It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of our beloved mother, sister, and friend Donna Marie Echevarria, who passed away with her children and family by her side at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital on February 24, 2023. Donna was born in Antigonish on April 12, 1963, to parents Dorothy and John Basque.
Our mother was a loving, caring, and kind soul who took pride in being a wife, mother, and especially a grandmother. She loved spending time with her grandkids and doing lots of arts and crafts. Known for her knick-knacks, she loved going to yard sales almost every weekend to see what deals she could get, usually resulting in her bringing home much more than she needed.
Mom was her happiest by the river with her best friend and sister, Annie. Although they had intentions of catching a trout or two, it usually never happened. Instead, they spent countless hours together laughing and sitting by the river. Our family spent a lot of time by the river as well, often accompanied by her grandchildren – memories of cooking smores and trout by the fire. These memories will be cherished forever.
Cooking and baking were a huge part of who our mother was. She took pride in and loved to be at the stove preparing food for family, friends, and her community. She was known for her "famous chilli" in the community and was always thinking of others when she cooked. Mom could have the least amount of food in the fridge but made the most to fill her family and others outside her home. She loved the winter months, because she knew her son would be bringing her home a feed of fresh eels. Not only did she love eels, but she taught us how to prepare and dry eels in the basement. This would be a memorable feed of either baked eels or one of her favorite meals - eel stew.
One of Mom’s favourite times involved camping on weekends or taking a summer vacation with her loving husband of twenty-two years, José. They would often choose a local Nova Scotia destination to pitch a tent and spend a night or two under the stars. She would often come home and share with us stories of their adventures.
Mom loved her animals, and we her children would always joke with her and tell her "You replaced us with your dogs". Her animals were everything to her, they kept her company, and watched out for her. She loved them just like she loved her children. If she had it her way, Mom would have had a little farm with lots of animals.
Mom did a lot of great things in her life, but she enjoyed being home. Her home was a life of the party at one time or another, where countless laughs, and mingling went on. It was the to go to place, for her friends and family who played darts, listened to music, and enjoyed each others company there. All the people who ever spent time at our mom’s always said good things and how much fun and welcoming mom was. She was a jokester, and really enjoyed laughing, singing to her music, and having a good time.
Mom was great friend and sister to many, but most importantly she was the greatest mother and grandmother to us all. She was the diamond of our family, precious, rough around the edges, strong, hard to find, and last but not least the most beautiful. Diamonds are a one of a kind find, and we are so privileged to call you Mom. Diamonds are forever, and your sparkle will shine in us eternally, too. We will continue the gift of your sparkle and use it as a guidance to our own futures. Until we meet again beautiful. We love you so much, Mom. XOXOXO.
Mom is survived by her husband of twenty-two years, Jose Echevarria; mother-In-law, June Joe; her children: Christina (Mike) Simon; Kenneth Simon; Chastity Morris; David (Alicia) Morris; Shawla (Harry) Morris; Tico Morris; Shaylene (Randy) Morris; and youngest, Savannah (Ben) Morris; stepsons, Erik Kabatay and Joel Kabatay. She is also survived by her sisters, Freda Kabatay, Mary Johnson, Constance Basque, Annie Basque, and Susanne Basque; brothers, Anthony Basque, John Basque, Vincent Basque. She also leaves behind twenty-one grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Besides her parents, mom was predeceased by her brother, Floyd Basque; grandchildren, Bailey Morris-Pelley and Dion Morris-Pelley; niece, Kylie E.A. Basque; and nephew, Roger Mustafa.
Visitation will be held on Thursday at 9 Petow Loop in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Antigonish County, after 5pm. Funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 11:00am in Immaculate Conception Church, Heatherton, with Reverend Charles Cameron presiding. Burial in St. Anne’s Cemetery, Summerside Road.
Sincere thank you the paramedics, ER, and ICU doctors, nurses and staff at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital who cared for our mom. Thank you to Dr. Brian Steeves for the care provided over the years.
Thank you to all mom’s family and friends and to our whole community of Paqtnkek First Nation for supporting our family through this difficult time. A huge thank you to all of you who showed up, shared kind words, and helped prepare our Mother’s home for her arrival, she would be so grateful.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of C.L. Curry Funeral Home, Antigonish. Online condolences: www.clcurry.com