Donald Kilback

Donald Valentine Kilback

Sunday, November 24th, 1929 - Tuesday, May 12th, 2020
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Donald Valentine Kilback of Red Deer passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at the age of 90 years. Don was born in Miniota, Manitoba to Margaret and Valentine Kilback. While a child, Don moved several times as his dad Val advanced in his CN railway career. Don took his schooling in Dodsland, Saskatchewan where he excelled in track and field. His specialty was pole vaulting, for which he won many awards. After graduation Don went to Saskatoon Normal School and took a one year teaching certificate. At 19 his first teaching position was in the grades 1 to 9 at Hilda School located near Medicine Hat, Alberta. While in Hilda, Don met Laura Surina and they were married in October 1950. A couple years later he took a teaching position at Provost, Alberta for two years, and then was Principal for four years of grades 1 to 12 at Olds, Alberta. He also taught shop at Olds where he discovered he was pretty handy with a hammer and saw. In 1958 Don accepted the position of Principal of grades 1 to 9 at Rosedale, Alberta. During this time period he attended summer school sessions in Edmonton and achieved his Bachelor of Education Degree. Both Don and Laura were in the Highlanders Army Reserve based in Drumheller, Alberta, where Don achieved the rank of Sergeant. In 1963 Don accepted the position of Principal of grades 1-12 at Coronation, Alberta. He continued to teach in his two specialties Math and English, as well as perform Administration duties. Don continued his studies and achieved his Master's Degree in Education in 1969. To achieve both Degrees it required 17 summer school sessions in Edmonton for six weeks each year. In 1971 Don accepted the position of Principal of W.R. Myers School, grades 7-12 in Taber, Alberta, where he worked until he retired in 1985. He continued to work with the Taber School Board for one year as a consultant and curriculum developer, followed by one year at Concordia Lutheran College working as a sabbatical Principal. Don and Laura relocated to Red Deer in 1988 to be closer to their three grandchildren. Throughout their lives, both Don and Laura were active members in the Lutheran Church communities where they lived. Don spent several years serving on Church Council in Taber and attended Trinity Lutheran and later Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Red Deer. As well they were both involved in community events and volunteered for several charities. In 1988, Don at age 55 learned to ski at Canyon Ski Hill in Red Deer. For 20 years with close friends and family Don skied Canyon Hill. As he progressed in skill he took memorable ski trips over the years with his daughter, Cheryl and son, Brent. They visited many ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains as well as the West Coast including Whistler and the local Mountains around Vancouver. After Don retired he became more of an adventurer and risk taker. He traveled with his daughter, Cheryl several times to visit his son, Brent who worked in both the mountains of Guatemala and years later in the rustic highlands of Papua New Guinea. Don enjoyed relaxing trips with his daughter Maureen, visiting Mexico to get away from cooler Alberta weather. To keep fit in the summer Don helped his daughter Maureen at the acreage until he reached 75. Don was an active curling until he was 79. He also played recreational hockey for decades, but continued to skate into his '70s. He continued to enjoy watching hockey and attended curling events in Red Deer. Don’s specialty in teaching English was put to the test when he was general editor for son Brent’s two Physiology/Biology text books published in 1990 and 1994. He published a book of poems in 2007 and penned his autobiography in 2008. Don and Laura celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary October 2010
Don was known to have a calm thoughtful demeanor, however held a quirky sense of humor right to his last day. He was generous with his time to help others and dedicated to support his family. He was selfless in giving of his time. As an example he devoted nine hours every other weekend for a year to drive his daughter Maureen and son Glen from Coronation to Calgary to study piano. His only request required a stop at Peters Drive-In before the drive home.
Don is survived by two daughters, Dr. Maureen Bakken of Red Deer, and Cheryl Kilback of Victoria, British Columbia; and two sons, Dr. Brent Kilback of Hanoi, Vietnam, and Glen Kilback (Sharon) of London, Ontario; each with their unique memories. He also leaves five grandchildren, two great grandchildren, two sisters-in-law, Violet and Helen of Nanaimo, British Columbia, brother-in-law John of Biggar, Saskatchewan and many other relatives. Don was predeceased by his wife Laura in 2011. Don was the remaining sibling. He was predeceased by his sister, Doryne; and six brothers, Jim, Norman, Harold, Walter, Morgan and Gordon. He was predeceased by two sisters-in-law, Eileen (Harold) and Joyce (Morgan). A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorial donations may be directed to Lutheran Church Canada for Concordia International School, Hanoi Vietnam. For information, please email Glen Kilback (
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