de Frece, Donaldson “Don” Henry

April 10, 1933 – March 20, 2021
at the age of 87 years:

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our dad who passed away gently in his sleep in Shuswap Lake General Hospital, Salmon Arm, BC. 

Don was born on a cold and snowy day in Fawcett, Alberta to Donaldson Isaac de Frece and Annie Elizabeth de Frece. He was the eldest and only son, but grew up with two sisters, Geraldene Meier, and Doreen Jessup (deceased). They lived in various small towns in Alberta including Ghost Pine, Dalemead, and finally Drumheller where, while attending high school, he met the love of his life, Patricia (Patsy) Brown. She was only 14 and he was 16 when they met, but he courted her off and on for 7 years before finally convincing her dad to let him marry her.  The conditions were that he quit the oil field, shave off his beard and clean himself up. He did and she agreed to spend the rest of her life with him. They were married for 64 years and blessed with three daughters, Sheralee (Rob Solosth), Lynda (Mark Curran – Deceased), Tracy (Greg Vistisen) and “the good son”, Scott de Frece (Michelle). He loved his family and was very proud of all of them.

Don joined the Calgary Police Service in 1955. He walked a downtown beat for a year before transferring to the Traffic Unit where he proudly rode one of the big Harley Davidson motorcycles for many years. He felt honored to lead numerous motorcycle processions escorting VIPs and dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth, who came to the Calgary Stampede. During his more than a decade in the Traffic Unit, Don was promoted to Sergeant. His fellow Traffic officers fondly referred to him as “Pontiac” because his facial profile looked like the hood ornaments that were on Pontiac cars of that era. Eventually, he transferred to the CPIC Unit where he spent more than 10 years of his career. The CPIC girls who he worked with loved him, but the young constables who hung around flirting high tailed it out of there when “the Sarg” was around. He also worked in the Vice Unit and was a detective in the Criminal Investigation Unit; however, his true passion was always the Traffic and CPIC Units and he fondly spoke of the people he worked with even after more than 30 years of retirement. 

Don loved to hunt and fish with his long-time friend Dick Hougar also a police officer and Jake Herman, his best friend of 70 years.  After 31 years with the Police Service, Don retired to spend the next chapter of his life with Patsy in Blind Bay, BC. They had always loved boating on Shuswap Lake and he developed a love for golf, his rose garden and woodworking. For several years after he retired, he went to Drumheller to help friends with the harvest and drive the combine. He was also an honorary member of the Chase RCMP. 

Don had a great group of friends who would meet for coffee or a round of golf, and when Jake and Lynn Herman moved to the area, they golfed and socialized regularly. He loved watching the Calgary Stampeders and the Calgary Flames and rarely missed a game.

Don and Patsy moved into Lakeside Manor in the fall of 2018 where they enjoyed socializing with old friends and new. He brought a smile to the faces of many people and was thankful for and appreciated the staff who worked there.

Don is survived by his loving wife and children, several grandchildren including Gina and Steven Solosth (Holly), Lora and Matthew Curran, Mason Vistisen (Danielle), Chase and Kaden de Frece, his 3 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Don was a big man with a big heart and a big hug for everyone. He will be missed and fondly remembered by many people.

A Celebration of Life will follow when restrictions allow.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the SPCA.


  1. Don you were the best Sargeant I had in the Traffic Division if one needed advice you were always there to help out.. You were kind and a pleasure to be around Those were the days when we were tall and skinny. Good shape too. Those days long past however the memories are like yesterday. I recall the wonderful dinner meal Patsy and you provided for Darlene and I in Blind Bay . Also there George Hornady from Traffic Division and wife Alice. You were thought of often even after resigning from the CPD in 1976. May you rest in Peace. CONDOLENCES to Patsy and Family. Never say Goodbye but see you later.

