Flames co-owner McCaig dies

BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

The loss of local business and philanthropy titan J.R. "Bud" McCaig leaves a gaping, unbridgeable void, say those who knew the co-owner of the Calgary Flames.

McCaig, who'd battled cancer, died Tuesday at his Barbados winter retreat at the age of 75, though family members say they don't believe he succumbed to the disease.

"He had his hand in so many things for good, was so popular in the business community and as a leader," said long-time friend Art Smith, 85.

"To lose a combination like that is going to be very tough for this province."

On Tuesday, the 1999 recipient of the Order of Canada was planning he and wife Ann's 21st wedding anniversary in March, according to family members.

Later, he spoke of feeling ill, laid down to rest in the evening and then died peacefully, they said.

"I'm still stunned by it, largely because he had made such large medical gains in his illness," said Smith.

Said stepdaughter Jane McCaig Waller, 36: "He was a kind man who cared deeply for his family and his passions were Trimac, hockey and his Saturday golf game."

McCaig's son Jeff and stepdaughter Roxanne have flown to Barbados to be with his widow Ann and to prepare to fly his body back to Calgary Saturday in a private jet owned by cable TV magnate JR Shaw.

A private memorial service is being held in Barbados tomorrow and a Calgary funeral is planned for either next Wednesday or Thursday.

The Flames organization expressed sorrow at losing a devoted fan and dedicated, 11-year co-owner.

"Bud was the kind of business partner that we all cherish and strive to be," said fellow-club owner Murray Edwards.

Flames president Ken King said McCaig derived great inspiration from the club and returned it in spades in compassionate ways.


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