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Date of Passing: Oct 14, 2021

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1951 - 2021
A life well lived. A friend to all.

Gary Andrew MacDonald: Gary, Freckles, Garney, Gar, GarAndy, Woody, Gary Mac, G-Mac, G, Bro, Dad, Daddio, Grandpa.
After a long battle with a brain disease, Gary passed away peacefully on October 14, 2021 with family by his side.
Remembered lovingly by his wife Marg; children, Christopher (Karen) and Joanna; grandchildren, Bennett, Pierce, and Sloane; stepson Andy Clarke (Bea); brothers, Allan (Arlene), John (Eleanor), and Scott (Tracey); Marg's Poplar family, and the many (many) MacDonald cousins and relatives all over North America.
Gary was the second of four boys, born in Truro, Nova Scotia to Joe and Anne MacDonald, each from families of 16 and 12 kids respectively. Gary grew up in Brantford, Ontario where he first learned the bapgipes at the age of 10 and started playing sports. At Brantford Collegiate Institute, Gary excelled at football and track and field.
Gary attended the Ivey School of business at The University of Western Ontario from 1970 to 1974, where he also played on the varsity football team and won a national championship with the UWO rugby team.
Gary moved to Winnipeg in 1976 to join the family business and spent the next four decades investing his passion in the employees, partners, and customers; helping grow MacDon into a global leader of harvesting equipment. His office door always open, Gary Mac lived what he believed, business isn't about business; it's about people. Following in the footsteps of his father, Joe, Gary enjoyed his involvement with ag industry associations such as: CFIEI, EMI, AEM, and Farm Foundation.
Gary and Joan lovingly raised their family in Winnipeg. Gary was a devoted Dad to Christopher and Joanna, tying hockey skates, watching Highland dance competitions, tuning bagpipes, and carpooling across the city. Suit up - show up, work hard - play hard, make time for family and others. Dad didn't tell us how to live, he lived and let us watch him do it.
During his Winnipeg years, Gary was a strong community supporter. A proud member of the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band for over 40 years, he also enjoyed teaching kids on Saturday mornings with the Lord Selkirk Boy Scout Pipe Band. Not deterred by the absence of an invitation, he rarely missed an opportunity to strike up the pipes; the annual ALS walk, Grey Cups, weddings, parties, business conferences, and even playing on stage with Sir Paul McCartney. A provincial rugby champion with the Saracens RFC, Woody helped build Maple Grove Rugby Park and enjoyed the camaraderie of SNAFU weekends and coaching high school rugby. In 1999, he was a chair with the Pan Am Games. In everything he did, Gary brought a fun-loving attitude and developed meaningful relationships with those around him.
Later in life, Garney reconnected with Marg and enjoyed winters in Arizona (hiking up Daisy Mountain), summers in Collingwood (hiking up Blue Mountain), and gatherings with family and friends around the barbecue and the hot tub (trunks optional).
The intensity and compassion with which Gary lived his life carried through his final years; determined to walk and laugh every day. His final act of giving to others, he has donated his brain to the study of cerebral amyloid angiopathy at Sunnybrook Hospital.
The immediate family wish to express their sincere thanks for the wonderful care and compassion Gary received from Dr. Black and Dr. Gallagher at Sunnybrook Hospital and G's dream team: Jay, Ziena, Katelyn, and Erik.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gary's memory to the Sunnybrook Foundation supporting the Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Brain Resilience and Recovery, 2075 Bayview Avenue, KGW-01, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5.
Celebrations of life will be held at the Old Mill, Toronto, ON, Saturday, October 30 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT and at the Victoria Inn, Winnipeg, MB, Saturday, November 6 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CDT with a short program to commence at 1:30 p.m. CDT including with live streaming available: Masks and proof of vaccination required at both locations in accordance with Covid-19 provincial guidelines.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 23, 2021

Condolences & Memories (19 entries)

  • It is with shock and deep regret to learn about Gary’s passing. My sincerest condolences to all his family and friends for this great loss of an incredible individual, mentor and friend! I got to know Gary only in the late eighties. From the first encounter you came away feeling “what an incredible, kind, generous and compassionate person”. Gary also has this incredible streak of wanting to pull your leg if he could (and he was very good at it!). One time I’ll never forget is when Gary gave me a tour of their very impressive factory ending up at the experimental section of the plant. The piece of equipment being worked on was a manure spreader. Gary, in his coolest, dry manner stated “This is the only piece of equipment we don’t stand behind”! As I took Gary very seriously, I asked “Oh, why not?” He answered in the same casual, dry manner, without cracking a smile; “Well, You’ll get full of sh……”! (remember we’re talking about a manure spreader). Walking through that plant with Gary it became very obvious what kind of person, leader and boss he was. He knew everyone by first name and not only that, he would inquiry about the person’s child, wife, parent or whatever important personal issue the employee was dealing with. It was very obvious to me, his employees were his friends. On that same tour Gary introduced me to his brothers Allen and Scott. It became very obvious that they had a deep respect for each other and above all revered their Dad Joe and their mother. Yes, indeed Gary you left us way to soon, as the world needs role models like you. I regret not knowing about Gary’s illness and passing. Again to all his family and friends my sincere condolences with this great loss. Tony van Rosmalen, (Business Associate), Winnipeg. - Posted by: Tony Van Rosmalen (Business Associate ) on: Feb 08, 2022

