Comox Valley outdoors club shocked by same-day deaths of two key members

The sudden passing of Keith MacKenzie and Ron Watanabe has shocked the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association.

PRESIDENT KEITH MACKENZIE (left) and vice-president Ron Watanabe make a donation to a Comox Valley Food Bank representative on behalf of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association.

The sudden passing of president Keith MacKenzie and vice-president Ron Watanabe has shocked and stunned the membership of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association.

Both men were prominent figures in the organization that is dedicated to wildlife management and conservation.

“They both went the same day,” club secretary Gail Eggiman said. “Both of them were well involved in everything with the club … working at every event no matter what event it is — working and volunteering at them.”

Watanabe, who had been undergoing treatment for cancer, had returned from Vancouver for Saturday’s annual fundraiser banquet at the Filberg Centre. He passed away early Monday.

That same morning, MacKenzie died from a heart attack. He was supposed to MC Watanabe’s service next weekend.

“I received a phone call from Keith in the morning to tell me about Ron, asking me to e-mail the membership, and then a couple hours later I get a phone call from Keith’s family asking me to be with his wife because Keith was gone. I couldn’t believe it,” said Eggiman, whose husband Steve was MacKenzie’s longtime hunting and fishing partner.

MacKenzie was president the past 12 years, dating back to the club’s previous location by the Puntledge River.

Acting president Dale Frame said he was a “stable pillar” of the club.

“He’s definitely going to be a huge loss to the association,” Frame said. “It’s going to take the rest of us a few years to catch up to his performance.”

Watanabe had been with the club since the ’90s. He co-ordinated the Fishing Forever program for seniors, and served as a representative on several sports fishing and conservation committees.

“He was very interested in the (Comox) lake, the different things that we could be doing for enhancement purpose,” Frame said. “Ron was huge in that type of stuff, anything to do with habitat for fish and wildlife. That was his main contribution.

“They were hugely dedicated people,” Frame added. “It was pretty hard to match the time that they’ve put in.”

A Celebration of Life will be held for MacKenzie on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Fish and Game clubhouse, and for Watanabe on Saturday, March 9 at 1 p.m., also at the clubhouse at 3780 Comox Lake Rd.

Record columnist Ralph Shaw, a Fish and Game member, will devote a full writeup to both men in next Friday’s column.

Just Posted

27th Annual Courtenay and District Fish & Game Outdoor Show coming in June

June is just around the corner and so is the 27th Annual… Continue reading

Vacancies on Courtenay Board of Variance

The City of Courtenay is seeking new members for an important volunteer… Continue reading

No injuries in early morning Comox car fire

Comox firefighters responded to an early morning vehicle fire Monday near the… Continue reading

New version of outdoor art show set to take place in Comox in August

Despite the announcement earlier this year of the cancellation of the Originals… Continue reading

Tales from MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Robert Moyes Special to The Record Doug Cox, artistic director and executive… Continue reading

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Most Read