Donna Louise Hossack
(April 7, 1931 – April 25, 2022)
Donna Louise Hossack, age 91, died at Vancouver General Hospital on April 25, 2022. Beloved mother of Anne and Carl Rosenberg, Donna is predeceased by her parents, Donald Ross Hossack and Florence Elvena Hossack, sister Joan Bernd and brother William R. Hossack. She also leaves her sister Anne Churchley; daughter-in-law Delta Vázquez León and son-in-law Joseph Amaral; nieces and nephews and spouses John and Chris Churchley, Sara and Gordon Nichol, Karen and Dan Strong, Brian Hossack and Kathleen Boden and many close friends and neighbours, in particular her lifelong friend Annette Wegiel and her son Garrick Trowsdale.
Donna enjoyed a long and illustrious musical career. During the 1950s and ‘60s Golden Era of Radio and Television, she played on such popular CBC shows as A Date with Frosia and O’Keefe Centre Presents and was the original harpist on CBC’s The Friendly Giant – her greatest claim to fame! In 1953, she was appointed principal harpist of the Toronto Symphony. She came to Vancouver in 1962, where she joined the Vancouver Symphony.
Donna and her young family later moved to Montreal, where her husband, Sidney Rosenberg, a bassoonist, had accepted a position with the Montreal Symphony. The opening of Montreal’s famed Expo ’67 saw a plethora of musical attractions, and Donna performed in many of its operas and ballets. She later joined the CBC Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, becoming active in that city’s recording industry and parlaying her lifelong passion for musicals into many touring shows, including Evita, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, The King and I and Showboat.
Donna also lent her diverse talents to Vancouver cultural organizations. In 1980, she served as Concert Coordinator of the Vancouver Centennial Museum’s “The Look of Music,” an exhibit of rare musical instruments spanning 1500 to 1900.
Reading was one of Donna’s greatest pleasures, and she loved engaging in animated discussions about the writings of Edith Wharton and Susanna Moodie. Her son, who lives in Vancouver, often read with her at home in her breakfast nook, and both her children read to her during her last days. She was an involved, devoted mom, and she and her children enjoyed picnic lunches on Granville Island and musicals at the Arts Club Theatre, toe-tapping under the table and singing along. Writing letters was another joy of hers, and she and her daughter, who lives in Toronto, engaged in a 30-year epistolary exchange.
CBC Radio was a faithful companion, and Donna loved listening to Writers & Company, Ideas, and As It Happens, often calling one of her children or a friend to talk about the day’s episode.
After her retirement, Donna volunteered with Friends of the Vancouver Public Library and was an active supporter of the Vancouver Public Library Foundation. She also led a play-reading group at Brock House.
Donna will be greatly missed by her children and by all who knew and loved her. She will be honoured with a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 1:00 pm at the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture, 6184 Ash Street, Vancouver, BC. Donations in Donna’s memory can be made to the Vancouver Public Library below.
Donna Hossack was a loyal supporter of the Vancouver Public Library, contributing to programs like Writing & Book Camp that encourage creative writing, materials like play sets for those who want to explore the work of their favourite playwrights, and Vancouver Public Library’s Accessible Services which provides services to library users with mobility challenges and/or print disabilities. By making a donation today, you will help continue to share Donna’s love of the library with the community, and ensure that Vancouver Public Library can be there for those who need it most.
Donate online today below or mail your cheque payable to the Vancouver Public Library Foundation to:
Vancouver Public Library Foundation
350 West Georgia St.
Vancouver, BC, V6B 6B1