A memory tree has been created at Community Living’s Victoria Street School location in honour of former clients who have passed away. The tree was painted by Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student Noelle Russell and has 14 portraits to date with more to be added.

Donation helps Community Living remember special individual

By Angelica Ingram

Published Dec. 13 2016

Donna Jones loved to play records. She could often be found in her room with music strewn all over the floor as she was singing dancing and laughing.

The Haliburton resident and former Community Living client had a zest for life and lived it to the fullest until her death in May 2015 at the age of 60.

Now the memory of her lives on with the Donna Jones Community Room located at the former Victoria Street School home to Community Living and other local organizations.

The room which is an all-purpose meeting facility open to be used by anyone was named in her honour following a significant gift of $30000 made by Donna’s parents Morris and Dot Jones.

“This money was used to complete the renovations to the school for accessibility and to refurbish the meeting room” said Community Living executive director Teresa Jordan.

Jordan described Morris and Dot as hardworking folks in Haliburton County that steadfastly strived for a good life for their daughter.

Donna lived in Community Living’s Mountain Street residence from 2004 to 2014 at which point she moved to Extendicare.

The donation came as a surprise to the organization said Jordan.

“It is a wonderful gift in honour of a wonderful life” she said.

The room is currently being used by the Ministry of Transportation for senior drivers training as well as Children’s Aid and other organizations for various purposes.

Jordan said the goal is to always have the room available for the community.

Donna will always be remembered by Community Living staff for her love of dancing and nursery rhymes said support worker Donna West.

“One of her favourite passions was her record collection” said Jordan.

“Oh yes” said West. “You would walk into her bedroom and they would be all out of the cases and thrown all over the floor. She went through at least three record players …  it didn’t matter if they were scratched. And you would hear her singing … she would just sing away in her room.”

“Everybody just loved her it was infectious. You couldn’t help but just laugh and smile with her” said West.

Donna’s picture is now hanging on the organization’s memory tree a project that was completed in recent months.

The tree was created to remember clients who have passed. The mural is painted in the entranceway of the school and was done by Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student Noelle Russell.

On the various branches of the tree are framed pictures of more than a dozen clients with plans for more to be added said Jordan.