A loving tribute to our Dad

In the early hours of Monday March 2, 2015 our father, Don Pilgrim, passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. We thought it would be fitting to share some of the reasons our Dad was such a one-of-a-kind man.

He was known as Pil to his friends, but his sons-in-law refer to him as The Godfather.

Dad was proud, private, generous, stubborn, sarcastic, hard of hearing, magnetic, and set in his ways.

He had a tight knit group of quick-witted friends who loved to joke with each other over a couple of beers.

Dad has an amazing collection of cowboy paraphernalia. It’s a veritable treasure trove of boots, saddles, pictures, gun, and holsters. If we had a dime for every time we heard the John Wayne impression “Howdy Pilgrim,” we’d be rich.


Dad loved old school country music. He was a big fan of Jim Reeves, Merle Haggard and George Jones.

When they were younger, Dad and his best buddies cleared the land and built a cabin up in northern Saskatchewan. They had a passion for rainbow trout and runaway weekends.

Flying home from a fishing trip in the early 70’s, Dad’s small engine plane crash-landed in the forest. He was thrown through the windshield, where his hair and eyebrows were singed off when the engine caught fire. Against the odds, they all managed to escape before the plane exploded.


He had over 25 different surgeries over the course of his life, including two full body casts. This cat exceeded more than his share of nine lives.

He still has his 1976 Lincoln Continental Town Car, the first brand new vehicle he ever purchased.

Dad was an accomplished snooker player, who in the early days made a living playing pool. He could kick his son-in-laws and grandkid’s asses, right up to the very end.


Dad had four older sisters. He grew up, and grew old, in a household of women.

Back in the rum/coke and beanbag ashtray days, Dad skipped on the curling rink.

He was an avid golfer who shot an absurdly low score of 74, at the age of 75.

He has been a member, and past president of The Elmwood Golf and Country Club for over 50 years.


Over his life, Dad owned two customized golf carts. The first one had a cassette deck and headlights, and he owned that beauty for 20 years. The second one has ostrich leather captains’ chairs and a walnut grain steering wheel.

He worked for over 30 years at an outstanding company called Standard Nutrition, earning numerous Salesman of the Year awards as well as a Lifetime Achievement award.

Mom and Dad travelled the world with friends and work colleagues, many of whom became lifelong friends.


Dad worked right up until he was 79 years old. The retirement gift for both Mom and Dad was a trip to Augusta Georgia, where they were able to experience the rich history of the Masters golf tournament.

In 2012, he had the opportunity to golf St. Andrews in Scotland. It was on the top of his bucket list. The only item left uncrossed on his list was the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale. Flights were booked for January 2015, but by that time he was confined to bed.


Dad has always been a card player, but discovered a true passion for poker alongside his grandchildren and sons-in-law. Although we have no idea what we’re doing, the Sangria Sisters are known to have the best poker faces.

He loved the smokin’ hot sun and would bake his skin to a reddish brown in rotisserie fashion.

He loved his wife of 53 years, Shiela, and his family, but the light of his life were his grandchildren Brennan, Abby, and Nolan.

Please join us in raising a glass to Pil. As Dad would say, Adios Amigos. Meet you on the other side!


Don Pilgrim’s Celebration of Life will be held on:
Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.
At the Elmwood Golf and Country Club, Swift Current, SK

Check out this week’s Sister Shout Out ~ To our husbands, children and Mother

We will be taking a short break, to breathe, grieve, and heal. In the following weeks, we will share our favourite posts from the past. We appreciate your continued support.

JOIN THE SISTERHOOD. Subscribe today dammit!
Refer a friend, or share using the Facebook and Twitter icons below.

Join the discussion

  1. Ken Maclean

    A wonderful tribute to the Godfather. A good man with a life lived well.

  2. Bobbi Blackford

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Aunty Sheila, Val & Lori & family… I will miss Uncle “Dune’s” great presence & amazing Spirit. Much love <3

  3. Moira & Ian

    Sad to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you.
    Take Care

  4. Margot

    So much love to you all at this time. I am thinking of you every day and send all the positive healing energy I might have to you.

