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Honoured Member Robert (Bob) J. McGhee Passes Away

Robert (Bob) J. McGhee passed away on the evening of May 22 at the Red Deer Hospice with family at his side. Bob was born on Oct 14, 1932 in Moose Jaw SK and grew up in Darmody. When the family moved to Calgary in 1949, he was already pursuing a life long passion for hockey. He played both Midget and Jr. A Hockey with the Calgary Buffaloes and Sr. B with the Hillhurst Hustlers, winning the provincial championship. While attending Crescent Hills High School, he met Betty Wright and they were married in June of 1955. Betty completed her Bachelor of Nursing Degree in Calgary, and when they moved to Edmonton, Bob completed his Degree in Civil Engineering at the U of A. He enjoyed playing hockey for the U of A Golden Bears from 1955-1960. His first engineering job was on the construction of the Edmonton International Airport. They eventually moved to Red Deer in 1966 when he was made branch manager for Reid Crowther. Bob and Betty were very proud parents to four children: Jan, Bob, Bill and Sandra. Family time together included camping, road trips, and visits with family in Calgary. In 1967, he accepted a position with the City of Red Deer as the Assistant City Engineer, going on to become the City Engineer. He coached hockey for the Red Deer Athletic Association and was the first coach of the Red Deer College Kings. He also played baseball. Bob & Betty played for several years in the Red Deer Community Band. Following a period of time spent as a private engineering consultant, he decided to run for the position of Mayor of Red Deer in the fall of 1980. Although not a politician, his time spent previously in City Hall propelled him to envision a host of additions and improvements. He was particularly proud of the Waskasoo Park Trail System, the relocation of the railway yards, the development of Taylor Drive and bridge, and the relocation of the Exhibition Grounds to its present location, with the building of the Centrium. He enjoyed his 12 years as Mayor, working with an outstanding group of City employees and council; many of whom he continued to see at Alumni events. Following his retirement, he could be seen volunteering at sporting events at the Centrium, showcasing the Red Deer spirit to the world. It was Bob’s vision to have the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame relocated to Red Deer. He worked tirelessly to see it completed in 1999 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 as a Multi Sport Builder. The Kerry Wood Nature Center also asked him to assist them with fundraising so the expansion could be built and he enjoyed taking his five grandchildren there. Oldtimers Hockey played a big part in his later years, which allowed him and Betty to travel to Copenhagen and Tokyo. They also enjoyed a good round of golf, travel with friends and the noisy gathering of children and grandchildren at the house where many lasting memories were made around a game of cards. In 1999 he lost the love of his life, Betty, and he bravely faced his new role as a widower. Good friends and a cabin near a golf course helped. But not one to sit idle, he discovered the Alberta Pattern Dancers, much to the surprise of his family, where he met Jane, and together they danced wherever a dance floor and live band could be found and he enjoyed dancing at Seniors lodges and Nursing Homes in and around Central Alberta. When a broken ankle brought his oldtimers hockey career to an end, he was able to stay active and keep fit with yard work, his garden, and dancing. He was so proud to call Red Deer his home. We are so proud to call him Father.

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