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Ronald Stewart Macdougall

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Ronald Stewart Macdougall

August 11, 1933 - September 9, 2014

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“Heard I lost a friend today, another good man passed…”

[*]Our dear friend Ron passed away peacefully at home earlier this month, proudly independent to the end.

We’ve known and loved him as a musician, as a political activist with a wickedly accurate poison pen, and as a seanachaidh…the storyteller who preserves our history through the oral tradition.

Throughout his life, he embraced challenges and conquered them: a fierce warrior when defending his beliefs and a generous friend to all around him, sharing his wordsmithing skills with his activist colleagues and his joy in preserving his cultural traditions through his music.

Ron was born and raised in Toronto, to Gaelic-speaking parents newly arrived from Oban, Scotland. Leaving home at 16, he worked his way through another year of school as a clerk and then ran away to sea, returning only after having worked his way through the British Isles and the US. Abandoning the corporate world in his 40s, Ron spent the next 20 years as a journalist, a ski patrol team leader, a Park Ranger, a ferryboat skipper in the Interior and a folk musician, and picked up his private airplane pilot’s licence along the way to having more adventures than we can imagine.

Landing in Powell River in the early 1990s, Ron quickly made a place for himself in local musical circles, forming the Celtic band Seanachaidh; he worked for BC Ferries until retirement and devoted himself thereafter to his activism and the preservation of his stories through music. His struggles with Parkinson’s disease and various heart issues may have slowed him down a bit in recent years, but he remained an example to us all, doing laps with his walker around the track daily and regularly sharing his music whenever he was able.

Ron was predeceased by his parents and his older brother Ian MacDougall of Belleville, Ontario, and leaves to mourn his family: sister Sheila, sister-in-law Betty, niece Lisa; his family of choice…Esther Dyck, Ann Nelson and Randy Pinchbeck and his dear friends.

All who knew Ron were aware that the compass points of his life were the ancient turning points of the year i.e. the solstices and equinoxes. A gathering to celebrate his life is being planned for one of those ancient observances and will be announced soon. Prepare to share your “war” stories and your music and your laughter, for “…he’s a man you won’t meet every day.” Slainte mhath.
 

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