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Don-Roger Parkinson

Don-Roger Parkinson

Passed on: January 1st, 2018

With heavy hearts we regretfully announce the sudden, unexpected passing of Don-Roger Parkinson, PhD, MCIC, CC on Jan. 1, 2018 at Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Don-Roger was born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1952, and grew up in southern Ontario. Don-Roger was an Award of Merit trained swimmer and lifeguard and he spent many summers growing up working in outdoor community pools. In addition, he was a goalie on his high school water polo team. Don-Roger was a founding member of the Environmental Science program (1995) at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, now Grenfell Campus-Memorial University of Newfoundland, Corner Brook. For the past 23 years as an Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry, he taught numerous students introductory and inorganic chemistry, as well as the courses he pioneered in environmental analytical and aquatic chemistry. Close to 50% of all students in the Chemistry Stream of the program completed their General or Honours degree research projects under his thoughtful guidance. He served twice as Chair of Environmental Science at Grenfell Campus, most recently completing two terms as Chair in April 2017. Don-Roger loved teaching his students. His insistence that they become their best in his classes was his passion. He tirelessly worked on his research in the areas of assessing biomarkers for mould in buildings and building materials, in quantifying anti-oxidants in foodstuffs such as garlic and most recently in the isolation and uses of chitan and chitosan from green crab, an invasive species in Newfoundland and Maritime ocean waters; he published extensively in these and other areas in environmental science and analytical chemistry journals. His recent work on chitan and chitosan was aimed at improved methods of removing heavy metals and organic chemical compounds from drinking water. Don-Roger wanted to make this world a better place to live in. While studying at Brock University for his Bachelor of Science, Don-Roger, in his early twenties, supported himself in the summer holidays working in the coke ovens at Stelco Steel Industry in Hamilton, Ontario. Looking to study abroad and travel, Don-Roger toured around Europe with friends for a year in his Volkswagen mini-bus and went back to England which included teaching in a chemistry lab at a boys school for a couple of years, There, he met HRH Queen Elizabeth II, when she officiated the reopening of the school. Photographs of Don-Roger, his colleagues and the Queen are proudly displayed in his office at Grenfell Campus and in our family living room. After teaching the young school boys in Chemistry, Don-Roger went to City of London Polytechnic to work in a Chemistry Lab and study for his PhD in Chemistry. He enjoyed working side by side with his supervisor Dr. William McFarlane. After defending his PhD in 1988, and living and working in England for 8 years, Don-Roger desired to work in North America to be nearer to family. Don-Roger moved to Boston to accept a position in his field at Tufts University for a couple of years, Bishops University in Sherbrook, Quebec for 2 years, and then on to Grenfell Campus in 1995. During his sabbaticals and summer terms, throughout his career, Don-Roger was a guest lecturer to speak about his research, and visiting researcher and scholar at many universities. Several summer terms were spent lecturing, teaching and researching at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Don-Roger is much loved by his 94 year old mother (Lili Turner-Parkinson) and by his younger sister (Holly Carol Parkinson) of Ottawa, Ontario, formerly from south-western Ontario. We will miss his daily phone calls, visits on every holiday and summers. The three of us went on many vacations around the world. Don-Roger was well traveled. He was Liliís right arm and Hollyís dear big brother. He cared for, fixed things, solved our problems, bought and paid for many things, treated us like princesses, and told us daily that he loved us. Don-Roger was a classically trained musician, which included piano, guitar, harmonica, organ, flute and other instruments. He had a love for jazz music and Holly and Don-Roger attended several summer jazz festivals together. He was an ear trained musician and able to sit at the piano without music for an audience and play familiar songs and incorporate jazz riffs into the music. His fingers tinkled the keys that gave us joy. Our little family of three is now gone. We are very proud of him and life will never be the same without him. Don-Roger recently purchased a home where he hoped to retire. This past summer, Don-Roger enjoyed gardening, which included growing the sweetest tomatoes and tending to the seasonal flowers and roses. Don-Roger made us proud to walk down the street with him. He was easy to point out in a crowd because of his size and height, piercing blue eyes, and warm and gentle smile. Kindness and friendship to Don-Roger from colleagues, students and friends was received and returned. He was very well respected in the Corner Brook, Grenfell Campus and communities where his mom and sister lived. He will be greatly missed. A memorial and Celebration of Don-Rogerís life will be held at Grenfell Campus in the Spring, so Lili and Holly can travel to Corner Brook in the milder weather, details to follow. Don-Roger will be buried in a family plot in an Anglican Cemetery in Carleton Place, Ontario. Donations to be put towards a prize for a student with the highest grade in Analytical Chemistry at Grenfell Campus with details to follow.

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