THUNDER BAY – Former Metis Nation of Ontario senator Bob McKay has died at 82.
A lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes, McKay was a strong and trusted voice for the region, serving on boards and advisory committees for a number of organizations, including Lakehead University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the City of Thunder Bay and the Labour Council for Aboriginal Youth.
McKay joined the Thunder Bay Metis Council in 1997 and was named their senator in 1999, a role he’d fill for the next 16 years.
He was a 2013 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubiliee Medal and has been called an inspiration to the country’s Metis population.
“Senator Bob was such a beautiful man with such an amazing spirit. While we will feel this loss for a long time to come, we are blessed to have so many memories and prayers that he has shared with us,” said Metis Nation of Ontario president Margaret Froh in an obituary posted to the MNO website.
Jean Camirand, president of the MNO Thunder Bay Metis Council, echoed her thoughts.
“We will miss this amazing Metis elder, senator and citizen.”
Gary Lipinski, former MNO president, called McKay an amazing person and a true elder.
“(He was) someone who was filled with historical and traditional knowledge and always willing to share. His sense of humor was another gift and he knew just when to interject it to lighten the mood or keep a meeting on a positive track,” Lipinski said on metisnation.org.
(He was) a true statesman, a gentleman, father, husband, and friend to all. He will be deeply missed but not forgotten in that he will always remain with us in so many ways.”
McKay, who suffered from ALS in recent years, is survived by his wife Gloria and three daughters.