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Kenneth Cunningham MCTAGGART


1919 - 2019
Kenneth Cunningham MCTAGGART Obituary
KENNETH CUNNINGHAM MCTAGGART August 10, 1919 - November 13, 2019 Died in VGH after a brief illness. He was predeceased by his sister, Jean. He leaves behind his wife Margaret; children Kathy (Morgan) and Bruce; brother Ted (Eleanor) and many nieces and nephews; also friends, colleagues, and former students across BC and beyond. Ken was born in the West End to a long-time Vancouver family and graduated from UBC with a degree in geology in 1943. He later completed a master's degree at Queen's University, and a doctorate at Yale. He started his career with the Geological Survey of Canada, based in Ottawa. In 1950, he took a position as an assistant professor of geology at UBC. He and Margaret married, and moved into the old army huts at Acadia Camp, UBC. In 1955, they moved into a brand new house in the Endowment Lands, nearby. They lived in that same house for the next 60 years, before he recently moved into Tapestry, a retirement residence in Vancouver Ken taught happily at UBC for 35 years. After retirement, as a professor emeritus, he traveled the province--collecting placer gold specimens to be analyzed to track their origins to the "mother lodes" of the Cariboo gold rush. He never found these sources, but he, Margaret, and colleagues had a good time trying! Ken's other interests, before and after retirement, included creative writing (he completed a novel about prospecting in BC, and in later years, he wrote poetry). He and Margaret usually had a dog (four spaniels over the years), and he always had a workshop with a project underway--woodwork or other "tinkering." He gardened enthusiastically well into his 90s, quoting his father: "All I want is a kind word, and a load of manure." Boats and travel figured largely in Ken's life. He built one small sailboat, and owned two others, exploring the waters of Georgia Strait and beyond. He and Margaret also sailed among the islands of Greece and Turkey. He passed on his passion for boats to both of his children. When small boat ownership became too onerous, Ken moved on to bigger craft, and he and Margaret enjoyed many cruises. Greece was a favourite destination for many years, both on ships and on adventurous land trips, and Ken, with his usual diligence, eventually gained a working knowledge of modern Greek. Ken was a kind man, who was curious about everything, and indulged that wide-ranging curiosity to the very end. In his last weeks, his interests were focused on physics and the cosmos. He felt that "not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine!" We will miss him. A celebration of his life is planned for spring 2020. Donations in his name can be made to the Vancouver Sun Children's Fund, www.vansunkidsfund.ca/donate/.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, 2019
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