Elizabeth May Donovan (nee Grace)

Passed 02/05/2024


Obituary For Elizabeth May Donovan (nee Grace)

Betty passed away in Glasgow Hall, Parkland On The Lakes LTC, Dartmouth NS on February 5th 2024, of old age due to complications of Asthma, COPD, RSV and Pneumonia.

Betty was born in Halifax in 1930, her parents were Thomas James Grace, died 1958 and Eva Sarah Philips, died 2010. She was the oldest of 7 children and the only girl. She had the greatest of respect of her younger brothers; who lets say, were a rambunctious lot.

Educated in the local schools of Lower Sackville, upon graduation Betty attended and graduated from Miss Murphy’s Business College, whereafter she joined the Frank M. O’Neal Company in Halifax and rose to the position of Office Manager.
Betty was an administrative powerhouse who knew the old school ways of shorthand, dictation, typing, reception, and document filing when there was no electronic office equipment and words per minute on typewriters ruled the world.

In 1957, Betty met her future husband, Flying Officer Norman John Donovan on a blind date at the RCAF Officers Mess in Greenwood NS. Norman was a navigator in 405 Squadron flying Lancaster’s chasing Soviet subs around the Atlantic.

They were married on 24 May 1958 and during the next 65 years had two boys, Michael (Gillian De Boer) and Sean (Marlene Steppan). Betty is also Nanny to two amazing and wonderful grandchildren: Marc (1999) and Sandra (2001) as well as an Aunt to many Nieces and Nephews within the Grace and Donovan families.

As an “Air Force Wife” for 37 years Betty “was posted” to many, many different and diverse locations:

· Canadian Forces Base Summerside, PEI: 1958 – 1962

· CFB Stadacona, Halifax, NS: 1962 – 1964

· Canadian Forces Base Summerside, PEI: 1964 – 1967

· United States Navy Patuxent River Naval Air test Station, Maryland USA: 1967-1970

· National Defence Head Quarters, Ottawa, Ont: 1970 – 1971

· Canadian Forces Staff College, Toronto, Ont: 1971 – 1972

· Canadian Forces Base Comox, BC: 1972 – 1974

· National Defence Head Quarters, Ottawa, Ont: 1974 – 1976

· Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank California: 1976 – 1980

· CFB Greenwood, NS: 1980

Betty looked upon moving homes as a challenge sport and over all the years of moves she was able to create a loving home for her family regardless of how the furniture fit or whether it matched the wallpaper.

Betty was a lady who had many talents which she was able to develop and enhance during the families many military postings. Betty was a painter, seamstress, wood carver, porcelain doll maker, figurine beader, knitter, crocheter, macramé, ceramics and decoupage artist as well as an amateur beekeeper. The Donovan home is a virtual art gallery of her artistic creations.

Norman was a member of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association and so Betty, as a new bride, wanted to share in her husband’s activities. She learned to shoot and progressed rather well and went on to represent PEI in the first annual Canadian Winter Games in 1967 in Quebec City. QC.

Using the skills that she developed during her career in the business world Betty established a branch of the “Sew N’ Fit” company in the Annapolis Valley to teach others how to sew their own clothes and look great in them.

Retirement commenced in 1990 as they stayed in Greenwood when Norman retired.

Having had enough of Nova Scotia winters, Betty and Norman spent 9 years wintering in New Zealand, the Algarve Portugal, Barbados, the Azores, Gibraltar, and Germany.

In 2010, Betty and Norman sold their home in Greenwood N.S. and took up residence in a wonderful Retirement Community in Dartmouth N.S, known as Parkland On The Lakes.

As the years progressed Betty transitioned from independent living with Norman at Inverness Hall to the nursing home of Glasgow Hall, within the Parkland On The Lakes facility; where she was wonderfully cared for by the amazing team of nurses and support staff on the 3rd floor until her passing.

A celebration of life will take place in the late spring of 2024.

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  • 02/14/2024

    Norman, we just recently learned of the passing of Elizabeth. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

  • 02/13/2024

    Norm, Sean, Mike and Families, so sorry to read of Betty's passing. We were neighbors in Greenwood for many years and always enjoyed our visits together. Please accept our sincerest condolences. May God keep you all in His loving arms and bring you comfort. God Bless! Gloria & Chris Troop.

  • 02/09/2024

    Brian & I were so sad to hear of Betty's passing but happy to know it was a peaceful ending. The Donovans and ourselves shared several air force postings but the one that stands out was our times together in Thousand Oaks, California. Betty had been there for two years when we arrived and generously shared local information that helped to make our stay there so much smoother. Betty was one-of-a-kind, so capable and talented that no task seemed too onerous for her. She will be sorely missed and our sincere, deep condolences go out to Norm, Michael and Sean. Sincerely, Brian & Sheila Wattie

  • 02/08/2024

    A super 'lady'. Old school charm and etiquette to a tee. Much loved, and I heartedly enjoyed our time spent together. Betty's and Norman's boys were a big part of our lives, particularly in the Christmas holiday season in Ontario. I really feel for you at this time of loss. Love always, Gail XX

  • 02/08/2024

    So sorry to read Bettys' passing. I had seen her many, many years ago and she always had a smile. Knew her through her brothers, Fred, Ken and Bill. With all the pleasant memories of years gone by, hope they will help ease your sorrow at this difficult time. May she rest in peace after a wonderful 93 years. With my deepest and sincerest sympathy Judy Lively

  • 02/07/2024

    My condolences to Norm and family, Betty was a beautiful lady inside and out and we at Glasgow Hall will miss her kind and caring words!! She was a wonderful lady who brought joy to us all We miss you Betty, rest in peace beautiful angel

  • 02/07/2024

    My condolences, Norm. Wishing good remembrances for you. Dan McLean Carbon Alberta


  • 5 TREES

    Stella Hudson planted 5 trees in memory of Elizabeth May Donovan (nee Grace) . - 02/09/2024

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