June 24, 1932 – August 5, 2022
The family of Dawn Claire Marie Trainor is sad to announce her passing at 5:00 am on August 5, 2022 at the Polson Long-Term Care Residence.
Dawn was born in Peace River, Alberta on June 24, 1932 to Grace and John Trainor, pioneer business people in the Town of Peace River.
She was predeceased by her parents and by her brothers, William and Patrick, and their wives Betty and Audrey and is survived by her husband of 59 years, Daniel, her children, Sheldon in Hong Kong (Emelda Wong) and Bridget in Vernon (Nick Vlahos) and their children, Isabella, Alexia, Eli and Emilia. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.
Dawn spent a happy childhood in Peace River, a period in her life she never forgot, and at the age of 12, moved with her family to Hemet/San Jacinto, California, then to Kelowna and finally Victoria. In Victoria, she graduated from St. Ann’s Academy and went on to a nursing program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Dawn bonded with her teachers and fellow students at both St. Ann’s and St. Paul’s and enjoyed many years of visits and friendships and reunions at Harrison Hot Springs and other venues.
Graduating as an RN, Dawn did a lengthy trip through Europe before commencing her nursing career. Dawn worked in hospitals in Kentucky, New Jersey and Oregon before she returned to Canada and followed her interest as a B.C. Public Health Nurse in Lillooet, Prince George and finally Vernon. She always went the extra mile for her patients and was loved by all of them.
After her marriage to Daniel DeGirolamo in 1963 and on the birth of Sheldon, her first child, Dawn retired from public health and became a stay-at-home mother and “farmer” on her acreage on Coldstream Creek Road. Here, she had fruit trees, a magnificent garden and many farm animals. It was at Amble-On Farm that Dawn taught Sheldon and Bridget how to drive a tractor and how to care for chickens, pigs, lambs and beef cattle, and their ponies and dogs, and how to be “good people” with a strong work ethic. Her favourite quote is from Bridget, who at pre-school age and wielding a very small hoe in a field of garlic said: “It just is not right to make little children work like this in the hot sun.” Of course, the reward was a pony ride to Cosen’s Bay and a swim.
In her latter years in Coldstream, Dawn decided to set up an apple juice press and she, together with her friends, sold thousands of gallons of juice out of refrigerated dairy tanks. Her juice business became a runaway success.
In subsequent years, Dawn left her mark on the Russell Road lake property on Okanagan Lake. It was more lawns, gardens and fruit trees, but also swimming and boating. She gave her heart and soul to “Uncle” Howard Russell’s Quarry Property and to the memory of Howard himself, leaving his original cottage standing as a tribute.
But, Dawn was a success at everything she did. As president of the local registered nurses association, she hosted a provincial conference, which was the first one held out of Vancouver. It got rave reviews. When her husband, Dan, decided there should be an Italian restaurant on Silver Star, she learned how to make marinara sauce and countless meatballs and ravioli. They fed thousands of people through several ski seasons.
Dawn was proud of her RN and she remained close friends with her St. Paul’s classmates through annual reunions and many visits. Even while being a mother and “farmer”, Dawn managed time to work relief at Vernon Jubilee, Polson Care Home and spent several summers nursing at the Vernon Cadet Camp hospital. But one highlight was the spring she spent working in health care at Coral Harbour in the Hudson Bay. This was truly a life-changing experience in the “far north”.
Recreation was always a passion of Dawn’s. As well as her own skiing, cycling, curling, golf, snowmobiling, ATV’ing and volleyball, she took time to chair the Kokanee Swim Club, and was one of several of her friends who started the High School Curling League.
On her husband’s retirement, Dawn and Dan travelled widely through Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. They wintered in Arizona for a number of years, where they golfed and drove their ATV’s on the desert. More recently, they spent half of each year in their little Mexican house in Ajijic, Jalisco, where they enjoyed the country, Mexican friends and many friends from Canada and the U.S.
Dawn also had a great belief in and love for Canada. How many people can say they drove to Inuvik, canoed the Nahanni River, climbed the Chilcoot Trail, biked the Laurentian Rail Trail, fished salmon in Haiida Gwai, shot a moose in Prince George, swam in Hudson Bay, visited the polar bears in Churchill and drove to Newfoundland four times? How much more Canadian than that can you get!
Truly, Dawn had a life which was long and well-lived!
The world will miss Dawn! She loved her family and friends and also put hands out to help anyone she could. She was honest and loyal beyond belief and she loved the Vernon she knew in years gone by and learned to live with what it has become.
Dawn asked that there be no service, but that she be remembered fondly and her last words were: “I am grateful for having had a very good and long life from Peace River to Vernon and the many stops in between”. Thank you all!
But, we cannot let Dawn get away without a final goodbye, so will be holding an informal Remembrance on Saturday, September 10th at the Vernon Curling Rink from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. All friends are welcome to meet the family, raise a glass and share their memories.
Finally, Dawn’s family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of Fintry North at Polson Long-Term Care Home. Through the dementia she suffered in her last few years, the love and care she received in Polson were beyond description. To everyone who touched Dawn’s life at Polson, words cannot give thanks enough, but “thank you”. We love every one of you and will never forget you and your kindness.