Skip to content

Life was all about giving for beloved teacher Donna Scott

This Journeys piece looks at the life well lived of former teacher Donna Scott
Donna Scott on her 85th birthday.

Throughout her life, Donna Scott got more from giving than receiving.

Helping shape the lives of many young Guelphites in her earlier years, the Guelph school teacher worked in different areas of education from Kindergarten to special education.

Continued learning and education, volunteering and caring for others became an integral part of Scott’s life, pursuits her family says gave her great joy and purpose.

On Dec. 30, Donna Scott (Churcher), loving wife, mother, nana, great nana and dear friend to many, passed away at the age of 85.

“My mother went back to school in the early '70s and received her early childhood education degree from Conestoga College,” said Scott’s daughter, Johnna Scott Clapperton.

“It was pretty amazing at a time when this wasn’t something a lot of people did.”

Scott taught preschool, Kindergarten, and special education at Centennial High School. She then went on to become a special education teacher at Priory Park School, where she retired.

“When she was growing up, her parents would regularly take in foster children. They actually ended up adopting one of them, my uncle. So, my mom kind of grew up with it,” Scott Clapperton said.

“She had a passion for kids but really, she just had a passion for people in general.”

It was in her retirement that Scott found therapeutic touch and a hospice family she adored.

“When she retired, my mother, who was always holistically interested, went on to do a lot of therapeutic touch, at a time when AIDS was prevalent. There were AIDS hospices and then she moved on to hospices in general, and that’s what she wanted to do in her retirement,” Scott Clapperton said.

“She wanted to work with families dealing with the end of life.”

Born and raised in Guelph, Scott met and later married her high school sweetheart from Guelph CVI, Bill. The couple shared 61 years together, raising their family and giving back to their community.

“My dad was a principal and then a school superintendent. And my mom was always super involved in that. And then my dad was in politics for a while. She was always there,” Scott Clapperton said.

Scott Clapperton says her parents, as a couple, were often a team in their joint community endeavours. When not together, Scott created her own world of community outreach and giving.

Bill passed away in 2019.

“My mom was always involved, but she always had her own thing going on the side as well. She had her fingers in a million different places,” Scott Clapperton said.

Described as gentle, kind, soft spoken, loving and energetic, Scott had a great sense of humour and was always up for some spontaneous fun, her family says.

She was small but mighty and was never afraid to speak up for a family member, friend or stranger in need.  

Her friend of 70 years, Marcia Rosenberg, remembers Scott’s compassionate nature.

“We met in high school at GCVI. I moved to Toronto and I've lived there for many years,” Rosenberg said.

"Later, when my mother was failing, Donna came regularly to administer therapeutic touch with loving tenderness,” she added. “For all of the subsequent years after ... I came to Guelph several times a year for a catch-up brunch at Eggcetra with Donna.”

Scott is dearly missed by her family including her grandchildren, great grandchildren, her sisters-in-laws, cousins, and her many nieces and nephews.  

She is predeceased by her husband Bill, son Taylor, daughter Judy, brothers Harold and John and parents Leslie and Agnes Churcher.

Rosenberg says she will always keep her dear friend close to her heart.

“I kept in touch with Donna until just a few days before she passed away” Rosenberg said.

“I will keep her in my thoughts as a hero who braved her awful losses and hardships like no other, who gave herself to her family like no other; and who was a steadfast, caring friend like no other."