An honour guard along with a piper marched into a packed Royal Canadian Legion branch on Sunday in honour of former president Jim MacDonald, who died suddenly in November.
Around 100 people attended the celebration of life at Branch 88 in Maple Ridge.
Ian MacDonald said his father always had a strong drive to make the world a better place. Ian said his father had an ability to accomplish goals.
“Dad had an intangible quality. Some type of elemental ability just to make things happen, to will them to fruition.”
Ian choked back tears when he talked about family members who were in the intensive care unit when his father passed away after a post-abdominal-surgery heart attack.
Then he put up a photograph on the monitor at the front of the hall that showed his father at a young age sitting with a paddle in a submerged canoe.
“For those of you who have worked with my dad, this is typical. The ship could be sinking, but he still has a smile on his face.”
Ian also talked about his father’s work in the 1970s and ‘80s involving diminishing salmon numbers in B.C., and how he helped to found the Bell Irving fish hatchery in Kanaka Creek Regional Park, a project that also took him to Japan to help stocks there.
“This was my dad – showing that same grit and determination that he always showed when something needed to be done. And I might add that he did that while working full-time and raising a family with my mother,” Ian said.
Fred Armstrong, with the City of Maple Ridge and a good friend to Jim MacDonald, presided over the ceremony. He talked about their work together in the newspaper industry and how he knew how to build relationships in the community.
Sandi Wight, zone commander at the legion, talked about how lucky the branch was to have him as a member. She listed all the positions he held at the legion and how important the poppy campaign was to him.
She thanked MacDonald’s family for sharing “such a dedicated man.”