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Diarmuid “Derm” O’Donovan

January 20, 1946 ~ February 20, 2023

Diarmuid “Derm” O’Donovan

It is with sadness that we share that Diarmuid (Derm) O’Donovan passed away at Whistle Bend 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 Visitors 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 (Jenni), 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 Rosalean in 1956, and father Diarmuid in 2006, his sister Roisin in 1948 and his brother Kilian in 2015.

The O’Donovan family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility, in particular, House 5 (Klukshu House). Their care for Diarmuid was incredible and we will be forever grateful for all the staff did for Diarmuid.

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

Comments (5)
  • 13 March 2023

    Rest in peace Derm, I’m grateful to have seen you before your departure. Your Leafs got the best of my Oilers the other night. You will be missed good sir.

  • 28 March 2023
    Ronald Gartshore

    A man with a vision, a pure and caring heart, a great sense of humour and love to serve his country, his family and the community.

  • 1 April 2023
    Tara (Mason) Leenders

    I met Derm in the early 90’s when I worked at Pizza Hut. He would often purchase pizza for the families who had just purchased a house through him.. Derm always added excitement to the day.

    He had an exuberant demeanour and an easy smile, which I looked forward to seeing whenever I crossed paths with him throughout the years.

    I did not know Derm well, but I have had the pleasure of meeting, working with, and getting to know several of his & Kathy’s children. The community in Whitehorse will miss Derm, but are blessed to have the influence and family value that he and Kathy shared, lived out, and passed on to their children and grandchildren (& beyond).

  • 1 October 2023
    Wendy Burke

    I was very sorry to hear of Diarmuid’s passing. I was at their wedding in his family home and have never seen two people more in love. Kathy’s beautiful family will help her through this. God Bless.

  • 9 November 2023
    Gilles Racine

    My condolences to the O”Donovan family. I met Diarmuid when I moved to Porter Creek in 1983 and started attending church. He was a very spiritual person that loved God, Church, family and life. We became good friends and I learned a lot from him. To this day I always considered him my best friend. When I left the Yukon in 1992, it was Diarmuid and family that I missed the most. You are all in my prayers and may God bless you.

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