Obituary of Donald Raymond Foell
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FOELL, Donald “Don” Raymond
We are most deeply distressed at the passing of our dear Donald Raymond Foell on April 7th, 2023, in his 93rd year. Don was born Dec. 9th, 1929 in Waterloo, Ont., the fifth of nine children of the late Alvin Christian and Doris Olive Foell.
Husband of Gail Janet Foell (nee Zarnke), they were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church on June 12th, 1953.
He was the proud, loving father of two children - Steven M. Foell (Teresa) and Susan J. Gow (predeceased - Robert Linder / Douglas Gow).
Don was also very proud of his four grandchildren - Nicholas Linder, Isaac Foell, Aaron Foell (Amanda), and Rebecca Pinnell (Andrew). He had six great-grandchildren: Riley, Noah, Eli, Malachi, Ellie, and Brooke.
Don is survived by his brother-in-law Eric Ostrander, sister-in-law Lynne Foell, and same generation cousin, Laverne “Vern” Foell. Don was predeceased by his 8 siblings – Mavis Weismiller (Fred), Elfreda “Alfie” Wahl (Howard), Eileen Schnarr (Gord), Clifford Foell (Myrtle), Kenneth Foell (Theresa), Lorna Sippel (Earrol), Dorothy Ostrander, and Denis Foell. He was a loving uncle and friend to many nephews, nieces and their families.
Don’s interests and vocations were extensive and he was incredibly active as a result.
He played many sports, including golf (almost constantly – and once shot an impressive 212-yard hole in one), curling, bowling (alley, carpet, and lawn), tennis, swimming, hockey, and baseball (as both a player and an umpire).
Don took music lessons as a boy, developing a proficiency with violin, guitar, and piano. He attended Alexandra Public School and Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI). Don continued developing his intellect via correspondence and evening courses at the University of Waterloo, all the while being a tinkerer, inventor, and keen student of life.
Don’s career began at A.H. Foell and Co. Transport - the family business. He participated in many aspects of the company including working on vehicles, general carpentry, and delivering ice. He even drove a moving van at the age of 11.
With this experience, Don would later apprentice as a mechanic where he repaired cars, did body work, fixed outboard motors and farm equipment, and drove a tow truck. Within 4 years, he attained the title of master mechanic.
Wanting a change of career, Don then moved into the Insurance industry. He worked in the finance department at Canada Health and Accident, where he also managed to have a small side business fixing their printing machines after hours.
A short while later, Don was hired to be the Assistant Plant Superintendent for the Kitchener-Waterloo (Grand River) Hospital – doing everything from building maintenance to fixing boilers and lab equipment.
For the majority of his career, Don served as the Superintendent of Construction and Planning for the Waterloo County Board of Education (now WRDSB). He was incredibly proud of his accomplishments, particularly playing a key role in the construction and opening of numerous schools within Waterloo Region and updating and expanding many others.
During his tenure in this role, Don was able to put his inventing skills to use, creating several unique innovations. These included a fold down stage/wall for multi-purpose rooms and an allergy-safe classroom system. The invention he was most proud of, however, was a solar-assisted heating system that he prototyped in his own backyard. Starting in 1980, this was fitted to several schools in the area and reduced heating costs considerably while benefitting the environment.
As a lifelong Waterloo resident, Don was passionate about local issues and helped found and participated in many local clubs and organizations.
He was involved with the Waterloo Young Men’s Club (40 years as a member, including 5 years as President), the K-W Probus Club (charter member), Saugeen Shores Probus (member), St. John’s Lutheran Church (now Trillium Lutheran - over 30 years including sitting on the board, Building and Property Committee, and Planning Committee), and St. Paul’s College (Board of Governors for 14 years – Chairman of the Special Projects and Building Committee).
Don also loved speaking about the history and happenings of Waterloo Region and often wrote into The Record with photos, history, and commentary – as well as being featured in a few articles over the course of his life.
Despite all of this, Don still found time to go on adventures – including sailing a boat with a crew of 3 from Vancouver to Alaska. The trip took three weeks in 1992 and he frequently spoke of what an incredible experience this was.
In his retirement, Don spent his time being a loving grandfather, golfing, tinkering and inventing, reading, caring for his wife, and travelling between Waterloo and his cottage in Southampton, Ontario.
Don lived an incredible life. He was a great storyteller and brought joy and laughter to those he encountered. His life is one worth celebrating, and he will be missed.
Visitation will be held at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo on Friday, April 28, 2023 from 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm followed by the funeral service in the chapel of the funeral home at 1:00 pm. A reception will follow in the Fireside Reception Room. Cremation will have taken place and a private family interment will be held at Parkview Cemetery. A livestream and recording of the service will be available on Don’s tribute page at www.erbgood.com
In lieu of flowers, condolences for the family and donations to Princess Margaret Hospital or the Canadian Cancer Society may be arranged through the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King Street S. Waterloo at www.erbgood.com