Tribute Statement in Honour of the Late Donna Richardson Duncan
The Late Donna Richardson Duncan
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Colleagues, many of us were at a funeral this morning, and I’m standing here today to pay tribute to a very good friend of many of us, Donna Richardson. Donna died on April 11, after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 55 years old, and she died just two days before her and her husband John Duncan’s fifth wedding anniversary.
Donna was a very great friend to many of us in this chamber. She was a very good friend of mine. Donna and I shared some common interests. One of them clearly was our love for politics and our love for our party. Her love for our party was shared by her brother at the funeral today.
We had another common interest and that was our love for old gospel music. We complemented each other. She sang and I listened. Donna had a great love for George Beverly Shea, who sang in the Billy Graham crusade for many years. Donna wrote a tribute when George Beverly Shea passed away and asked if I would read it in this chamber, and did I so. And I thanked her for it.
Prime Minister Harper spoke at the funeral this morning, and he likened Donna to the story we read in the Gospel of Luke about the Good Samaritan and all the good work that Donna did, and indeed she did. John, her husband, spoke. John told us that in January, just a few months ago when she was already in the hospital and was terminal, she would walk around the hospital corridors and sing to the nurses and bring them hope. She would sing to other patients, even though her voice was faltering. Her love for music and her love for people carried her on.
Donna planned most of her own funeral. The pastor told us today that a week and a half before Donna died, when she was already in palliative care, she called him and asked if he would officiate. She chose the songs that we sang.
I would like to read a small part of what was in the funeral card. It says:
Donna loved music and the Church, and drew great strength from her relationship with God. She dreamed of missionary work as a child and spent two years in Africa with the Pentecostal Assembly of Canada in fulfillment of that dream. She was also a cherished member of the Conservative family for many years.
Donna was truly a beautiful person inside and out, and always carried herself with elegance and grace. She touched so many lives with her kindness, her strength, her sense of humour, and her generosity. She loved people, puppies, purple and shoes. People felt lucky to know her, and she felt the same about them.
I will just close, colleagues, with the front cover of that. This was Donna’s prayer and belief and indeed her conviction. It’s a verse from the twenty-third chapter of Psalm:
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Thank you, colleagues.