On April 15, Ann Elizabeth Dea (nee Donald) died of kidney failure, hastened by complications from COVID-19. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, John B. Dea; sisters Rebecca Gehman (Michael Leslie) and Jean (Lionel Holt), of North Vancouver; children Mary Ann (Claude Bernier) of Sparwood, B.C.; Meg (Brian Vail), John (Cynthia) and Tim (Maureen) of Edmonton; grandchildren Claire Bernier of Lethbridge; Elizabeth Vail of Berlin, Germany; Kathleen (Eric Howg), Bridget Vail, Meaghan Jolicoeur, Colin Dea and Patrick Dea, all of Edmonton; great-grandchildren Cody and Alice.
Ann was predeceased by her granddaughter Kelley-Anne.
Born in 1935 in Brantford, ON to Dr. Edward Ferris Donald and his wife, Margaret Steele Smith, Ann was raised in Edmonton and attended Garneau School. She graduated with a BA in English from the University of Alberta and married fellow student John “Berky” Dea in 1958.
Ann devoted her life to her family. She believed that everyone could contribute to community, and in that pursuit she lived a public life of volunteerism and philanthropy.
She became a Catholic during the tumultuous years of the second Vatican Council, believing that the changes in the traditional Church would lead to changed roles for women. Ann played a major part in the Edmonton Catholic Women’s Group, which made the historic presentation to the bishops of Canada in 1971, expressing the desire of women for greater participation in the life of the Church, which they conveyed to the Vatican.
Her passion for issues affecting women and families led to her appointment to the Advisory Council on the Status of Women in Canada.
After her service in Ottawa, her focus moved closer to home. The Clifford E Lee Foundation, the City of Edmonton Social Services Advisory Committee, the United Way, the Edmonton Community Foundation and the Edmonton Public Library, to name a few, all benefited from her skill and experience in the boardroom. Ann believed in community, and she spent her lifetime making her own community better. She believed that everyone could be a philanthropist.
Ann was a foodie who loved gourmet cooking and was a voracious reader of murder mysteries. She was a fierce proponent of proper English, and loved doing cryptic crossword puzzles.
She created a fund, the John and Ann Dea Family Fund, which is administered by the Edmonton Community Foundation. Donations there, or to the Pilgrims Hospice Society would be appreciated in Ann’s memory in lieu of flowers.
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