Reprinted from The Ottawa Citizen, remembering.ca > Ottawa home
MCLARTY, Donald William "BUNNY" May 21, 1922 - August 24, 2011 A LOVE STORY CONTINUES IN HEAVEN
Bunny, as all his family and closest friends knew him, passed away at 89 years, on August 24, 2011, surrounded by his four loving children. Thoughtful and kind until the very end, Don waited for Judy to arrive from Vancouver so that she could say goodbye. We know he's with Hopie now.
Don was predeceased in February of this year by his true love and strong supporter of 63 years (married April, 1947), Mary Hope McLarty (nee McSloy). After Hopie died, Dad was heartbroken and never really recovered. They were best friends and true partners in life.
Don is survived by his four children - Judy, Doug (wife Lynn Honsberger and their two daughters Roslyn and Daphne), Susan (partner Terry Karaim), and Christine (husband Jay Crossman and their daughter Hailey).
We were all very proud of Don's elegance, calm under fire and sense of adventure. He adored his wife, loved and supported his kids and grandkids, enjoyed a good dry martini, and felt most at peace at their cottage on the Big Rideau Lake. We remember Hope and Don dancing the Samba in the living room, cruising the Rideau Canal system in their Swinger, big, boisterous family Christmas celebrations, steaks on the barbecue, his beloved 1962 356B Porsche, his fondness for great Italian food, good friends, and of course, anything to do with planes.
Born in Newcastle, England, Dad's family moved to Buenos Aires when he was a toddler. There, he attended the Woodville School and St. Albans. His father worked as an engineer in the development of the Argentine railroads. Dad outlived his parents, Donald and Helen McLarty (nee Groundwater), three sisters and a brother, who all remained in Argentina.
In response to Hitler's invasions, Don volunteered as an Argentine national for the Royal Canadian Air Force on November 28, 1940 in Ottawa. He met Hope during his training at the Elementary Flight School in St. Catharines. Flight Lieutenant McLarty flew Hurricanes over North Africa. He'd completed 199 missions when he was shot down over El Daba Airport. After a year in two Italian POW camps, Don and his POW camp roommate, Ray Sherk, escaped and found their way to the Allied lines. They remained lifelong friends, reuniting most recently for the dedication of a Hurricane aircraft in Don's honour at the Vintage Wings of Canada airfield in May of this year.
Don and Ray Sherk were active members of the Royal Canadian Air Forces Escaping Society, an organization dedicated to the recognition of the extreme efforts and risks taken by the European families who assisted airmen in their escape or evasion of capture by the Germans in the Second World War. After the war, Dad returned to Canada. Don and Hope were married in 1947 and spent their honeymoon year together in Columbia, South America, where he managed an air survey flight crew. Don enjoyed a successful career in the Canadian Air Survey Industry, first as a pilot, followed by increasingly responsible roles in sales, marketing and managing Canadian air survey companies.
As President of the Canadian Association of Aerial Surveyors, Don significantly enhanced the role of private industry, both domestically and internationally. We are eternally grateful to Dad for many, things: he was a gentleman first and foremost, perceptive and kind always. Dad provided all of his family with a comfortable and warm home where friends were always welcome. He appreciated the finer things in life and worked hard to provide us with them. We appreciated Dad's wit and sense of humour (Old age combined with treachery will always overcome youth and skill), his loyalty in his close friendships, his love of old jazz, the simple pleasure he took in puttering around the cottage (do we really need one more tool shed Dad?), his artful decoration of the Christmas tree every year, and his absolute joy in having his family around him.
We thank Dad for being an extraordinary role model to us as adults. We would like to thank the entire team at the Alta Vista Manor for their kindness and care in Dad's final days. You all helped tremendously.
In appreciation for Donald's wartime service as a fighter pilot in WWII, and in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: Vintage Wings of Canada, 1699 Rue Arthur Fecteau Street, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, J8R 2Z9 Tel: 819-669-9603 www.vintagewings.ca
Notifications of your donations in Don's memory or personal condolence notes may be sent to: J. Douglas McLarty, 628 Byron Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K2A 0E6. Friends may call at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, 280 Beechwood Avenue , Ottawa, on Tuesday, August 30th from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Memorial service on Wednesday, August 31st in the Sacred Space at 1 p.m., followed by interment in the National Military Cemetery at Beechwood Cemetery , The National Cemetery of Canada. Reception to follow at 3:30 pm at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.