On Sunday March 25, 2018 the world lost a cowboy from the old school. Don Vincent of Hanna passed away at Foothills Hospital in Calgary. He was surrounded by his family while listening to his favorite country music.
Don was born March 10, 1948 in Wingham, Ontario. Anyone who knew Don can only imagine the mischief suffered by his parents Clare and Ruth, as well as younger siblings - brother Bill and sister Elaine. It didn’t take long for Don to get tired of Ontario, or perhaps Ontario had enough of Don. The circumstances for his departure remain a mystery, but soon Don was headed West. It would be impossible to imagine Don any other place than the Alberta prairie.
It was in front of the new Noble Hotel in Calgary sitting on a case of Pilsner that Don, and his wife to be, Fran Hunter found each other. That was May of 1970, it was apparent they were meant to be together. They were married on June 5, 1971. After three years on a ranch in Consort, the pair spent a short time north in the bush. Don found the bush claustrophobic, preferring the wide open prairie. In 1975 the pair settled down in Hanna where Don could see for miles. He took a job with Hart Ranches and began causing trouble for his neighbors.
Their family would grow over the next few years, adopting their daughter Jodi in 1977 and son Blaine in 1980, who, thanks to Don’s determination, is better known as Zeke. Both kids learned quite a bit from Don’s unique methods of parenting; how to cook his infamous “Spotted Dog”, a meal that was equally enjoyable for breakfast, dinner, and supper; out running pick-up trucks; how to score a nineteen in cribbage; and seat belt safety were just a few of the life lessons that for a lack of a better term could be called “practical”.
Don was very active in the community, serving on the Rural Electrification Association (REA) where he was a thorn in the side of utility giant Alberta Power. As president of Rural Crime Watch, he was important in the fundraising efforts as a leader as well as a donor. The results of which could be seen around their ranch east of Hanna, much to the consternation of Fran and confusion of his children. An independent mind, Don found a home as a director of the Wildrose Alliance of Alberta.
An award winning dealer of Crystalyx, the Vincent Ranch was a place to pick up a lick tub and share a cup of coffee, or enjoy a Pil or two, swapping stories, and talking cows and grass with Don and Fran.
A constant fixture with the Hanna Rodeo Association, Don was happy to fill in wherever was needed to make the rodeo a success. While not a doctor, he was an important figure on the “medicine wagon.” Every spring, Don would look forward to brandings. To him these were a time to get together after the long winter, help out some friends, and of course start some trouble. A branding party with Don often lasted long and ended wet.
He loved auction sales, frequently working for Charlton Auction Service where he would often come home with more than he earned.
Many evenings were spent in the company of friends and family, enjoying Don’s immense catalog of cowboy poetry. More than one child in Hanna received discipline from their teacher for sharing nursery rhymes they had learned from Don. Always one to have a good time, it could be said Don didn’t go to parties, he was the party.
Throughout his life Don consistently worked to help his community be a better place.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years Fran, daughter Jodi Stiehl, son-in-law Jon Stiehl, son Blaine (Zeke) Vincent, partner Jessica Taylor and grandchildren: Arienne (aka Onion), and Zeke (aka “HT”), both of whom he took immense pleasure pestering; brother Bill Vincent, sister-in-law Lorna Vincent, sister Elaine Vincent, and mother Ruth Vincent. His influence will also live on through his many nieces and nephews.
Donations may be made to: Dryland Emergency Medical Services (DEMSA), Box 960, Hanna, AB, T0J 1P0.