Donald Leo Tarnowski

February 18, 1952 - March 6, 2022
March 15, 2022 17 Condolences Print Obituary

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Donald Leo Tarnowski on Sunday, March 6, 2022 after a long illness with cancer. Don grew up in Wetaskawin and Red Deer Alberta, moving to Edmonton in 1974. He completed an Arts degree (Major Political Science) at Red Deer College and the University of Alberta, breaking up his studies for a year to travel to parts of South Pacific, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Don often stated that travelling and going to university were two of the best decisions he made in his life. He had a diversity of work experiences, including road construction, school bus driving, operating a concrete truck. For most of his working career, he was employed by Human Resources and Development and Skills Canada (HRDSC) as a project officer, assisting diverse populations, including indigenous communities, nurses, Vietnamese immigrants, and the homeless. In the early 2000s he landed his dream job as accommodations officer for HRDSC, which involved coordinating department moves and providing ergonomic assistance to employees.  When Don retired in 2011, he set up his own “tent on the fairground”, his consulting business, Storganize.

Don married Barb in September 1992. They were blessed with one son, Nevin.  Don was a wonderful, dedicated husband and father. He had many other interests including music and compiling playlists, electronics, history (Roman Empire, WWII), shopping second hand stores and garage sales, antiques, and vintage clothing.  He pursued family life, work, and interests with complete dedication and gusto. Don was generous and gave back by helping others in various ways, engaging politically, and volunteering on the board of Looma Good Deed Association. Once he and Barb retired, they enjoyed home time together, as well as travelling. Among many highlights of their trips were driving the US Pacific Coast, visiting WWII historical museums in Germany, exploring family roots at the Tarnowski Castle in Poland, and visiting his friend Neil in Scotland.

Don was predeceased by his Parents (Norbert and Marian) and brother, Allen. Don will be remembered by his wife, Barbara (Holoboff), his son, Nevin, brothers Beverly and Robert, sisters Annette and Karen, and many nieces and nephews.

 A Celebration of Don’s Life will be held March 21 at 1:30 at Ellerslie Rugby Park, 11004, Ellerslie Road, SW Edmonton. Memorial Donations in Don’s honor may be made directly to Child Haven International or the Canadian Cancer Society

The family express deep gratitude to the staff at the Cross Cancer Institute, AHS hospitals, Palliative Home Care, and Pilgrims Hospice for the gracious kindness and care they provided during Don’s encounter with cancer.

  1. I was very sorry to hear of Don’s passing, I worked with him years ago and he was always so energetic and very good to work with. He will be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family at this time.

    • Thank-you Sharon, for your kind words. Barb

  2. So honoured to have known Don . Working beside such a positive soul for many years . He will always be a positive memory in my time at HRSDC .. when you needed help call Don . His life was cut short way to soon but he accomplished so much in that time . Rest In Peace good friend . Your memory is stamped on many peoples lives forever. My condolences to your family Don . You were so very proud of your son .

    • I am saddened to hear this very sad news about Don. I worked with him for many years as an employee with ESDC. I found Don to be so professional, kind and a hard worker. Sending sincere condolences to the family and may he rest in peace.

    • Thank-you, Cindy. we will miss him but so grateful he was a part of our lives .

  3. Deepest condolences to Don’s family. I worked with him at HRDC. Don was a gentle man with a big heart and sense of humor. Rest peacefully my friend. May your many cherished memories bring solace to the family 🙏

    • Thank-you Judy. We have so many great memories of our time with Don. Don is at peace now.

  4. As I reflect back on the many years of working with Don I recall a kind, compassionate, energetic guy who often worked long hours – frequently way beyond quitting time, in order to make sure “his project” was completed perfectly. In every capacity he was detail focused, going the extra mile to help someone’s life a little bit better. He seemed happiest when story telling, often sharing moments about trips with Barb or times with Neven. His eyes would sparkle and a smile would appear whenever he spoke of this family, he was so proud.
    Don was a delight to work with, and a pleasure to know. He will be missed. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

    • Thank-you Vicki
      Don will be missed, his stories will live on in our memories. My eyes sparkle when I think of him too. Barb

  5. Dear Barb & Nevin,
    What a wonderful & meaningful tribute to husband/ Dad’s well lived life.
    My heartfelt prayers & sympathy to you both!
    Margaret Swedish

  6. Dear Barb & Nevin,
    Will continue to think of you Barb.!

    • Thank-you Margaret

  7. I was surprised and saddened to learn of Don’s passing. We shared a number of Saturday breakfasts at Hap’s Hungry House along with Laurie Epstein when he worked in the west office on 156 street. My memories of Don include that he had a real passion for life and wanted to experience all that he could. He was very methodical and detailed in making sure that he did a perfect job. I remember that he spoke of things that he did outside of work like being involved in a local movie, speaking of driving a concrete truck and a keen interest in music. I also remember him working as a move coordinator and in ergonomics. He always made people feel at ease with change and and always put their needs and comfort his priority. I am happy to have shared time with him.

    • Thank-you for the kind words, Larry. Don had a very full, interesting life. Move coordination and ergonomics topped the cake in his career – it was his dream job.

  8. My condolences go out to his friends and family. Don was an amazing guy, always enjoyed his passion to do right

    • Thank-you Deb

  9. Some people leave a lasting impression through their humour, storytelling, empathy and wisdom. Don was one of those individuals. He always seemed to know the right thing to do and say in a situation. I worked with Don in the late eighties and he always shared pearls of wisdom with me and we shared a lot of common interests. When I left the department, he reminded me that truck drivers always said, “catch you next season” rather than “goodbye”. I recently spent time searching the internet to find out how I could reach him and was saddened to learn that he had passed away.
    He was truly a “great guy”and I wish to give my condolences to his family and friends who must miss him a great deal. Sending prayers to all of you!

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