Donalda (Doni) Mary Cochrane Brown was born in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan on February 2nd, 1940 to Agnes and Cap Cochrane. She grew up and was nurtured by a family that had a pioneering spirit, love for horses, and solid work ethic. Donalda demonstrated a talent for horsemanship that continued to evolve throughout her lifetime. She accompanied her father on his driving teams as a child, flat raced in Kerrobert Fairs as a teenager, competed in barrel racing and steer undecorating as a young adult, and became an accomplished and winning breeder and trainer of racing quarter horses until her passing. She found what she loved early in life and did it until she passed.
Donalda loved athletics and sports. She loved figure skating as a girl and taught figure skating to many. Whether playing baseball, curling, track and field or downhill skiing, she excelled in individual and team sports. These activities created friendships, memories, and bonds that lasted a lifetime. Many times she shared her understanding of each sport with young people wishing to learn the skill.
Donalda had lifelong friends that she cherished and loved. These friendships created memories and stories that delighted her. Hundreds of photo albums documented these friends. The stories were almost as much fun the second and third time around.
Family was important to Donalda. She had a huge concept of family. Family certainly included her special love of a wise maternal grandfather. Family certainly meant parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins. Family certainly included stepchildren and subsequent grand children and great grand children who brought much joy and ever evolving pride. Family proved to also include neighbors, a young person in a struggle with life, someone in need of a jab or housing, a colleague on the track, a truck driver, a groom, or shed row hand. To be included in her family meant support and understanding but also help with the harsh realities of life, the value of work and importance of sincere effort.
Donalda was a person with enormous determination and strong opinion. You could enjoy her quick sense of humor and also her strong opinion. You knew where you stood when you were with her. She would not judge you but she would share her perceptions and wisdom, should you ask. She mentored many people throughout her time.
Donalda felt blessed to find a life partner in the early 1960s. They shared a love of horses and adventure. They met in Fort St John during the expansion of the city, boom and bust of petroleum, and development of businesses. They lived the harsh realities of northern winters, distant work and life in Nigeria and the middle East and time apart. They spent endless hours on the road, moving horses from track to track, race to race, to the vet, for breeding or to foal. Life on the road seemed to provide quality time together that few couples might cherish or enjoy.
They had to overcome many obstacles and challenges. Earl's health issues gave rise to the need for faith, hope and endurance. Donalda on the other hand was healthy if you do not count the broken bones, rope burns, smashed toes, hand through the power take-off, kicks, falls, and bites. No one doubted her toughness and tenacity through to her final days. While Donalda succumbed to cancer in the end, she enjoyed good health and enormous energy throughout her life. "One tough lady" frequently described her.
Donalda felt blessed to have a large family and was particularly proud of everyone, step -kids and their spouses, and all the grandkids. She would speak at length about their accomplishments, their charm, and their personalities. She was quick to give them a rake, a ride, or a hug.
Donalda passed as she wished, on her farm surrounded by family on December 7th,2O2O.
Donalda was predeceased by her husband Earl in 2011 and both parents.
She leaves behind Glenn and Kerry Brown and family of Fort St John; Richard and Heidi Brown and family of Houston Texas; Muggs (Margaret) and Greg Hammond and family of Fort St John; Patty and John Pauk and family of Houston, Texas; Karen and Arley Cranston and family of Fort St John; and Darrell Brown and Sara and family of Grand Prairie, Alberta; Sister Lorna Cochrane (Daniel) of Norfolk Virginia; Brother Skip Cochrane of Edmonton Alberta.
ln lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fort St. John SPCA Click Here or the charity of your choice.
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