Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, I rise today to thank all the people who work with us in the Senate. Thank you for the work you do; you enrich our work.
Honourable senators, I also rise to pay my respect to a former Senate employee and friend Donna Richardson Duncan who recently passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. Donna’s memorial took place this morning in Ottawa, which many of us attended. Donna will be remembered as a truly beautiful person inside and outside, who always carried herself with elegance and grace.
During her time at the Senate, Donna touched so many lives with her kindness, her strength, her sense of humour and her generosity. She often said to me her job in life was to keep me laughing.
Honourable senators, on the tragic day of the Ottawa shooting, October 22, 2014, Donna spent most of the day at my office. That day, I had agreed to host a group of 50 senior citizens from British Columbia. My guests arrived as the attack was taking place, and upon seeing them, Donna demonstrated such genuine kindness in ensuring everyone would safely await the end of the lockdown in my office. She put aside her own worries of what was happening to her husband. She circulated food and drinks to all my guests for several hours. Along with my staff, she offered moral support with a smile to all those concerned.
Honourable senators, Donna was a devoted Christian and a loving friend. She was a beautiful, strong woman who will be greatly missed by each and every person whose life she touched. Family and friends will remember her bubbly personality and positive energy. Her passion and love for life was an inspiration to everyone, including myself.
Donna leaves behind a grieving family, her husband John Duncan, her parents Austin and Ruby Richardson, her siblings, her nieces, her nephews, and all her friends.
The heavens have received a new angel. Donna, you have battled so bravely. Rest easy now. As her husband, John, said today, she’s now without pain.
Donna, may you continue to share that bright smile and contagious giggles onto all of us from above.
I want to end with what Costas Menegakis said at the service today. He said:
I was reminded of a famous quote that I feel speaks volumes about my friend and colleague Donna Richardson Duncan. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Donna, rest in peace.