  2. Patsy. I am sorry to hear that you have lost Don…Just reading what your children have written about Don and your lives together, I can see what a great couple you were with a full and interesting life together. Go well and I send you all my love and best wishes. cousin Cathie

  3. Sincere condolences to Patsy, Sherri, Lynda, Tracy, and Scott (and all the extended family members and friends– that big circle Don’s energy captured and embraced). Don was an incredible friend to my father Dick Houger, and to my mother Marilyn Houger, so much so that it translated to a connection for both my family and myself–across my lifetime. I will truly miss that infectious sense of humour, the big hugs, and Don’s captivating storytelling about so many of his life adventures. These included the good, the troublesome, and sometimes even the edgy stories about the antics he shared with my father while on the job, fishing, hunting, or camping. I was a witness and even a participant later in life to some of these antics.
    It was a gift to have had a connection to Don for so many years. He was a man who could put anyone at ease with his engaging and generous approach to life, he knew how to live and laugh in big ways. We will truly miss him, and our thoughts are with all of the deFrece family. May you keep the storytelling tradition alive as you remember Don in sharing the memories of his wonderful, full life. He was so proud of his family.

  4. Our sincere condolences to Patsy, Sherri, Lynda, Tracy, and Scott and all your families. We have enjoyed so many adventures over the years with the deFrece and Herman families:
    camping trips to Sandy Point, the Okanagan, Priest Lake Idaho (remember that terrible wind storm!), boating on the Shuswap, golfing challenges (Ross and Bob vs Jake and Don, sharing a cool one on the deck, weddings and babies, along with all the joy, we must also share our greatest sorrows too. “Big Don” as he was respectfully called by our children, Kelsey and Brett, will always be remembered for giving the best hugs and plain spoken advice about boyfriends, girlfriends, and cars. We will miss you “Big Don” but we know that you are watching over all your loved ones, family, friends, and coworkers. Save a spot for us so we can continue the jokes, stories, and wisdom, from a man who has lived life with integrity and has influenced so many. We were blessed to have you in our lives and are very proud to call you, a friend.

  5. Remembering Don and keeping Patsy and the family in our thoughts and prayers during this time of loss. Don’s big smile, his big hugs and his genuine zest for life will be greatly missed. No better Angel could there be to watch over us. Larry & Bonnie Flatla

  6. Sincere condolences to Mrs. deFrece and family. Don was a very good friend to my Dad, Gordon “Boots” McFadyen, and I remember our two families enjoying some vacation time at Woods Lake many years ago. My Mom, Hetty, will also be saddened by this news. But, I believe the Boys, “Pontiac” & “Boots” will be kick-starting their Harleys into action and enjoying comraderie once again. RIP, Don.

  7. God Bless you, Brother! Rest In Peace. May you soar with angels and sit beside the Lord for all eternity.

  8. Thinking of you all & sending love & strength. RIP Don ❣️

  9. Knew Don since I was teenager around Threehills. He use to run with Jimmy Wright and my cousin Bill Jones place.
    Worked traffic with Don and remember his favorite way of putting an agitated person in a car was to shake their hand.
    Once their hand was in Don’s iron grip there was no more resistance.
    A good policeman and great guy.

  10. Lynda, Pat & Family

    Deep condolences go out to you all…Bless his soul and may he now rest in peace.
    I only got to work with him for 5 years but they are great memories I have.
    We are loosing too many of the great good old guys…I hope they are all together up there sharing their stories again.

  11. One year, when in traffic Don walked me out of HQ. He put his arm around my shoulders, and said ” always wear gloves when riding a motorcycle ”
    This was good advice and I appreciated his sincerity. Don was a rugged looking individual but had a great smile and nice way about him.
    Neil Williams #2142, retired

  12. My most favourite Sgt while working in CPIC, Don was like a second dad to most of us there! I fondly remember him saying most every day to one of my coworkers, Bev Orr, to put lipstick on, and to me, you need to comb your hair! I would just laugh and tell him I already did it once that morning! My daughter, Maya, and I stopped in at Blind Bay to visit Don once and he had an old truck. Maya asked if he wanted to sell it as she thought it was cool! Your husband and father was a beautiful man, and I am grateful to have known him. My deepest condolences!

