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Donna May (McGarvey) Merrill

February 19, 1935 ~ September 24, 2022 (age 87)


Our beautiful, much-loved Donna passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at the Red Deer Regional Hospital September 24th , 2022.

She was born in Sylvan Lake, the eldest of 3 girls to Edna and Leland McGarvey. She grew up in the Pleasant Hill District.

In 1953, she married Bud (Delbert) Merrill. During their sixty-nine- and three-quarter years of marriage, their love, devotion and respect for each other showed all of us how a marriage thrives and endures. Together they worked hard long hours on their mixed farming operation south of Ponoka in the Seafield district. Donna was always at Bud’s side, rising to every challenge that farming and life brings.

Their family of five children were raised on everything home made and home grown.

She was an excellent cook and baker. As a young girl, she was preparing family meals and canning. Throughout her life she hosted many large family gatherings, fed the threshing crews, and anyone who came to her door. She was especially famous for her pies, bread and cinnamon buns. Her door was always open and her home was brimming over with friends and family making sure they were well fed and had a safe place to stay.

Donna was a take care, decision making woman, which served her well throughout her nearly 40 years as a vendor, baker, lunch counter provider, co-manager, then manager of the Ponoka Farmers Market. She treated her vendors with respect and handled anything that was thrown at her. She tended to her beloved market right to the end.

Donna is survived by husband Delbert “Bud” Merrill; sister Carol (Chuck) Lenton; children Lorraine Dusseault (Leo Breitkreuz), Everett (Darlene)Merrill, Patsy Erickson (James Roberts), Del Merrill (Wendy Coulter), and Ken Merrill (Lana Rosentreter); 24 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren;  and 1 great- great-grandchild.

She was predeceased by her parents Leland and Edna McGarvey; sister Aurla Dueck; sons-in-law Doug Erickson and Daniel Dusseault; grandson-in-law Matt Thompson; Bud’s sisters and their husbands: Ruth (George) Cole and Lois (Frank) Vogel; and numerous extended family members.

Our Donna was a precious and very much-loved Wife, Mom, Sister, Grandma, Family Member and Friend. We will all miss her dearly. Until we meet again.

There is a private family graveside service on September 29th at the Forest Home Cemetery in Ponoka.

Donations in memory of Donna can be made to The Ponoka Wheelchair Van Society.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna May (McGarvey) Merrill, please visit our floral store.


Private Services

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