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5 years 4 months
Submitted by amber on Thu, 03/14/2024 - 11:16:AM

Donald Ross Hay, age 74, passed away on March 8, 2024 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.

Son of Nancy Hay (Watson) and Edmund Hay, he was born on May 3, 1949, in Montreal, Quebec. Donald grew up in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood along with his brother David, and spoke of a childhood filled with ample time to play outside and explore. As a young boy, he loved to fish which was a passion that he would take with him into adulthood. He participated in many sports and had a reputation as a natural athlete. Donald was a huge Frank Sinatra fan and watched all his special TV shows and appearances. His appreciation for music was reflected in his large record collection that grew over the years. 

Donald obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in June 1970 from McGill University. He often spoke how an education in science equipped him with the necessary analytical tools to pursue a career in financial services and accounting. His professional career began and ended with one company, KPMG, where he spent tireless hours building an esteemed reputation for his dedication and strong work ethic. He became a partner at KPMG at the young age of 29, setting the stage for a distinguished career with many achievements. Alongside a demanding profession, he obtained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in 1999 and became a Life Member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario in 2021. Also, early into his KPMG career, Donald moved his young family to Quebec City to improve his French, an interest he embraced at every opportunity he could.

Donald was a deeply beloved father, grandfather, partner, brother, uncle, and friend. He is survived by his children; Carolyn and husband, Joël, Kenneth and wife, Jenn, and Michael and wife, Vihara; his 6 grandchildren; Olivia, Justin, Annabelle, Jillian, Evelyn, and Maya; the mother of his children; Patricia Hay (Luke); partner; Shirley Jones; brother; David and wife, Claudia; and his nieces and nephew; Lorraine, Jonathan and Krista. He built a family he cherished and loved deeply, as part of his legacy and a testament to the bonds he created throughout his life. 

In his spare time, Donald voraciously read fictional mystery novels and followed the latest news headlines with keen interest. He loved to garden outside, as well as take care of dozens of plants he kept inside his home. He also loved keeping track of the financial markets, a research activity he enjoyed on a Sunday morning while listening to the radio. He found joy in the act of puttering, as tinkering on a home improvement project was one way he allowed himself to unwind after a long week. He tried his best to keep his golf game intact over the years, and still had a membership at the Kanawaki Golf Club. 

Donald was a man who loved family traditions and went to great efforts to keep those traditions over the years. Trips to Lac de la Sucrerie (the Hay family cottage) every summer, Sunday night dinners with his family, watching the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum and now Bell Centre, annual fishing trips, and gourmet clubs with friends to name a few. On road trips, he often reminded everyone to take in the beautiful scenery outside while driving the family minivan. Road trip highlights include skiing around Quebec City and Vermont, driving down the East Coast of the US, the Cabot Trail and Prince Edward Island. One of Donald’s favourite ways to show affection was to prepare a meal or dish with his own personalized touch (corned beef hash, sugarless apple pie, turkey with his homemade stuffing, stew & dumplings, pea soup, and fondue nights) in the company of his family. 

In retirement, Donald spent considerable time lending his knowledge and experience to several endeavors. Some of his initiatives include a longstanding consultative relationship with Montship Inc. providing counsel to the company for almost 50 years. He also volunteered with the Hawkesbury General Hospital (HGH) Foundation for over 10 years, as Treasurer and President of their Finance Committee. In that time, he had a huge impact on the organization and helped the HGH Foundation to raise over 12 million dollars to bring new services and equipment to the hospital. Alongside these efforts, Donald also provided strategic and financial advice to Camp Amy Molson (a camp for children in vulnerable circumstances), and served as a member of his local Rotary Club. 

Donald was known for many positive qualities that will be fondly remembered including his humility, kindness, generosity, reliability, and sense of humour. His laughter was one of a kind and well-known for its volume and ability to elicit laughter among anyone near him. He had a strong devotion to his family, always making time to attend birthday parties, sporting events, musical recitals, holidays, and celebrations on a consistent basis. He loved to dance, and would partake enthusiastically in many wedding reception dance floors. He will leave a lasting impact on his immediate family members as someone you could count on and always willing to lend a hand to help, or ear to listen. In his later years, Donald’s greatest joy was watching and playing with his grandchildren. Whether it be a rowdy game of fee-fi-fo-fum at the cottage, a quiet card game around the dinner table, listening to an impromptu piano recital or just simply a hug before bedtime, he was always ready for it with a smile.

We invite you all to share memories of Donald on the Digital Guestbook. It was his wish that we laugh and reminisce, and smile together in his memory.

It was at Donald’s request to not have a public funeral service. In lieu of flowers, we ask that any donations be sent to the Hawkesbury Hospital Foundation in dedication to his efforts over the years.

We will miss you Dad. 


