September 16,1928 – January 16, 2016
After a lengthy illness, Donna Mae, age 87, passed peacefully with her daughter by her side, at Creekside Landing, Vernon, BC. Predeceased by her parents Winifred (Spiers) and Frederick Tully, stepmother Beatrice Tully (Richardson), her husband Fredrick Yeo (1999), and son Christopher (2010). She is survived by her loving family; daughter Jennifer Yeo, son-in-law Bruce Paracholski and granddaughter Hannah of Vernon, BC; step-grandchildren Lindsay Paracholski of Morden, MB and Tyler (Desirae) Paracholski of Sicamous, BC; daughter-in-law Angie Thomas-Yeo, grandson Ethan and granddaughter Ryann of Georgetown, ON; sister Daphne (Dale) Jackson of Stayner, ON; and many nieces and nephews.
Donna Mae was born in Winnipeg, MB where she lived until her father was posted to Ottawa. After the war, they returned to Winnipeg where she completed her schooling at the University of Manitoba, graduating with a bachelor of Interior Design in 1950. Donna Mae loved connecting with people and at University, she joined Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She was a founding member of the Student Society of Interior Designers in 1949, later the Professional Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba. She cherished her lifelong friends, and delighted in new ones.
In 1950, Donna Mae moved to Vancouver working as a designer for Ridgewood Studios and serving on the Executive Board of the Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia. In 1952, she returned to Winnipeg working for Wilson Stationary Co, establishing their Office Planning Division. In Winnipeg, Donna Mae met Fred Yeo, who shared all of the same interests. They were married in June 1955 and cherished 44 years of marriage until Fred’s death.
Donna Mae free-lanced as an Interior Designer for various commercial clients until 1979. An Emeritus Member of PIDIM and dedicated to the Interior Design profession; she was a Charter Member of both the Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba and Interior Designers of Canada; President of IDIM, Director, Public Relations coordinator and Advisor for five “Interior Design” trade exhibitions; initiated their role in the Ronald McDonald House project and participated in the 2001 Kapyong Barracks Design Charrette.
In her desire to improve her community, Donna Mae served as President of the Councils of Women of Winnipeg and served in several positions for the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba. She was a charter member and President of the Altrusa Club of Winnipeg, a women’s service club. With Altrusa she founded and operated TOTS (Take-Out-Toy Service), a toy lending service for children with special needs, and helped found the Language Bank of Winnipeg, a 24-hour emergency translation service. She served as President of Schoolmasters Wives, Regional Alumnae Director and Permanent Alumnae Secretary for Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She was a force on the Assiniboine Park – Fort Garry Residents Advisory Group, was appointed by Winnipeg City Council to the Civic Charities Endorsement Bureau, which she chaired, and was one of the founding members of W.I.N.(Winnipeg into the Nineties) – a non-partisan citizens group to provide informed leadership and set new direction for municipal policy. She was a member of Westworth United Church and on moving to Vernon in 2009, a member of the UCW Jubilee unit of Trinity United Church.
Donna Mae was honored by the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba “Celebrating Women” 2008, received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal 2003 for her contribution to women’s and family issues, “Certificate of Awareness” 1981 from City of Winnipeg for vital contribution to Winnipeg through positive awareness and promotion of the City’s potential, Life Member – Council of Women of Winnipeg 1981, Nominated for YWCA “Women of the Year” Awards in Community Service Category in 1978 and 1985.
Although busy in the community, Donna Mae was first and foremost dedicated to her beloved Fred and family. Some of her fondest memories were of traveling in North America, Mexico and Europe and summer adventures with family visits alternating between destinations east and west in their “designer” trailer. She and Fred loved art, theatre, ballet, gourmet club, researching genealogy, entertaining and spending time with family and friends. She held a special place in her heart for her grandchildren, proudly sharing their successes to anyone who would listen. Her move to Vernon to live with Jennifer, Bruce and Hannah, was comforting, filled with wonderful times and was deeply special to the family.
The family wishes to thank the staff and caregivers at Creekside Landing, Vernon, as well as the BC Cancer Agency, Kelowna. A Celebration of Life and internment will be held in Winnipeg in the early spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Winnipeg Foundation: Frederick Kenneth Tully, Winifred Spiers Tully and Beatrice Richardson Tully fund. www.wpgfdn.org/TullyFund
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Pleasant Valley Dignity Funeral Home, 4303 Pleasant Valley Road, Vernon, BC V1T 4M4. Phone 250-542-4333. Condolences may be offered at pleasantvalleyfh.com.