July 20, 1938 – May 1, 2022
Malcolm Gary McRae passed away on May 1st, 2022, surrounded by loved ones.
He had recently been diagnosed with a non-aggressive form of bone marrow cancer, but then had a sudden stroke at his home in late April while his son Connor and his girlfriend were visiting. He was taken to the hospital where family and friends visited with him before he died peacefully there several days later. He was 83.
Gary was born on July 20, 1938 in Loon Lake, Saskatchewan, to Josephine and Malcolm McRae. He didn’t have siblings, and always went by his middle name, Gary. During his youth, he lived in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and also in the Port Coquitlam, BC, area. He was very athletic in school, but also played piano, reaching Grade 10 in the Royal Conservatory of Music. His mother had hopes of him becoming a concert pianist, but Gary had different plans for his hands: dentistry.
He completed his dental degree from the University of Alberta, then was stationed in Comox, BC, in the 1960s while serving as a dentist in the Armed Forces to pay off dental school.
He loved the Comox Valley so much that he set up shop and never left. His stubborn commitment to perfection served him well as a dentist. He went on to become a highly respected dentist by his peers and in the local community, teaching seminar groups for 16 years, and making yearly volunteer dental trips with his wife Paula to Central and South America. He was even inducted into the American College of Dentists.
Gary met his wife, Paula, while she was working in the Comox Valley as a dental hygienist. They had two sons, Bryce and Connor. Gary loved and supported his family immensely. He wanted his young sons to have every opportunity to discover the world and explore their passions, which usually meant spoiling them silly.
But he also demonstrated a strong work ethic and commitment to helping others. He was part of the Comox Valley Rotary Club, even serving as its president for a period of time.
If you knew Gary at all, you knew he loved fly fishing. He loved planning fishing trips and taking family and friends fishing all over BC. In his later years, he took up the craft of bamboo fly rod building, and built some exquisite rods for friends and family.
When he wasn’t fishing or building rods, he was playing pickleball, taking walks around the Courtenay Airpark, or enjoying his favorite dessert at the Blackfin and Atlas Cafe.
Gary is predeceased by his wife Paula, who he lost to cancer in 2019. He leaves behind his sons Bryce and Connor, and former sister-in-law Karen (Greg) Gill.
The family would like to thank the staff at North Island Hospital Comox Valley, and the close friends who helped and cared for him during his last few months.
Gary’s ashes will be spread in the same place as Paula’s at the seaside of the Comox Valley.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date (TBA). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Cancer Foundation.
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