'He taught us to have fun'

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

John "Bud" McCaig would have never approved of the high praise afforded him by friends, family and dignitaries at his funeral.

His humility would never allow it.

But for the 1,200 mourners attending yesterday's service -- including Mayor Dave Bronconnier, Premier Ralph Klein and newly sworn-in Lt.-Gov. Normie Kwong -- the outpouring of adoration for Calgary's philanthropic entrepreneur proved right on the mark.

"Bud's name is synonymous with honesty, integrity, dedication and leadership ... but above all, he was an inspirational human being," said Dr. Cy Frank, co-chair of the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and one of four people paying public tribute to McCaig during his funeral.

"He taught us to have fun, enjoy the experience and help as many people as you can and have as much impact as you can, all while realizing you won't be here long."

McCaig's 75-year life ended Jan. 12 of natural causes at his Barbados winter home and was celebrated with the memorial at the packed First Alliance Church.

A well-attended reception followed at the Calgary Golf & Country Club, the avid golfer's home away from home.

Among those on hand, Klein and Kwong sat up front, while former premier Peter Lougheed -- on crutches -- was one of 19 honorary pallbearers situated behind McCaig's closed casket and presiding celebrant Rev. Robert T. Pynn.

Honorary pallbearers also included McCaig's fellow Calgary Flames' co-owners, while coaches, players and management of the NHL team -- including Jarome Iginla -- dotted the crowd.

"In Bud's case, each relationship was unique because he treated everybody with respect," said Flames president Ken King.

"For his leaving, we are poorer.

"For knowing him, we are richer by far."

Certainly the city is richer for the Saskatchewan native's contributions -- measured in the multi-millions of dollars.

The renowned businessman was a longtime chairman of the Calgary Health Region and an 11-year co-owner of the Flames.

And the 1994 Canadian Master Entrepreneur of the Year and 1999 recipient of the Order of Canada spearheaded the creation of the Foothills Lottery and the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute.

"We bask in the glow of his bright accomplishments," said McCaig's longtime friend Dr. Murray Bowman.

"His energy and enthusiasm for life is an inspiration to us all," said McCaig's son Jeff, referring to his father as a coach, teacher, mentor, business partner and the "best grandfather you can imagine."

Apart from son Jeff, McCaig leaves behind wife Ann, daughters JoAnn and Melanie, as well as stepdaughters Roxanne and Jane and stepson John.

The graveside service for McCaig goes today at Queen's Park Cemetery, with those attending asked to gather at 10 a.m. at McInnis & Holloway Funeral Home, 5008 Elbow Dr. S.W.


Videos

Photos