Obituary of Ronald "Ron" McKay
June 20, 1937 - Winnipeg, Manitoba
May 11, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta
Ronald Gary McKay, born in Winnipeg, MB on June 20, 1937, passed away peacefully in Calgary, AB on Thursday, May 11, 2023.
He called it God’s Country. As a child his family lived outside of Dryden in a remote area called Richan where his dad Joe, was a forester. His mom Margaret was trained as a teacher and was an amazing seamstress. Dad went to school on a railway car, and he did so well at school that he would finish the year in six months and have time to spend in nature. He had a deep love of and an affinity for nature and was as comfortable in the wilderness as he was anywhere. He read every single National Geographic magazine when we were kids. He was an avid and accomplished fisherman, a hunter and in his younger years was a fishing and hunting guide during his holiday time. He guided Gordie Howe and his son on a fishing trip.
On Dad’s 70th birthday, we surprised him with a trip to Vancouver to watch the Memorial Cup where he reunited with Gordie Howe and reminisced about the great time they had had together on that trip. Dad and Mom purchased a cabin on Thaddeus Lake in the early 80’s which they took great pride in beautifying over the years. Dad loved “camp” and spent much of his time there in later years. Dad was very resourceful and skilled at anything he put his hand to. He was part mechanic, electrician, carpenter, and handyman. He loved fine woodworking and built furniture and boat bars, he cut and milled the wood for his shop at camp, put in solar power, a wood fired sauna, and vegetable gardens. He put up ice in the winter for the summer months. Many of his best times were at camp spending time with his close friends Wim and Patty Van Ryswick and Patty’s brother Lawrence.
Dad was also an accomplished athlete. He was a star hockey player in his younger years, a water-skier, a swimmer, a golfer and was always fit and young in spirit. Dad worked in the Dryden Pulp and Paper mill for his whole career and worked his way up to a staff position. He was a hard worker and well respected at his work and in the community. He believed in community service and was a member of the Lions Club for years. He also devoted time to keeping the cemetery at Amesdale (near Richan and Thaddeus Lake) where his ashes will be buried.
Dad had a twinkle in his eye and an adventurous spirit. He was always open to new experiences, travel and food. From Hawaii to Portugal, the Dominican Republic to a River Cruise down the Mississippi, to canoeing in Hudson’s Bay, trips with us to Palm Springs and to the wineries in the Okanagan – all were of interest to him. He especially loved his time in Saltspring Island where he would spend a month or two every winter.
Dad’s love language was acts of service and he spent 40 years coming to Calgary to carry out his acts of love in our homes – building decks, fences, and patios and so many projects at Saltspring. He knows all our friends who welcomed him into their homes and their hearts.
Dad moved to Calgary permanently in September of 2021 and lived at Garrison Manor until they could no longer accommodate his medical needs, when he moved to Bethany Riverview where he died. He was treated with such kindness and respect at both residences, and we can’t thank them enough for that. We had a wonderful 20 months with him taking him to the mountains, to Heritage Park, the Military Museum, to the “Dog Pound” in Marda Loop for Happy Hour where he was a regular, out to dinner, to the pub to watch sports, to our homes for family celebrations for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and birthdays – times we will always treasure.
Our mom Gwendolyn Mae McKay predeceased dad on November 29, 2022. Dad grew up and lived most of his life in Dryden, Ontario which is located in Northwestern Ontario. Dad is survived by his four children, Heather McKay (Glenn Lemmerick), William McKay, David McKay (Terry) and Kimberley McKay; six grandchildren, Ashley (Brian), Meghan, Kyle, Scott (Alex), Sydney, and Kevin; two great-grandchildren, Lola and Presley; his four sisters, Patricia McAuley, Linda Lambert, Joanne Wintle (Sid) and Terry Davis; along with many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Condolences, memories, and photos can also be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Ronald McKay, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.
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