  • I never had the pleasure of personally meeting Gary, but knew of him through the stories told by his brother Scott. Where there was great love there is grief. My sincerest condolences. Tess Cordeiro - Posted by: Teressa Cordeiro (Friend of Scott and Tracey ) on: Nov 06, 2021

  • Gary was quite simply one of the finest persons whom I have had the pleasure of meeting through a common friend Donna Tesarowski. Gary and Donna developed an incredibly special friendship as he helped Donna to live her life to the very fullest during her most challenging times. Gary’s thoughtfulness and generosity was extended to everyone that he met. As a true gentleman he never asked for or expected anything in return. On the other side of the coin no one loved a party or enjoyed good times with his family and friends more than Gary. We were all so saddened to hear of his passing and I’m sure that a part of our hearts have gone with him. Slainte Mhath to Gary. - Posted by: Rick Lambert (Friends ) on: Nov 06, 2021

  • Gary literally meant the world to my sister, Donna. Throughout her battle with scleroderma, Gary and his hospitality, antics, generosity, friends and family helped Donna cope and no doubt, amplified her quality of life. He and Donna were kindred spirits and their friendship made such a difference. We are saddened by his passing but I am sure that he and Donna and as Joanna put it, having a cocktail together in a hot tub in the great beyond. - Posted by: David Tesarowski (friend) on: Nov 03, 2021

  • Gary literally meant the world to my sister, Donna. Throughout her battle with scleroderma, Gary and his hospitality, antics, generosity, friends and family helped Donna cope and no doubt, amplified her quality of life. He and Donna were kindred spirits and their friendship made such a difference. We are saddened by his passing but I am sure that he and Donna and as Joanna put it, having a cocktail together in a hot tub in the great beyond. - Posted by: David Tesarowski (friend) on: Nov 03, 2021

  • Our Deepest Sympathy. Condolences to McDonald Family! Thank u for Being Our Good Boss. Rest In Peace Boss Gary Mcdonald 🙏😥 - Posted by: Renato Curatcha (Im worker at Macdon Induatries) on: Nov 01, 2021

  • Gary's Legacy will be "A Good Man" We are so grateful that he was part of our life RIP Gary - we send our sympathy to all your family Sincerely, Roger & Laro - Posted by: Roger & Laro Habke (Co-worker & friend) on: Nov 01, 2021

  • Gary was an outstanding rugby player- always played with respect - hard to catch. As a volunteer and community supporter he was one of Winnipeg’s most outstanding. Doing it all quietly - no big recognition and fanfare. I never heard him say no to anyone. (Although Alan used to order me off MacDon’s premises knowing we needed free stuff - lol). As a member of the Ag community - he was an outstanding representative of the company and the industry (He once said his brothers fired him - but that was okay because the next day Mom made them hire him back). As a friend he was always there - for everyone - ready to be leaned on and using that humour of his to everyone’s enjoyment. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family. Don and Dawn Pincock - Posted by: Don Pincock (Rugby Opponent, Volunteer Colleague, Agriculture Colleague, Friend) on: Nov 01, 2021

  • My deepest condolences to the Macdonald family - Posted by: gerry searcy (Business associate) on: Oct 31, 2021

  • Gary a true gentleman, always glad to meet me me when I flew in from UK, fond memories of the Whisky and Cigar nights. - Posted by: Tony Creed (Friend and Business college) on: Oct 31, 2021

  • On behalf of Angela and myself I give my heartfelt condolences to the MacDonald family. I played rugby with Gary for many years and always thought Gary to be a friend as well as a valuable team mate. He will be missed by many. - Posted by: Greg Madden (Friend and fellow rugby player) on: Oct 30, 2021

  • Gary was the best friend anyone could wish for. He was always there for the ups and downs of life. Rest well! - Posted by: Howard Derksen (Friend and coworker. ) on: Oct 30, 2021

  • What a gentleman Gary was! I had the distinct pleasure of helping him at a number of Scottish Heavy Games events. It was great to see him a couple of times during the year, where the group would look forward to the keen competition. His help and participation was intergral to making them successful. Deepest sympathy to the family. The Mills family. - Posted by: Gareth Mills (Friend.) on: Oct 30, 2021

  • My condolences to Gary's family. I played rugby with Gary for many years. He was a great friend and will be missed by all Saracens And all rugby players in Manitoba. Rest in peace my friend. - Posted by: James O'Neil (friend) on: Oct 25, 2021

  • I sold engines to MacDon since 1987 to when I retired in 2015. I had many interactions with Gary and he was truly an inspiration to work with. The world would be a better place if all men were like Gary. RIP Gary. You were taken too soon. - Posted by: Dave Riches (Friend) on: Oct 24, 2021

  • Very sorry to hear of your passing Gar. With deepest Sympathies, Bruce - Posted by: Bruce T. McKee (Friend) on: Oct 23, 2021

  • Condolence to MacDonald Family, you may Rest In Peace in heaven - Posted by: Avelino Fernandez (MacDon employee For13 years up to now ) on: Oct 23, 2021

  • Met Gary through the Lord Selkirk Boy Scout Pipe Band. A true gentleman, a pillar of the community, and an inspiration. RIP - Posted by: Michal Kubasiewicz (Friend) on: Oct 23, 2021

  • Gary was well liked in the Rugby community. I got to know him while we were both on the Manitoba Rugby Union board. He was a great guy to work with friendly enthusiastic and funny. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing and I'm sure you have many great memories of him - Posted by: Mike Forbes (Rugby opponent) on: Oct 23, 2021

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