Call Now – Available 24/7
519-363-2525
Call Now – Available 24/7 519-363-2525
20
March

Don Slumskie

Rhody Family Funeral Home

“It isn’t the farm that makes the farmer –

it’s the love, hard work, and character.”

– Unknown

This statement could not be more accurate when reflecting on Don’s life. He showed tremendous love not only for his family and friends but also for the land. His work ethic was second to none, and as Ted so properly put it, “you just tried to keep up with Don!” And last but not least his character. On more than one occasion Don faced tragedy, loss, and extreme obstacles in his life, but he never let those events define him. Instead, he adapted, made changes, and put the best version of himself forward. His character could never be questioned. We were blessed to have Don Slumskie in our lives.  For this, we are truly grateful.

Donald Harvey was born at home on the family farm in Dobbinton, on Thursday, December 9, 1937. He was welcomed by his parents, Harvey and Thelma (Foote) Slumskie, and older sister Eleanor (1935). The Slumskie family operated a mixed farm, and their family was made complete with the arrival of Robert (1945) and John (1950). Don enjoyed this childhood and took in everything life on the farm had to offer. He also thrived at sports and enjoyed playing hockey with family and friends as well as baseball in Dobbinton. The Slumskie children attended S.S. #9 Elderslie, but Don did not pursue high school, instead opting to return home and help his dad. In 1953, at the young age of 16, Don left home and traveled south to work on a tobacco farm in the Tillsonburg area for the summer. Here, Don continued to build on his strong work ethic and returned the following year for another summer in the fields. Following this experience, Don returned home to work beside his father in their beef operation.

Don and Beth’s lives crossed paths early in life when they attended Sunday school together. As teenagers they began dating, and soon became extended family, when Don’s sister Eleanor, and Beth’s brother Ken married in 1956. Together, they followed a similar path and were wed on Saturday, July 25, 1959, at Dobbinton United Church. The newlyweds soon called the 10th of Elderslie home, when they purchased their own farm from Cedric Calhoun later that same year. In addition to helping his father, Don started his own operation where they had some beef, dairy, and approximately 25 sows. Their family soon grew with the arrival of Donald Edward “Ted” in 1960, before their family was made complete in 1963 when Jeff was born. Don cherished fatherhood and enjoyed watching the boys grow up on the farm. Sadly, life forever changed in 1975 when Jeff died in an accident at the young age of 12. Don and Beth were heartbroken, as any parent would be, but with the support of family and friends slowly returned to a regular routine.

With plenty of work and young families, Don established a good working relationship with his brother-in-law Ken.   As Don’s own father’s health deteriorated, Bob returned to the farm taking over the home farm at which time Don and Bob struck up a beef farming business together.  They owned and operated several hundred acres whereby they relied on each other for help and support. By the late 1970’s Beth (who was also teaching) and Don owned five farms and worked hard building their farm operation. However, the economy changed drastically in the mid 80’s, and interest rates skyrocketed. Many farmers struggled when dealing with interest rates well over 20%, and Don and Beth were no exception. Like many others, they were forced to sell farms to remain afloat, and it should be no surprise that this difficult period had a lasting effect on Don. They lost a lot; however, Don was never one to keep down and he adjusted his farm operation. In time, he went from raising fats to buying calves in the spring and putting them out on grass for the summer. Like most farmers, “retirement” isn’t really a word in their vocabulary and Don was no exception. He liked to stay busy, and although he slowed down in recent years, he loved his life on the farm.

