|Donald Fraser McPhee, a man whose musical ability, spirit and dedication were welcome additions to the Canadian pro-life community, died November 24 at age 48.
Don was executive director of Coalition for Life from 1980 to 1982. He was introduced to several of today’s Campaign Life Coalition activists through Ruth Hoy, a well known pro-life worker in Ottawa. Ruth, who is also deceased, had met Don and his wife Posie, in Combermere, Ontario. At the time, she invited them to entertain at the National Alliance for Life conference held that year at Ottawa University.
The young couple made a lasting impression on the audience when they performed their original songs. Subsequently, they made a recording which was used as a fund-raiser for the Coalition for Life.
Don became active with the coalition, and shortly thereafter he became executive director. He served in the position for two years, until he resigned for health and family reasons.
Mary Tarantello, secretary of the coalition during those years, remembers Don as “a dedicated, good and considerate boss. He was a kind, intelligent gentleman to be admired and liked.”
Don and Posie moved to Combermere where they founded Nazareth Family Apostolate, a family retreat centre that survived for 10 years.
They also started Nazareth Journal, now in its eighth year of publication. During this time, Don became a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church and in 1993, he was offered a full-time position at St. Paul’s parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In Minneapolis, Don’s health continued to fail, and in October of this year, he received a heart-lung transplant. It is understood that years earlier, while he had been working as a guitar maker, Don damaged his lungs because of the toxic fumes he had inhaled.
Don and Posie had eight children and four grandchildren. His family was constantly with him for the last weeks of his illness, and he had the prayers of many friends.
Sincere sympathies from Campaign Life Coalition and The Interim to Posie and the family.