Jack MacGregor (1922 - 2016)

4 entries
  • "Ian, Sharon and family, we were saddened to hear of Jacks..."
    - Faye MacLeod
  • "Sharon, Ian and family, Rod remembers working with Jack in..."
  • "Jack (and Anna) will be missed: they were among our..."
  • "Ian, we were sad to read the announcement today but it was..."
    - Carol and Allan Stolz
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MacGREGOR, Jack (John)
October 20, 1922 – February 20, 2016
Jack MacGregor passed away on Saturday at his home on Jamieson Road
west of Cochrane. Jack was predeceased by Anna, his wife of 67 years, in
Jack was known as a man who took a little getting used to: his straight forward
attitude and talk reflected the hard times of his youth in the depression years
between the World Wars. Raised in a hard-nosed family of Medicine Hat railway
workers, policemen, bootleggers and blacksmiths, Jack began to work part time
at age eight, showing the type of independence he would carry with him
for the rest of his life.
Jack's father died in a railway accident when Jack was 13. He began to look
after himself after that. He bought his first car for five dollars when he was 14 to
drive to the Cypress Hills where he worked on a ranch. He brought home a baby
owl that became his pet. When grown he taught the owl to ride on the back of
his St. Bernard, Lady Pamela. No one in Medicine Hat could raise their voice to
Jack when Lady Pam was around without ending up on the ground with a St.
Bernard on top of them.
He enlisted in the infantry as soon as he finished high school. He was diagnosed
with pleurisy while training, then with tuberculosis. Sent to the Colonel Belcher
and then the Central Alberta Sanatorium for 4 years, Jack lost a lung but
recovered. He met Anna Patton who was working there as an occupational
therapist. They married in 1948. As much as he loved Anna, he would never say
it in public. That was Jack.
Realising he could not go back to manual labouring, Jack took a course in
bookkeeping and typing, and found work in Calgary with an oil field machine
shop on Macleod Trail where he stayed for 33 years.
Jack went to work every morning at 5 a.m. and returned home at 6 p.m. On
Saturdays he went to the shop for the morning to "clean up" the schedule
for the week ahead. He often took his son, Ian, who was permitted to use the
shop's tools and machines, the modern day equivalent of their blacksmithing
For many, loyalty and trust are easily compromised. Not for Jack. When he
discovered that the pension he had been promised at his job was much
less than agreed, he quit and refused to consider offers of more money and
authority to return. After more than 30 years, the people he had trusted had lost
his confidence and he couldn't work for them after that. Even when the only job
he could find in his late 50's was as a labourer, loading pipe, outside in a cold
winter he never once complained.
Friendship had a special meaning to Jack. He had never been close with his
parents and instead made lifetime friendships with men like George Cormack,
Don Courville, Peter Grigg, Ben Akerman and his brother, Don, who shared
his unspoken belief in loyalty and trust. If Jack was your friend, you never had
to think about it again. It was forever. In his later years, when he was with old
friends on their deathbeds, they all made an unspoken gesture in recognition
of his friendship. One held Jack's hand at the end. That was their ultimate
expression of what they meant to each other.
Inside Jack's philosophical independence and gruff exterior was a charming
core. He didn't like attention or being fussed over. When he saw someone who
needed help he stepped up, he didn't need to be asked. Jack's idea of a good
deed was one that wasn't discussed.
Dad bought me an old car when I was 12 and told me to "start fixing" Ian
recalls. When other kid's dads were playing catch, he gave me his set of tools.
He let me figure out what to do but helped when I got stumped.
He lent me $2500 to start my own business when I was 23 and didn't know
what an invoice was. I'm pretty sure that was all the savings he and mom had.
He never once said that I couldn't do it. Just encouraged me to go ahead, try
my hardest and work it out along the way. He never told me what to do, he just
described the alternatives he saw and let me make up my own mind. He saw
making mistakes as a crucial part of the learning process.
Although Jack and Anna's start was financially precarious, they built a lovely life
for themselves. Anna taught school, became a principal, earned an education
degree and was elected an M.D. Councillor. Jack had many promotions in his
33 years at the machine shop. They had a happy family and many good friends.
The MacGregors moved from Calgary in 1977 to land west of Cochrane. They
commuted for a few years and then retired.
When asked to describe his father's attitude, Ian puts it as straightforward as
his father lived it:
"When Jack said he would do something, he did it.
He didn't talk about what he thought or what he believed: he proved those
things by what he did."
That explains why Jack MacGregor was a man who took a little getting used to.
Jack is survived by his son and his wife, Sharon, their children, Kate and Alex,
his brother, Hector and a number of nephews and nieces.
Our family would like to thank Diana, Trish, and his niece, Marg. They were
Jack's best friends in his last years and gave him the exceptional care that
allowed him to stay at home to the end.
In keeping with Jack's wishes no funeral is planned. Sometime this summer a
get together with Anna's and Jack's friends will be organized.
In lieu of donations Jack would suggest having a drink of your favorite fluid.
Funeral Home
McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes - Crowfoot Chapel
82 Crowfoot Circle N.W.
Calgary, AB T3G 2T3
(403) 241-0044
Funeral Home Details
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Published in The Cochrane Eagle on Mar. 3, 2016