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Saying goodbye to a giant
Councillor and former mayor remembered as a humble, selfless man

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, June 4, 2015

If a man's life can be measured by the loved ones he leaves behind, Coun. Ron McCagg's life measured long indeed.

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Ron McCagg will be remembered for his unwavering love for his family. Here, granddaughter Mira joins him for a ride on his Harley. - photo courtesy of Robert Amundson

The much-loved village councillor was remembered fondly during a packed memorial service at the recreational centre on June 1, with hundreds of friends and family members in attendance to bid him a final goodbye to the musical strains of Bon Jovi, Playing for Change and friend Lindsay Waugh.

McCagg's daughters, Heather McCagg-Nystrom and Natasha McCagg, and his four granddaughters Jenna, Emilie, Ava and Mira, were all in attendance to remember a man who, in the words of Jenna, "had a heart like a drum or a big bear."

Hand-in-hand, his daughters spoke to the ensemble of their father's unwavering love for his family.

"He leaves behind lofty shoes to fill," said Heather, who expressed hope that members of the community would rise to fill those shoes.

"He was a firm believer in living each day as if it were his last; I truly believe in my heart that he cherished each day."

Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly said McCagg had led a fulfilling life and left the community better during his time here.

On behalf of the village, Whelly presented the family with a commemorative plaque, to be displayed permanently in the village council chambers, in recognition of McCagg's "dedicated service, devotion and commitment."

McCagg served on council from 1984 to 1991, including a stint as mayor from 1987 to 1988. He returned to council in 1997 and remained as councillor until his passing.

"Ron gave freely of his time and knowledge in order to better our community," Whelly said.

"He was a team player, a gentleman, an advocate and a leader ... His legacy is his sage advice to work together in order to get things done."

John Vandenberg, assistant deputy minister for Public Works and Services, spoke on McCagg's 36 years with the government department. McCagg had just retired a little more than a year ago.

"Ron was one of the government's most dedicated employees," Vandenberg said.

"He always focused on the good of the department. He cared about people, and he wanted to help them and see them succeed. It feels like we've lost a member of our family."

Deputy mayor Stella Nadia provided the Deh Cho Drum with a written letter containing her thoughts about McCagg.

"You taught me a lot of things, got me to see things for what they really are and to see people as whom they really are," she wrote.

"You were always there for me at council meetings, and were the one person I could count on for having my back.

"Things will not be the same but I know deep down you would want us to continue on in what we are doing as a team."

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