along with photos of Canada, most notably the Arctic. A few of his best photos of the Northern Lights were on exhibit around Manitoba.
Don lived life to the fullest, touching so many lives along the way, and will ever be missed by all those who knew and loved him. We love you Don.
The family would like to thank the RCMP, the EMS workers and many thanks to Dr. Bretecher for his kind care.
A Celebration of Don’s life took place on Wednesday, April 21st at 2:30 p.m from the Pathways Funeral Services Tribute Room with Pastor Scott Allen officiating.
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