  5. Jane Royer

    A wonderful tribute to a remarkable man. Love and prayers to your families.

  6. Karen T

    So sorry to hear about your Dad. This is a lovely tribute.

  7. Debi

    So sorry to hear of your loss, nice tribute to your father & he knows he was loved and lived a great life. Please take care of each other

  8. Sharon Rees

    What a beautiful tribute to your Father! He sounds like the best dad ever. Thinking of you

  9. Jodi

    To the sweet sangria sisters ,
    This is a beautiful tribute. He raised two of
    The most amazing sisters I lnow. May your dad be at peace and be tootling around in his heaven golf cart. Love to you and your families.

  10. Shelley McGillivray-Holmes

    Happy to get to know your dad a little bit better with this beautiful tribute. Well done. Our Thoughts are with you all at this difficult time. See you on the 28th. Hugs. Shell

  11. Joanne Cave

    Great tribute, girls. Your Dad was so proud of his family. For good reason!
    You have some really great memories of him so he will never be forgotten.

  12. Janet Cassie

    What a wonderful tribute to your Dad ladies, he’s very lucky to have such loving daughters!
    Our deepest condolences go out to you and your families at this difficult time.
    The Cassie family

  13. Danny Miller

    Wonderful tribute. Beautifully written.

  14. Laurie Fowke

    Val and Lori,
    Such an awesome tribute to your Dad!! Loved the pictures too, especially the sunbathing one:)
    I can only imagine how proud your Dad was of you beautiful ladies.
    Thinking of you and sending big hugs to you both!

  15. Norma Johnston

    Great tribute To a Great Soul…Blessed Beyond….to share your lives with your Father as you girls did. I could feel your Love for your father through your tribute. Much Love to you Val, Lori and your Mother Sheila, Also a Very Great Lady.
    Many Thoughts and Prayers to you and your extended Family.

  16. Bonnie Faucher


  17. Scott McGillivray

    Knowing Don for 35 years and the last 19 as a father in-law has been special. But one piece of advice if I may, now that you are up there playing the best golf courses in the world, try to find someone to teach you how correct that snap-hook you developed late in your golf career. The 19th hole instructions from you buddies doesn’t count as a lesson. Adios my friend.

  18. Amy Lewis

    This is a beautifully written tribute to your Dad. We are sorry to hear of his passing. Our thoughts are with you and your families.

  19. Mark Dolter

    So sorry about your loss, he was a good man. Many thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  20. Terri Morrice

    What a great life! He was blessed in so many ways.

  21. Carin McCowan

    Holy Moly Ladies! Wish I had met your dad. Sounds like he lived life to the fullest. Now I know where that humour and love of life come from. Wonderful tribute to your dad. Will raise a glass in his honour and dedicate our first round of golf this year to Don Pilgrim! Wrapping you up in love and prayers.

  22. Mary-Lou Gates

    I started babysitting for you two beautiful little girls when I was 12 years old. I got to know your parents Don and Sheila and they are great people! I am so privileged to know your family. Your dad was a always quiet but a very generous man. My sisters and I were the envy of the neighbourhood . We got to babysit at the Pilgrims!!! Thanks for sharing the tribute!

  23. Teri McCallum

    So sorry to hear about your Dad. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Hugs to you both!

  24. Jodie Hyswick

    What an awesome tribute. He accomplished so much in his life and experienced so many great things.
    You are filled with many great memories.
    My love, prayers & condolences are sent to all of you

  25. Keith Best

    So sorry to hear the bad news. Judy and I send our heart felt condolences to your entire family.

  26. Ken kokott

    Heartfelt… sorry for your loss

  27. Susan Roy

    So sorry for your loss.. that was a thoughtful tribute of your dad. I enjoyed my visits with your mom and dad, what great parents you truly have.

  28. Barbara and Ross

    A truly wonderful tribute to your Dad. He was very proud of you both.lookingforward to attending his celebration of his life.
    Condolences to Shelia Valerie And Laurie.

    Barbaraand Ross

  29. Judy Dolter

    Great job girls. Keep your dad close to your heart.

