Semple, Robert Donald
Don was born in Dundas, attended school in St. Catharines, and briefly worked at Avondale Dairies before joining the RCAF in 1949. He met Irene Jones at a dance in 1952; they were married that same year and remained together 63 years until Irene’s passing in 2015. Don served in the Air Force for 10 years with four of those in France at RCAF Station Marville. Although classified as an engine mechanic his primary role was a piper in the RCAF Pipe Band, playing at our national war monument, the Menin Gate in Ypres, as well as playing before kings, presidents and on four occasions, Queen Elizabeth II. Don left the RCAF in 1959 and moved back to St. Catharines where he continued playing for Clan McFarlane and putting his mechanical knowledge to use fixing gas pumps for Nielsen’s Maintenance. In the late 60s Don put down the bagpipes and took up golf. In 1968 the Semple clan moved from St. Catharines to Kitchener where Don started Petro Maintenance Services Limited which he sold in 1985.
Because golf is more pleasant in the sun than the snow, Irene and Don became snowbirds, wintering at their home in Tarpon Springs Florida. Although Don had to give up golf a few years ago he followed the game right up until the end and never tired of hearing of his sons adventures on the course. An avid reader, the downloaded books on Don’s iPad would make a small library swoon. He loved the smell and the potential of new electronics and usually couldn’t wait to run out and buy the latest gizmo. At an age when many give in, give up or give out, Don maintained an enthusiasm for new things, especially if they plugged into a power outlet.
Don was predeceased by his parents Mabel and Bob, siblings Gordon, Donna and Alan, wife Irene, son Bob and grandson DJ. He is survived by his sister Joan Durfy, sons Colin (Barbara) and Blair (Jean), grandchildren Carolyn, Katie and Evan, great-grandchildren Helen, Elias and Norah, and many nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank the staff at Willoughby Manor in Chippawa for providing services and care to Don over the past five years. At Don’s request, there will be no visitation or service. Cremation has taken place. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Golf Canada Foundation or the sports charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.