Donald Edward Chalk passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021. Donnie was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on November 9th, 1966, the son of Bill Chalk and Arlene Wagner. Donnie grew up in Swift Current with his brothers Murray and Fred and attended Elmwood, Beatty, and the Comprehensive High School. Donnie excelled in sports like baseball, football, and basketball. His mom drove many van loads of young men to out of town tournaments. But Donnie’s favourite pastimes were quite clearly hunting and fishing. Donnie would spend any spare time he had hunting with his brothers, cousins, friends, and later, his nephew.
Fortunately, hunting has an off season and Tracy Davis had the good fortune to meet Donnie in the spring of 1985. The high school sweethearts were married in August of 1991. In August of 94, Tracy and Donnie welcomed their first child, Hayley Brett. Donnie dove right into parenting and was the go-to for settling Hayley as a baby. A couple of years later, Donnie and Tracy had their second child, Keely Dawne. Again, Donnie thrived as a dad and took his girls everywhere and anywhere. He shared all of his favourite pastimes with them, and they grew to love hunting and fishing as much as he did.
Donnie brought the girls along right from a young age when hunting and fishing. Being the fantastic dad he was, Donnie would pack a thermos of hot chocolate or cold drinks, the least noisy snacks he could find, and, sometimes, stuffed animals and blankets. He often woke them up early on those mornings saying, “You can’t shoot a buck in bed!” As the girls grew older, they accompanied him up North to go bear hunting and Juan even made it up the year before covid. Many memories were made in the tree stands and around the fire with special friends and his kids. Over the years, Donnie’s passion for hunting grew and he is in both the Boone and Crockett and Henry Kelsey record books.
Besides enjoying the outdoors, Donnie and his Chalk chicks spent almost every weekend in a hotel while the girls played a variety of sports. Donnie was involved as a coach at times and was known for his encouraging nature with the kids. At other times, Donnie could be found in the crowd, beaming with pride while watching his girls. Some of the family’s favourite years of sports were when the girls played AA hockey together. Donnie never wanted to miss a second of what they were doing and could not have been prouder on both Hayley and Keely’s convocation days. Donnie always stressed the importance of education with his girls and encouraged them to go as far as they could.
The family enjoyed many hot holidays as well as ski vacations and trips to various places in the U.S. and Canada. Almost always, the girls travelled with them, but sometimes Donnie and Tracy travelled on their own to places like Mexico, Hawaii, New Orleans and Toronto for ball games. However, the Chalk family’s favourite place to spend time together has always been at Lac Pelletier. Donnie worked extremely hard to create the perfect getaway for his family and now Tracy, the girls, and Juan find peace at the cabin, surrounded by memories. The experiences at the cabin were enhanced but also made more chaotic when Ryder, the family chocolate Lab came along. Just as obsessed with hunting and fishing as Donnie, Ryder soon became his best friend. Donnie was thankful when Hayley and Juan adopted Lou, as he is able to distract and tire Ryder out. This new duo did not excite the family Maltese Shitzu Sam, who was approaching 15 years old.
Donnie worked in oilfield construction for 29 years. He was well respected for his quality work and friendly nature. He learned many skills that served him well when working around home or at the cabin. Donnie was truly a jack of all trades. When Donnie became ill and required a wheelchair ramp to get in the house, his co workers at Wilf’s Oilfield Services made it happen.
Donnie was diagnosed with stage IV terminal cancer in June of 2020. Toughness has nothing to do with size as Donnie proved to doctors over and over just how much he could endure. He fought hard and gained another year of memories with his family. His sweetest memory of that year was his daughter Hayley’s wedding to Juan Cabrales in April. Donnie watched both his beautiful daughter’s with pride that day. And what made the day even sweeter, was finally locking in the perfect son-in-law.
If it is even possible, covid made cancer even harder to bear. However, Donnie had an incredible support system. Friends and family came together to give Donnie the best stage IV journey possible. Those who have experienced cancer to the extent Donnie did will understand what that means.
Donnie was predeceased by his mother Arlene Wagner, his mother-in-law Fern Davis, and his maternal and paternal grandparents. He will be deeply missed by his wife of 29 years, Tracy Chalk; their daughters Hayley Cabrales (Juan) and Keely Chalk, all from Swift Current; his father Bill Chalk; his brother Fred Chalk (Denise) and their son William Chalk (Laura-Ann) and their children Koehn and Sterling; his brother Murray Chalk (Leanne) and their son Dalton Chalk, all of Swift Current. He will also be missed by his step-father Alvin Wagner of Swift Current; step-brothers Gerald Wagner (Abi) of New Denver, B.C. and Rory Wagner (Fern) and sons Dale and Lane of Olds, AB. Donnie will also be missed by his father in-law and mother in-law Mel and Audrey Davis; sister-in-law Lexie Eidsness of Swift Current; her children Lori Wedel (Wil) and their children Ella and Ava of Prince George B.C.; Greg Eidsness (Marina), and Brittany Eidsness (Hardi) of Vancouver, B.C.; his brother-in-law Barry Davis (Kathy), and his children Stefan Davis (Sierra) of Winnipeg, M.B. and Kelsey Davis of Regina, S.K. and step-children Ashlyn Schutte of Regina, S.K. and Zac Schutte of Moose Jaw, S.K.
Donnie instilled in his family the value of hard work, an appreciation for the outdoors, the importance of family, and how to be grateful and gracious even when life isn’t giving you a reason to be. His family believes the measure of a man is how you make others feel. With that said, Donnie Chalk was one hell of a guy.
The Celebration of Life for Donald “Donnie” Chalk was held on Monday, July 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm from The Saloon, Kinetic Exhibition Park, Swift Current, SK with Javier Cabrales serving as MC. Gale Stack served as vocalist. The eulogy was given by Brenda Wilson. Grace was said by Kathy Davis. The ushers were Ron Gering, Butch Gering, and Tod Brennan. Fred Chalk, William Chalk, Murray Chalk, Dalton Chalk, Barry Davis, Stefan Davis, Reg Wilson, and Griffin Wilson served as Honourary Pallbearers.
In memory of Donnie Chalk, donations made to the Swift Current Wildlife Federation would be appreciated by the family.
The service was recorded and can be viewed here.
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Swift Current Wildlife Federation