  13. To Patsy and family,

    We are so very sorry to hear of Don’s passing and offer our most heartfelt condolences. Donald was a fine man and will be missed by all who knew him. I first met Don when we moved to Blind Bay and joined the SLE golf club. Over the years I played many rounds of golf with Don and enjoyed them all. Rest in peace big guy.

    With fondest regards,
    Steve and Judy Montgomery

  14. Don was one of the supervisor’s when I was transferred to the Traffic Division.
    He was an exceptional Sgt. who took many of us newbies under his wing with super assistance and always smiling.
    Rest in peace ‘mi amigo’.

  15. The world was a better place with Don in it. Our whole family, including my sons have known him since childhood and he was always ready with a smile and a hug. He taught me how to slalom ski at the lake, and how to parallel park for my drivers license.
    When I bought my first motorcycle at 55, I remember him telling me that he was going to be so worried about me riding out there because of all the idiots on the road, but he never once discouraged me. When we moved my mom, Ebba, to Lakeside, he and Patsy took her under their wings and helped her het into the life there, which was such a huge help for her. We’ll all miss him in our family, but especially myself and my mom. We love you Don.

  16. Our deepest sympathies to Pat and all family members. Don will be sorrily missed by the golf community in Blind Bay but especially so by the members of the SLE Men’s Golf Club, where he was a long term and very popular member. A round of golf with Don was always a treat but the stories and laughs at the 19th hole always topped off the day. His friendly personality filled a room and our Tuesday Men’s night functions were always special when Don was present.

  17. Sending my thoughts and prayers Patty, Sheri, Lynda, Tracy and Scott ……. let your wonderful memories sustain you during this very sad time. Don was a good and caring man.

    Barb Bain

  18. Thoughts and condolences to you, Nanny Pat and family. We have fond memories spending time with you both. Rest in peace, Don. You were one heck of a great person. Jim and Patsy Craig.

  19. Don always had a real zest for life, used to drop by frequently to have a laugh with him and bs about management, haven’t seen him since he retired and relocated but will always remember his smile, Rest in Peace Don.

  20. Nice picture of the Sarg. I remember the smile and friendly attitude. Sgt.Don was one of the best sgts I ever worked for. In a semi military organization supervisor tend to lean towards management with a dose of intimidation. Sgt.Don lead by respect and friendship. I am saddened to hear of Don’s passing and wish to express condolences to family and friends. RIP Don deFrece!

  21. Lynda:

    I was saddened to read of Don’s passing.

    He was a great guy, fun to be around, great laugh and a high level of compassion for his fellow man.

    May your heart soon be filled with wonderful memories as you celebrate a life well lived.

  22. I worked with Don in the Records Section. Great memories of a great guy. He was a big guy with as big a heart. He was also as tough as he looked. Pat, I was so sorry to hear of Don’s passing. We last saw each other at a Vets Dinner about 3 years ago. My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family members.
    I will always have fond memories of times past.
    RIP my friend.

  23. I was very sorry to hear of Don’s passing. Don and Pat were dear friends of my parents (Gilhooly family), and kept in touch even years after leaving Calgary. I grew up hearing of all the fun times they had in Southwood. Rest in Peace Mr DeFrece

  24. To put into words what Lorraine and I felt about Don is impossible. Don was one of the best people that I knew, and i will always remember him. He was a giant among people, in more ways that his size. He was Lorraine’s favorite boss in CPIC and our friendship carried on past our working days. I heard some months ago that he was in the Lakeside Center, however due to COVID I was unable to go out and see him. Another of the victims of this pandemic. However we did stop and see Don and Pat many times on our way through, and he and Pat were the best hosts in the world. Rest in Peace mister, we will miss you a lot.

  25. My heartfelt condolences to Don’s family and friends.

    My day is a bit sadder, but I’m grateful for having had the opportunity of working for Don in CPIC. His laugh, jokes and his compassion will continue to be some of my best memories. Rest In Peace my friend.

  26. I’m so sorry, my condolences to Don’s family and friends. I loved working with Don, there was always a good healthy laugh about something. Rest in Peace Boss. Thanks for your kindness.

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