Brenda (née Marks) Donnelly
Born: May 10, 1933 (Hounslow, England)
Died: September 10, 2014 (Ottawa)
Brenda Donnelly curled lead for Lorraine Bowes’s rink, which won the Quebec provincial championship in 1979.
The Bowes-skipped rink, which was based in the Montréal suburb of Baie d’Urfé, then finished round-robin play at the Macdonald Lassie national ladies’ championship with a 7-3 record. They were tied with four other teams, but lost a chance at the title by losing a tie-breaking qualifying playoff match 9-3 to Newfoundland’s Sue Ann Bartlett. The 1979 championship, now known as the Scott Tournament of Hearts, was held at the Town of Mount Royal Curling Club in Quebec.
Donnelly went on to skip her own rink at the Ottawa Hunt Club, where she won the Hound Trophy in 1986.
Her success at curling was all the more remarkable for her only having taken up the sport in her 40s. Born in England, she had won tennis and field hockey trophies as a young athlete. She graduated from the Royal College of dentistry in 1955 as one of only six women in a graduating class of more than 200 dentists.
She moved to Canada with her family in 1974, soon after taking up the sport at the Baie d’Urfé Curling Club.