We Remember


April 28, 1947 — December 18, 2021

Rather than a funeral or celebration of life, Don asked that we hold a more light-hearted afternoon. We are so grateful we are now able to gather with everyone who knew and loved him.

Please join the Dobson Family at The Okanagan Golf Club (Bear and Quail) at 5:30 pm on April 29th, 2022, for a burger and beer on Don.

We look forward to sharing stories, memories, and laughter & tears as we celebrate together, on what was to be Don’s 75th birthday!

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Don Dobson on December 18, 2021. Don was a family man, a devoted husband of 38 years to Terry, a proud, loving father to Justin Dobson (Angie) and Marisa Ryan (Darren), and an honorary father to Troy Sherris (Stephanie). He adored being “Papa” to his four precious young grandsons: Weston, Hayes, Braxton and Brooks.

While predeceased by his parents, William Kenneth Dobson, and Una Grace Dobson (née Osborn), Don is deeply missed by his siblings: Wendy, Phil (Moyra), and David (Jeanne). He is also fondly remembered by his father-in-law, Stan Palmer; brothers-in-law, Rod Palmer (Amy) and Greg Palmer (Tina); sister-in-law, Kathy McKay; and an extended family of nieces and nephews.

Don was born in Vernon, BC and spent most of his life in the Okanagan. He was raised in a family of high achievers and was strongly influenced by his father, Ken, a professional engineer who managed the Vernon Irrigation District until 1962 when he joined the provincial water rights branch.

Don closely followed in his dad’s footsteps, and in 1972 he graduated from UBC with an Engineering Degree in Geology. His career started with hydrological assessments on the Fraser River Dikes, and he later went on to manage BC Environments’ Engineering section for the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Kettle River area.

In 1989, Don risked his full-time job and steady paycheck to establish Dobson Engineering Ltd., and for more than 32 years, Don and his team provided advice to the provincial and local governments in BC and Alberta, water purveyors, industry and the public. He was a sought-after expert for many major projects and emergencies around water management, including the 2003 Mountain Park Wildfire, the Ellis Creek fish bypass channel, the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative and the 2018 flooding in Grand Forks.

Like his father, Don volunteered countless hours and earned awards for his outstanding contributions. He was a driven professional with an unmatched work ethic. In 2020, he received the Engineers and Geoscientists BC President’s prestigious DC Lambert Professional Service Award. This speaks volumes to the impact he had on improving how engineering is practised today. Don will be missed by the many clients and colleagues who became his lifelong friends. He would be so proud and humbled by the Gorman Group’s December 20, 2021 Facebook tribute announcing the loss of a legend.

Don enjoyed travelling and created a working paradise everywhere he went, but it was the simple pleasures he loved most – a quiet evening at home with his family or friends, a good book and long walks along Mission Creek. Don had a deep love and respect for Mother Nature. He took comfort in the sound of the rain, marvelled at the power of a storm, and admired the beauty of wildflowers in the spring.

To his family, Don was our rock  – a best friend, life mentor, advocate and protector who could fix just about any problem with love, laughter, gorilla glue or duct tape. He was a man of words and an endless storyteller. We’re incredibly proud of his impressive career and will miss his wisdom, the sound of his deep voice, the warmth of his embrace, and his loving kisses on the forehead.

Don’s work here is done, but his legacy will live on through his family, his completed projects, and the many friends and colleagues he touched and mentored over his lifetime.

During Don’s year-long battle with kidney cancer, our family grew to deeply appreciate the vital role community plays in one’s life. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, clients, caretakers, doctors and health professionals who were so supportive, compassionate, and gracious with their time.

Don strongly believed you reap what you sow. In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to the Hospice House, planting a tree, or committing a small act of kindness in his memory.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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Hospice House Kelowna Link: hospicehousekelowna.com




  • Eve McBride says:

    We will miss Don. He was a solid, caring and generous friend. Love you forever Don! xo Eve and Bill

  • Ted Osborn says:

    My sincrere condolence on your loss. He was a much admired and appreciated cousin!

  • Donna & Garth says:

    Dear Terry, Justin & Marisa,
    We are so saddened to hear of Don’s passing. His tribute is so beautiful and so fitting for such a fine person whose legacy will live on. With heartfelt condolences. Donna & Garth

  • David Conly says:

    So saddened by Don’s passing. He was a solid foundation for so many professional works. I truly appreciated his peer support. Wishing his family the best.

  • Jonathan Fannin, P.Eng. says:

    I just read Tim Smith’s ackowledgement of Don’s passing in the EGBC magazine. I have very fond memories of Don, whom I met not long after coming to Canada to take up a position at UBC in the field of forestry geotechnique. Don emodied all of the principles and values that I grew to admire about my new country, and I held him in the highest respect. He was a gentleman. I remain grateful for the time he took to share his insights on the natural landscape and thus influence the way I think to this day. With heartfelt wishes, Jonathan.

  • Fergus P Stewart says:

    Terry (Justin and Marisa) my Heartfelt condolence for your loss, I admired Don a great deal, and counted him as a friend.

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