Whitehorse Daily Star

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Derm O'Donovan

January 20, 1946 – February 20, 2023

It is with sadness that we share that Diarmuid (Derm) O’Donovan passed away at Whistle Bend Place on February 20, 2023. He was born in Dublin on January 20, 1946. His family emigrated to Canada, arriving by boat in Halifax, on St. Patrick’s Day in 1954. Derm grew up in Toronto but brought his family to the North in 1974, moving from Ontario to Inuvik in the middle of December. In 1978 they moved to Whitehorse where he pursued various career opportunities and raised 11 children with Kathy.

Derm moved his family to Dawson City in 1981 when he took on the role of General Manager of the Klondike Visitor’s Association. It was a role he loved, but in 1983 the family moved to St. Albert, Alberta where he worked as the Executive Director of the MS Society.

But the siren song of the north had firmly got under their skin, and in 1984 they moved back to Whitehorse. While Derm pursued many opportunities over the years, he finally found his calling as a Real Estate agent in 1991.

Derm is survived by his loving wife Kathy and his children Diarmuid Jr. (Berna), Roshean (Chris), Tara (Sean), Shawn (Darren), Shannon (Robin), Kieran (Natalie), Catherine (Justin), Ryan (Jenny), Declan, Conor and Brendan (Barbara) and his numerous (16!) and much-loved grandchildren and great-grandchild. He is also survived by his siblings Cathy (Marv) Havery, Conleth (Susan) O’Donovan, Emir (Jim) Poelzer, Mora (Marc) Ouellette, Neave (Ted) Greig, Gronya Thorsby (Bob), and many, many loved nieces and nephews.

Derm was preceded in death by his mother Rosaleen in 1956, and father Diarmuid in 2006; his sister Roisin in 1948 and his brother Killian in 2015.

There will be a community celebration of life in a few months, with details to be confirmed at a later date.

Comments (7)

Andrea Lemphers on Mar 2, 2023 at 11:44 pm

We are saddened to learn about Derm’s passing and offer our sincerest condolences to his entire family. We have have many happy memories of our encounters with Derm over the years and know his passing will affect many people in so many ways. May you rest in peace and we hope you’ll be playing some scrabble games with Jack.

Joan Steele and family on Mar 1, 2023 at 3:44 pm

My condolences to the O'Donavan family

Legend on Feb 28, 2023 at 9:47 pm

I met many of the O'Donovan clan in Air Cadets back in the 90s. All great lads and great people. I held them all in deep respect and admiration. Thank you for being role-models to me and so many others! Sorry to hear of the passing of your father. He was a great man and will be missed. Sláinte.

Stanley Noel on Feb 28, 2023 at 8:56 pm

Great family of amazing strong and courageous young adults. Clearly your dad did something well leaving behind such a great legacy. Shawn, Roshean and family, sending you all kind thoughts.

Bob Fitzgerald on Feb 27, 2023 at 2:28 pm

As a couple we were honoured to call both Derm and Cathy friends. Love to all the clan from Bob And Marjorie

Peter Dielissen on Feb 25, 2023 at 2:34 am

Derm was a honourable real estate agent I used twice to buy and sell my homes.

Rest in peace...

Paul & Barbara Emerson on Feb 24, 2023 at 7:15 pm

Derm has been a long time friend , always welcoming . We will surly miss him .

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