Ron MacKay


Ronald Ian Innes Mackay, beloved husband of Evelyn Lydia Mackay of Saskatoon/La Ronge passed away suddenly on March 31, 2020 at the age of 85.
Born in Semans, Saskatchewan on September 16, 1934, Ron grew up in the farming town playing hockey and baseball. He was a dedicated Army Cadet, proud recipient of the King's Medal in marksmanship, and worked summers on the farm of family friends, who influenced him in a big way with their hard work and resilience.
After high school, he attended the last training school for conservation officers run by the provincial Department of Natural Resources (D.N.R.). He married school teacher Evelyn Oblander in August 1958, and got his first D.N.R. posting to Wadena that same year. Their first child Mikki was born there in 1959. His first transfer saw the family move north to Cumberland House in 1960, where second and third children Scott and Rae-Lynn were born in 1961 and 1963. He was stationed there for five years, getting to know the residents and their way of life, and beginning to develop a network of friends and acquaintances that still exists today.
Three more transfers/promotions followed over the next decade: to La Ronge in 1965, where fourth child Lisa was born in 1967; to Buffalo Narrows in 1967, with fifth child Grant born in 1968; and finally to Prince Albert in 1970, where he was positioned as Area Administrator, Northern District for the D.N.R.. There he began to contemplate a career change. He loved being a conservation officer in the field, but not a desk job supervising the others.
In 1971, Ron and Ev purchased Red's Camps, a tourist outfitting business based out of La Ronge, and headed north again in the spring of 1972 as private entrepreneurs. For the next twenty years the family hosted fishing customers every summer at their four camps, and mining and business customers all year long in the motel they renovated and expanded in La Ronge. They enjoyed meeting people from around the world and all walks of life, including country music stars, sports legends and international filmmakers. They added hundreds of new friendships to the many they already held dear across the north and around the world.
Ron felt a strong commitment to the community he chose to raise his family in. He was a volunteer firefighter with the La Ronge Fire Department. He was an active and engaged member of the Chamber of Commerce, Kinsmen Club, and Royal Canadian Legion, supporting the introduction of Air Cadets to the community. He worked on the Building Committee for the Mel Hegland Uniplex. He coached minor hockey, and played old timers hockey with the La Ronge Rusty Hookers. He curled.
Ron also had strong political beliefs, and a conviction that the north could flourish under the right political leadership, with strong northern representation sitting on the government side of the Provincial Legislature instead of the opposition. He felt it was the only way the north would achieve real partnership in the province. And, to that end, he logged hours and northern miles on executive and fund raising committees for both federal and provincial Conservative parties, and later the Saskatchewan Party, in every election campaign in the north for almost forty-five years.
In the early 90's, Ron and Ev semi-retired to their island dream home on Lac La Ronge, log-constructed from their own design, and began to sell the fishing camps. They enjoyed years of summer living and socializing on the lake, and winter travel connecting them with family and friends. They made a lot of checkmarks on their bucket lists.
In the fall of 2018, having decided they wanted to be more central to family and closer to medical services, Ron and Ev moved to Saskatoon and began another new chapter in their lives. The only constant was that they continued to make many more friends, and reconnect with old ones. He loved the north, the lake and his island home.
He loved his community and his friends, politics and people.
He loved bagpipes and Amazing Grace.
He loved to see the sun set on a prairie wheat field.
He loved a bonfire on the beach.
He loved the call of a loon in the quiet of dawn.
He loved his family most of all.

Ron will lovingly be remembered by his wife of 62 years and his five children: Michelle "Mikki" Stabner of La Ronge, SK; Scott (Michelle) Mackay of La Ronge, SK; Rae-Lynn (Gary) Warren of Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia; Lisa (Paul) Saelhof of Simpson, SK and Grant (Taryna) Mackay of Fort Kent, Alberta. His memory will also be cherished by his sixteen grandchildren; twelve great grandchildren; numerous sisters and brothers in law; cousins; nieces; nephews; honorary children and grandchildren; and everyone who knew him.
The family wishes to express heartfelt gratitude to the doctors and nurses at Royal University Hospital for their care and compassion in a difficult time when Ron was isolated from us. Please consider a donation to Health Matters Most: Covid-19 Hospital Fund ( "In Memory/Honour" of Ron Mackay, in lieu of sending flowers. A Celebration of Life will be arranged and announced at a later date. Condolences may be sent to Arrangements entrusted to Hillcrest Funeral Home.