Digital Guestbook

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/15/2024 - 03:30:PM


Jean Mackenzie

I knew Donald for a long time, when he married my niece. The children I keep in touch. The last time I was Donald was at his last son wedding, Michael and Vihara. May his soul rest in peace. Amen. Donald we will miss you RIP

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/15/2024 - 06:09:PM


Jennifer and Shirley Ferguson

For more than 40 years, my sister Holly has had the gift and the privilege of being close to the Hay family. They embraced our entire crazy clan, knew every secret, gathered with us for happy moments and on sadder occasions. Now Holly and Carolyn share an unfortunate distinction - both have lost the Dads they treasured. Our hearts go out to Pat, Carolyn, Ken Mike and to the rest of the extended family. Donald was larger than life; his untimely loss hurts.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 01:39:AM


Ingrid and Eric Sinclair

What a lovely tribute to a beloved and cherished man. We’re so sad for your loss. Condolences.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 05:24:AM


Michel Lalande

I believe Donald was a kind, caring and generous man who loved his family.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 08:35:AM


Alain Neemeh

My condolences to the family. I first met Don at KPMG where he mentored and guided me through my career. He’s the individual responsible for me having met my wife when he « borrowed » her from the French side so that we could properly serve our new client, a company I eventually went to work for for 25 years (on his recommendation!). Thanks Don for your guidance, the laughs and our friendship. Thanks also for your hand in shaping my career, my wife and three beautiful children! May he rest in peace.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 10:59:AM


Gary Robertson

I was born 3 days ahead of Donald and reportedly we met the same week! Donald became the brother I never had.
My earliest memories range from highchair to high school; throughout we were fast friends. Birthdays, alternating Christmas and New Years dinners became a tradition for many years.
We both went to McGill but in separate faculties. After graduation I decided to join an accounting firm, which is known as PWC nowadays. With his job prospects limited at the time in the bioscience field, I suggested that he have a look at accounting. The rest is history, Donald had a very successful career as a partner at KPMG where his natural leadership qualities shone through.

In his family life, our close relationship continued and I was proud to be asked to be Carolyn's godfather. We had many wonderful get togethers with Don and Pattie, Carolyn, and eventually Kenneth and Michael. I especially remember the terrific peach pies that Pattie made on request from yours truly.

In later years we got together less frequently but always made it a point to meet somewhere for a long lunch for our birthdays to catch up on the families and discuss the issues of the day over a glass of wine.

Donald, you may be sure that on May 3rd, I will again raise a glass to you, my dear friend, and remember all our good times together.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 12:42:PM


Tim Caley & Dorothy Watson

We were very saddened to hear of Don’s passing and we offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the Hay family. Don was totally devoted to his entire family, from which he drew great joy and happiness. In addition, Don was a major and tireless contributor to his entire community, in many ways, that resulted in positive benefits for many people.
Don will be missed and may he Rest In Peace.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/16/2024 - 01:20:PM


Heather Kerr

Pat, my sincere condolences go out to you and the family on the loss of Don. Sending love and hugs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/17/2024 - 07:21:AM


Ranjith D. & Sakuntala D.

We met Donald only four times surrounding our children's wedding celebrations, and we really liked him right away. We found him to be a very caring father and a kind and friendly individual. In our limited interactions, Donald was quite jovial, we even exchanged a few jokes. In fact, we were very much looking forward to meeting him this year to reconnect and celebrate our granddaughter's birthday together. Rest in peace, Donald, and our sincerest condolences to the Hay family.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/17/2024 - 10:36:AM


Holly McCoubrey

The Hays are my second family, and Mr Hay was like my second dad. Carolyn and I started our friendship in preschool and my entire life has been enriched by wonderful memories of time spent in the company of her family.

A good portion of my childhood was spent on Parkwood Circle and in the Hay family minivan. I was invited on many family outings and vacations as though I were an honorary second daughter.

On trips Mr Hay would sometimes discover that us kids had stealthily retreated inside to watch terrible TV (Maury Povich at Jay Peak and Beavis and Butthead in Myrtle Beach are vivid memories). Needless to say we would be back outside rather quickly!

I was super fortunate to spend time each summer at Lac de la Sucrerie. Mr Hay would pick me up after work on Friday and we would drive up together to join the rest of the family. He would share stories about his childhood, point out landmarks and (to my great delight) would gun it at a particularly gut churning dip in the road. At the cottage I always ate a big breakfast, thanks to his gregarious urgings of “Holly this pancake/waffle/bacon HAS YOUR NAME ON IT”.

In later years it was wonderful to see Mr Hay regularly at birthdays, weddings and other celebrations. We would catch up on his retirement exploits, chat about the Canadiens and he would marvel at how quickly my own children were growing.

I will miss you, Mr Hay. Thank you for everything. Rest well.

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