Donald William Baptiste was born October 18, 1957 and passed away November 29, 2007.
He worked at local mills and did slashing throughout his life.
Donald touched so many that it’s impossible to acknowledge all that deserve mention.
I shall attempt to capture the essence of a beloved and loving man.
Fifty short years ago Donald followed Donelda into the world so fast Mom was scared the babies wouldn’t stop coming. Then and always he made his presence known. Most apparently Don was larger than life, a big man with a big heart. We remember the bigger baby stealing his sister’s bottle. They both weighed over 7 lbs. At one month old, mom had to start feeding them off the table because they were already eating two cans of baby food at every meal.
We remember the toddlers making noise at bedtime. All was normal until mom seen them white faced with fear in her kitchen, “Bugs, mom, bugs everywhere.” The bedroom was discovered full of feathers, remnants of a pillow fight. The preschooler playing in the kitchen. Uncle overhears, “I’m the toughest little Indian in the whole wide west.”
Remembering the grade schooler offering to bring home made treats for a class party. Answering the question of what he could bring, “Anything you want. My moms a good cook.” And the young hockey player strutting in the front door shortly after his older brother was found in Mom’s bedroom despairing over a game loss. Now we hear the total opposite attitude in Don’s announcement about the game he just finished. “Guess who lost today?” Just like the thirsty 12 year old brother hinting around, “You sure make good Freshie.” As I pour him some Freshie he gives me a big smile with, “you make good cakes, too.”
Who was the big guy always trying to back away from a challenge to fight. Yet he was the first to defend everyone else, remembering the jailbird who didn’t pay his fines. The RCMP waited until the holiday season to pick him up for a two week sentence. He laughed about Christmas breakfast being turkey, lunch was vegetables and for supper was the potatoes and gravy. The impish brother was the notorious biggest teaser of a big family. “I bugged Nel so much she punched me right in the spine. I had to pretend to tie my shoe. Those bony knuckles brought a tear to my eye.”
The indulgent neighbour rewarding children with Christmas oranges for singing carols for him. Away the kids go to another house, soon they are back at Don’s to carol for their most appreciative audience of one. The caring friend of a countless multitude, Don had more best friends than anyone. Like our parents he befriended people of every age, size, ethnic and colour. He kept and he valued all his friendships. The patient son being a fantastic caregiver to our cancer-stricken mother. Mom gave him cooking instructions he gave her dignity. The close cousin that was more kindred spirit than mere relative, his feelings for money was more a kin to brotherhood.
Remember the banding brother-in-law, to love his sisters was to be his partner. The strong volunteer mover fitting all but two of Dean’s weights on the bar. Dumbfounded helper watched him stroll out the badly bent barbell. Behind him is a guy struggling to carry out the other two weights that are ironically only twenty pounds each. Remember the observer, reserving judgement with his encompassing acceptance of everyone and everything.
Donald, you have touched more hearts than it would be possible to name. Always willing to lend a hand. From your teasing smile, a laugh, sitting quietly in support, listening, to working hard to help someone out. Whether it be family, friend or neighbour. You were always here for us. We will dearly miss you and always remember you.
Love your brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.