I will be the first to admit, I would be lying if I said Don was all work and no play. It should be no surprise that he loved the outdoors, and with that came his passion for hunting and fishing. Those close to Don knew there were two dates circled on the calendar every year… the 4th Saturday in June (opening of Bass season) and the 1st Monday in November (opening of hunting season). He cherished these times and the people he shared them with. Countless stories could be told of these adventures and the additional joy they brought to Don’s life. He liked sharing these opportunities with others, and often told the story of his fishing experience with his grandson Cody. Cody was raised in Orangeville and visiting Grandpa and Grandma’s when Don took him to one of their farms to fish in a small stream. Having some experience fishing, Don warned Cody that he couldn’t do his regular full cast, as his lure would end up in the grass on the other side of the stream. Cody’s response, “This isn’t a stream, Grandpa this is a ditch!” Don had a good laugh and then proceeded to watch Cody cast his lure into the grass (like Grandpa warned him not to) before connecting with the water and immediately pulling in a nice pike. It was stories like these, that Don loved and often reminisced about. Don also enjoyed a good game of cards, with bridge, euchre, and solo being some of his favourites. It should be no surprise that Don was always in it to win, but then again isn’t winning always more fun? In the 1960’s, Don became a member of the Chesley Curling Club. In time it became a big part of his life, and he excelled. For many years, he enjoyed participating in a variety of competitive curling events with many locals. If he wasn’t curling himself, he could often be found watching it instead on television. The same can be said about his beloved Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Together with Beth, they enjoyed attending dances in their young years and even tried their hand at square dancing. Although not big travelers, they experienced Florida on a few occasions and traveled to England once. However truth be told, Don was usually happiest at home in Bruce County. In 1989, Don and Beth purchased their trailer in Pike Bay, and in the years following made many memories there with family and friends. O ya, he might have done a little fishing here too! It should be no surprise, that Don liked his meat and potatoes – with the odd sweet thrown in, and when 5 o’clock rolled around (happy hour) would enjoy a good shot of Lambs Amber (Rum) and coke when relaxing with friends.

As in any small rural community, the church is part of the community. Don and Beth were members of the Dobbinton United Church doing their part when it came to volunteering and being on the board. Don was also a trustee on the Board of Education in his younger years.

The 1990s brought a new joy to Don and Beth (gramps and grams), with the arrival of their grandchildren, Kelsey and Cody. They would put many, many miles on their vehicle running the roads between Dobbinton, Orangeville, and beyond.  All of Kelsey and Cody’s friends and teammates knew “gramps and grams”, as they were always there to cheer them on, and Don never failed to entertain them with his endless stories and expressions.

In October of 2022, Don was given the difficult news that he was suffering from ALS. Like many, this diagnosis was difficult, and family and friends rallied around Don to offer their support. Although the last few years have been difficult, Don never let it keep him down, always making the best out of every day. In addition to caring for himself, he was also Beth’s caregiver and did everything and anything to support her. He will be dearly missed!

With the love of his life by his side, Don passed away peacefully in his 87th year at the farm on the 10th of Elderslie. Beloved husband of Jesse Elizabeth “Beth” Slumskie (Currie). Dear father of Ted (Sally) and Jeff (predeceased – 1975). Proud grandfather of Kelsey (Andrew) and Cody (Dayna). Proud great-grandfather of Jake, Mya, and Brooks. Fondly remembered by his brothers Bob (Marnie), and John, sister Eleanor Currie (Ken – 2018), and sister-in-law Mary Ann McGhie (Rod). Don will be missed by his many caring cousins, friends, and neighbours.

Don and Beth were husband and wife, business partners, and best friends. As much as he loved farming, family was always most important to Don, followed closely by spending time with friends. Don was a character and certainly a force to be reckoned with!  Whether it was playing fastball, curling, fishing, playing cards, slugging bales, or splitting wood – he would never be out-run or out-done. He was a “glass half full” guy even in the face of extreme adversity.

Don’s family would like to thank Dr. Shoesmith and the ALS team at London Health Sciences, as well as the PSWs and others who provided support to Beth.

A memorial service honouring Don’s life will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 1 p.m. A reception and celebration of Don’s life will follow from 2 – 4 p.m.  Spring inurnment in Chesley Cemetery.

Memorial donations to ALS Canada or a charity of your choice would be appreciated by Don’s family as expressions of sympathy.

Submit A Condolence

Fill in the form below to send a public condolence.
To send a private condolence to the family click below.

If you are having difficulty posting a condolence, please email it directly to [email protected] and we will post it for you! Sorry for any inconvenience.

81 Condolences
Inline Feedbacks
View all Condolences

Our Testimonials

Our Facilities

Our Price List

Private Condolence

Contact Us