  30. Curt Klein

    May the comfort of your memories soon outweigh the sorrow of your loss

  31. Laura Fabbro

    Im so sorry for your loss. Know one thing that every time you think of him, he is there with you at that moment, feeling the same emotion.Sending love & peace to u and your families.

  32. carol and John Beckel

    May memories of your beloved dad fill you with warmth and
    joy. What a remarkable tribute to a remarkable man.

  33. Erin Beatty

    Val and Lori,

    I never met your dad, but reading your tribute are you 2 sure are a “chip off the old block”!! He’s sounds just like our kind of guy. So sorry……xoxo

  34. Kathy Ward

    Such a beautiful tribute – I didn’t want it to end. So sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you have such incredible memories that will be with you always.

  35. Nancy

    Val and Lori

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I am sure he will be am light shining in your lives forever.
    God has another angel . My sympathies to you and your families.

  36. Bruce and Catherine Rowland

    Thanks for letting us get to know your Dad through this beautiful tribute. His spirit is certainly in both of you and the wonderful memories you have of your Dad will warm your heart forever. Our deepest sympathy to both of you and your families.

  37. Kevin Rittinger

    Val and Lori,
    What a great tribute you have written about your father. Growing up on the north hill and seeing him in my dads store, he would always crack a joke with my dad that was a little edgy then turn and wink at me….he will be missed by many. Enjoy the memories….

  38. Connie & Curt Angell

    A beautiful tribute girls,well done. Our sincere condolances, our thoughts & prayers have been with you two and your Mom. It was a blessing you were all together so much during his illness and especially his last days. I am sure it was a great comfort to him, may he rest in peace. He will be missed.

  39. Brent McGillivray

    Well written Mae send our love . Give Abby a hug for us too

  40. Donna James & Mark Selinger

    Beautifully said! He’s going to be missed especially at the golf course (keeping people in line and the rough cut down on #12!). Quite the character!

  41. Gahan Family

    Our heartfelt condolences. May the delightful memories wrap you in comfort and bring you peace. A beautiful life lived-such a lovely tribute…he lives on in those he has shared his life with and in the legacy of beautiful children

  42. Ken kokott

    Heartfelt. Out condolences and prayers are with you.
    The Kokotts

  43. Lesley

    I never had the chance to meet your dad but feel that I know him, if only a little bit, through this wonderful Tribute. He will be smiling forever looking back on how wonderful his family was to him. Sending Love and Hugs.

  44. George Wurz

    Very nice tribute to man of his word

  45. Elizabeth Dunn

    What a wonderful life your dad had, and how proud he must be of his family. You girls brought your dad so much joy, pride and comfort. However don’ t kid yourself, you also must take some credit for his grey hair! I will always remember those BIG boots in the entrance, and cleaning the basement involved dusting many trophies! He will be missed but never forgotten, my thoughts are with you!

  46. Joel Martha Wurz

    A nice tribute to a man who was never late .Who liked a after dinner wine . The Wurz Family

  47. Ronald Judy Wurz

    Was a very nice man Sold me feed for 21 years and was never late !

  48. Karen Enns

    Val and Lori,
    I am so sorry for your loss; I wish you strength, peace, and much love surrounding you in the days ahead. My thoughts and prayers are with you both…..

  49. Verna

    So sorry to hear about your dad. What an incredible tribute! Wow!

  50. Dawn

    What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful, humorous Dad. I sure enjoyed his sense of humor. I had so much fun with him at your wedding Val. Thinking of your mom, Lori and yourself, Val. Give your mom a big hug for me please. My thoughts will be with you on the 28th. I will definitley be having a cheers to Don from Dawn. xoxo

  51. Steve Nikiforuk

    It is clear from your tribute that Don enjoyed life, especially his wife and beautiful daughters, his son in-laws and the company of all of his grandkids. I am sure he will be dearly missed by all of you and that you are all disappointed he could not be here longer to share your lives with. You will each continue to be living tributes to him as there is undoubtedly many large pieces of him in each of you. God bless you all as you remember and say goodbye to him.

  52. Robby Rittinger

    I didn’t know him real well but when I lived in swift current I rember him as quite a great man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *