A day to remember Mamma K

For 20+ years, Mamma K worked at the Saint John Regional Hospital as a patient service worker (PSW). Her colleagues have always spoken very highly about how Donna truly went above and beyond the call of duty. She befriended the patients, many who were in their final stages fighting cancer. She would bring them in treats, cook for them, give them a kind word, offer them an ear, or more often than not, give them a little giggle.

After her death in 2009, the hospital established a memorial award in her Donna’s name to honor someone within the PSW group each year who displayed the same kind of commitment and dedication to the job as Donna did. The recipient is chosen by the staff (other PSWs).

In Loving Memory of
Donna Jean Kennie
Devoted Mother, Grandmother and friend
Dedicated worker at SJRH for over 20 years
Where her patients always came first
Sadly missed and never forgotten
Rest in Peace

This week, Shirley Coates was presented with the Donna Jean Kennie Memorial Award! Donna’s two daughters and their children were able to attend the presentation.

Shirley Coates receives the Donna Jean Kennie Memorial Award from Roy Hess

Shirley and Roy with Donna's children and grandchildren

Congratulations Shirley!

As one person so eloquently wrote on Mamma K’s memorial facebook page “a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady!

How do you honor your loved ones who’ve passed on before you? 

Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver. In honor of Donna Jean Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), YouTube and on the Web.

P.S. In case you missed Monday’s post where I spotlight author Virginia Ripple, you should definitely check it out. There’s a great giveaway! Squeeee…



  1. What a wonderful way to remember Mamma K! She sounds like she was a fab gal. I know you still miss her, and I’m so sorry you have to live with her loss.

  2. That is a beautiful tribute to a woman who gave selflessly of herself. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My children never met my parents because they died hen I was young. When the kids were younger on my parents birthdays I would tell them stories about them.

  4. This is a wonderful way to honour Mama K. She continues to give back! We have done the same for some loved ones we have lost – a scholarship at the University of Toronto and a new computer area for the nurses education program at Toronto General Hospital. It brings a good feeling to a sad situation.

  5. What a beautiful tribute! Mamma K is still touching people with her grace and beauty. It doesn’t take away the pain of her loss, but it sure helps others to remember what truly matters in this world and that’s got to feel good. Congrats to Shirley!

  6. What a beautiful tribute. It touches my heart Natalie to see how unselfish people can be. What a wonderful woman she was. And you too for bringing her to our attention! 🙂

  7. I love my wife – she’s the best!
    She continues to amaze me with her greatness – every minute of every day. My love bank spillith over!!!!

  8. We have a bench, with my mom’s name and a lovely inscription on it, under a shady tree in front of her church. Whenever I am in her town in Missouri, I sit on it and talk to her. 🙂

  9. How beautiful! My father was a media man — newspaper artist and then publications at a college. After his death, a journalism scholarship was established in his name. It’s comforting to know that his legacy continues in the name of such an award. Congratulations to Shirley! What a lovely tribute to Donna!

  10. how lucky you are to have had her and her obviously loving son in your life. count your blessings girl. they are bountiful

  11. Oh, Natalie. This made me tear up! I feel I’ve gotten to know Mamma K through you and your lovely posts. What a beautiful way to honor her memory! I, like you, honor loved ones lost through writing. I also bake in my grandma’s memory. I love making the whole house smell like hers. 🙂

    • Oh August, sniff, I teared up at your comment. LUV that!
      Love the way you honor your loved ones – writing and baking. There are no two better ways to feel their spirit come to life within you!!! Wonderful August!! 🙂

  12. What a wonderful tribute to a great lady Natalie. She certainly was special to many, many people.
    I’ve kept most of the letters and notes my family sends me, it’s so much fun to look back on them and see how much our lives have changed. My Mom is declining in the later stages of dementia so I know her notes and letters to me will take on a whole new meaning soon. She has all mine— perhaps I’ll put them in a scrapbook someday, that would be a nice tribute to share with my kids and grandkids.

    • Oh Kate – sending you big hugs. I can’t imagine how hard it is to see your Mom declining with dementia. HUGS!
      I think keeping the family letters is wonderful. A scrapbook would be an outstanding tribute and a great way to share them with your kids and future grandkids – love it!

  13. Make that future grandkids… LOL

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