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George Douglas KEARY
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GEORGE DOUGLAS KEARY George Douglas Keary, known to all as Doug, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully in Collingwood Ontario on February 10 after a brief illness, four months shy of his ninety-ninth birthday. Doug was accompanied around the clock for his final days by his two devoted daughters Gail and Marcia, with his loving wife Angela close by and his son Steve and daughter-inlaw Diane praying and following events closely from Vancouver. The family is grateful for the efficient, kind-hearted, and flexible staff of Collingwood General and Marine Hospital during his last days. By any account, Doug Keary was a remarkable man who led an adventurous full life. Despite his many accomplishments, he was a humble man who touched many lives and earned the love and respect of so many with his gentleness, generosity, intelligence and humour. Doug was born and raised in Toronto, where he received his degree in civil engineering from the University of Toronto in 1945. In January of 1946, he married his first love Sherry Reynolds (1920-2003). After a few years working for a construction company in Guelph, Doug made a decision that would guide the rest of his life. He concluded that he was by nature self-determined and born to lead. In the mid-1950s Doug bought into a very small construction company that over the next twenty years he grew into a highly successful business. One of Doug's defining characteristics was his openness to new ideas and to change. In his early 50's he caught the winds of the zeitgeist and decided that life is too short not to do what you most want to do. For him that was helping others and being active. He got out of the construction business, bought a large rural property near Collingwood, and devoted the next several decades to doing just that. Doug got in on the ground floor of a nascent organization called Track 3, whose mission was to provide skiing opportunities for, at first, one-legged skiers (hence the three tracks); later including blind people and those with other challenges; and in his final years with Track 3, with children suffering from conditions such as cerebral palsy. And just as he had done so successfully with his construction company, Doug gradually expanded Track 3 into a highly regarded force for good. He continued donating his time and working directly with clients until the age of 90, only stopping after suffering a leg injury. Those who knew Doug always marvelled at how much he was able to take on while still making himself freely available for all who needed his time and attention. While working diligently to build his company and Track 3 and provide for his family, Doug was a licensed Canadian ski instructor; a certified Canadian Yachting Association sailing instructor who set up the Ontario Sailing School at Lake Couchiching for training new instructors; raced small sailboats for many years, winning numerous championships including the Canadian Snipe class sailing championships; organized large international sailing regattas; was the Chef de Mission for Canada's 12-metre sailboat team in the international America's Cup races; won the World Blind Ski Championship with his blind partner; became a Big Brother; traveled extensively; lovingly maintained and developed a cottage in the Muskokas; and developed into a skilled water-colourist. More important than all those remarkable accomplishments (some of which also earned him The Legends in Ontario Sailing Award and University of Toronto's Engineering Award of Excellence or Citizenship Award to name of few of his honours), what Doug will most be remembered and dearly missed for was his kindness, his non-judgmental supportiveness, his generosity of spirit, and his playful sense of humour. If you asked Doug to help you, he was all in with a relaxed and cheerful attitude, no matter how inconvenient or how much of his time was required. He is truly a role model and an exemplar for living well. Doug is survived by his three children Steve (Diane), Gail, and Marcia (Michael); his wife of seventeen years Angela Newham; and his grandchildren Emma, Alec, Holly, and Rosie. Doug was predeceased by his first wife Sherry and his brother Ted. Donations in his honour can be sent to OntarioTrack 3 Skiing Association at 61 Advance Rd., Etobicoke, Ontario M8Z 2S6. A website under his name George Douglas Keary will be available online through Chatterson's Funeral Home in Collingwood to leave tributes, memories and photos. A celebration of his remarkable life will be held at a future date to be announced. www.chattersonfuneralhome.com

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23, 2021.
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