Ret. Major Roy Sinclair "Clair" Donnelly

20-Dec-1933 - 21-Sep-2021

Obituary Overview

In Loving Memory


DONNELLY, R. Sinclair
December 20, 1933 - September 21, 2021

R. Sinclair Donnelly was born in Oshawa, Ontario on a chilly December 20th in 1933 and passed away at home in Ottawa on September 21, 2021. Clair, as he was known to one and all, met and made numerous friends in many places throughout his life. The Canadian Armed Forces offered him countless adventures and gave him the opportunity to travel, learn and teach extensively during the course of his career.

Clair was one of the longest serving public servants in the history of Canada, diligently pursuing ever greater efficiencies in the Armed Forces and as a civilian. He entered the military in 1954, continuing to serve for 36 years at home and abroad in Borden ON, Calgary AB, Kingston ON, Esquimalt BC, Toronto ON, Montreal QC, and finally, Ottawa ON plus overseas postings in Deilinghofen and Soest in Germany, then Italy, and later Ghana with his young family.

After retiring from the Forces, he joined the former Department of Emergency Preparedness, making significant contributions to improving civil emergency response, both domestically and among Allied nations for an additional 20-year career, finally retiring for good in 2010 at age 77. His knowledge and advice were considered essential during large scale emergencies such as the 1998 Eastern Ice Storm, the events of 9/11 in 2001, and the August 2003 Eastern seaboard blackout. After official retirement, Clair continued to volunteer with the Corps of Commissionaires and was at the Canadian War Museum every Wednesday to guide tours or answer questions for visitors.

But we kids Jennifer, Christopher (Elizabeth), Patrick (Colleen), Craig, and Lori, knew him simply as ‘Dad’. Dad spent his entire life taking care of everyone. Starting early in life, he took care of his mother and his two younger brothers when times weren't easy. Later on, he took care of his own family, and later yet -with Carol- their home, their garden, and their grandchildren Avery, Adaira, Sebastien, Marissa, Marcus, Travis, Miranda, and Riley. Naturally, he got annoyed with us, but without complaint he continually helped us, reminded us to be good people, let us make our own mistakes, always stepped up, and always put himself last. His life of honorable service extended into every facet of ours. Dad, thank you for your unending commitment to us. Thank you for always trying to do the right thing. And most of all, thank you for being our Dad.

As long as he had Carol with him, we know he would have loved nothing better than to continue his retirement indefinitely through their garden, their grandchildren, and a quiet, content home life with a big bowl of popcorn and some cats nearby.

Family and friends are welcome to visit at the Kelly Funeral Home-Orleans (2370 St. Joseph Blvd Orleans K1C 1G1, 613-837-2370) on Thursday, October 7, 2021 from 2 pm to 4 pm. Due to Covid restrictions, those wishing to pay respects may call the Kelly Funeral Home-Orleans to pre-register at 613-837-2370 between 9 am and 4:30 pm daily.

A gathering will follow at The Blackburn Arms Pub after 4 pm. Please be aware that COVID protocols are in place and proof of full vaccination will be needed to be inside the pub. There will be limited seating outside, availability based on weather.

In memoriam, donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation are appreciated. www.kellyfh.ca

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” -George S. Patton

Funeral Details

  • Memorial Visitation

    Kelly Funeral Home Orleans

    Event Times:

    07-Oct-2021 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

More Details & Directions



Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Shirley Adams | 13-Oct-2021


I first met Clair about 47 years ago when he and his family moved to a house across the street. During a conversation I discovered that he had lived in Ghana while assigned to the military. Coincidentally, I was working in Ghana around the same time and lived in the same city. However, our paths did not cross until they moved to Ottawa. Clair was meticulous about his lawn and the driveway, especially after a snowfall. On occasion, particularly after a very light snowfall, I attempted to clear my driveway before he cleared his, but he always beat me to the punch! From time to time over the last few years during his time as a volunteer at the Canadian War Museum, I would meet him on the bus and he would bring me up to date on the latest exhibitions at the museum. It was obvious this was a job he really enjoyed and took much pride in. Oh yes, he call my children "George"!! Deepest sympathy to all the family. Shirley Adams, and Susan and Michael

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Posted by Pamela Young | 30-Sep-2021


My condolences on the passing of Mr Donnelly. Many wonderful memories living next door to the Donnelly family. I remember him dressed up in his white tuxedo as Master of Ceremony for my wedding, he looked so handsome, kinda like James Bond 🙂. In later years, my own children got to know him as Mr Donnelly, Grandma and Grandpa’s next door neighbour who always referred to them as ‘George’. He was a kind hearted gentle soul who was always looking out for my father after my mother passed away. I have genuinely missed him since my father moved away last year. May you Rest In Peace Mr Donnelly and may your memory live on with those you love.

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