“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!” - Robert Burns
Don started his journey home on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021, departing this life at age 84, after a short stay in the hospital. He came into the world in Fort William, Ontario, son of James and Christina (MacDonald) Shanks, the youngest of seven children.
He is survived by his sister Etta Prouty and sister -in -law Vi Shanks. Survived and dearly missed by his nieces and nephews: Bonnie (Tom) Miller of Asheville North Carolina, Doug Shanks (Karen), Don Shanks (Rachael Paquette), Bill Shanks; Morna (Harry) Toderash and Leslie (Ron) Lalime: Bruce Prouty (Kin), Brenda Prouty, Heather (Sandy) Niskanen, Rob (Wendy) Prouty; Tracey Trapnell (James) of Peoria Arizona, and many grand nieces/nephews. Predeceased by his brothers Jim, Hector and Bill, sisters Norma Barnsely and Nancy Latimer, sisters-in-law Norma Shanks, Helen Shanks and brother-in-law Jack Latimer and brother-in-law Art Prouty.
Starting in the mid 1970’s, summers were spent at his cottage at Northern Lights Lake with his mother for many years and then after her passing with his nephew Bill and family. The Miller family at Northern Lights Lake were good friends of Don’s, and many a night of cards were had at the Northern Lights Resort. A proud member of the Canadian Ski Patrol for many years and a fixture out at Loch Lomond Ski Area in his younger days. For many years Don sang in the choir at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church and was a member of the bible study group at the Church during his formative years.
Don has cousins in Aignish, Isle of Lewis, Scotland with whom he kept the flame of kinship alive between the old country and the new. Visits between the cousins across the miles left many treasured memories and ongoing connections with his family in Scotland.
Don was an avid academic, receiving his Teacher Education Program qualifications from the Toronto Teachers College; BA, Honours BA in Psychology, and BA in Education, all from Lakehead University; and certificates of qualification from the Ontario College of Teachers for Primary, Junior, and Intermediate divisions and as a specialist in Special Education. He was a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. He started his teaching career when still just a teenager, in Blake Township in a 2 room schoolhouse that was heated with a wood stove. Education was his mantra: he believed in the passion of William Butler Yeats – “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”. He worked as a teacher and in special education at the Lakehead Board of Education for over 25 years and retired at 52 years of age, with travelling the world as his passion following retirement.
And travel the world he did. In the first two years following his retirement, he literally travelled around the world twice. Having quenched his love of exploring the world, Don then spent his winters in Kissimmee Florida with other snowbirds and his wonderful friend Millie Agombar, for almost 25 years, until a few years ago when declining health prevented the annual winter pilgrimage to the sunshine. He loved to read, play cards, and visit with Millie’s family here in Thunder Bay too.
His brother Bill and sister-in-law Helen were great companions of his, and they could have written a “Where to Eat in Thunder Bay” column in the newspaper; they were best of friends. For the last two of years of his life, he truly loved his time spent with his grand niece Meghan Shanks.
Funeral Service to be held at Harbourview Funeral Centre on Thursday, December 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service time. Proof of double vaccination is required. Without proof of double vaccination you cannot be admitted. A live feed is available for viewing the service, and it can be accessed through the Jenkens Funeral Home website.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital Foundation would be appreciated. Interment will be by private family ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery beside his mother, sister Norma, and brother Bill. He departs with the Gaelic blessing: May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; May the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.