Cover photo for Robert Keith McKay's Obituary
1947 Robert 2024

Robert Keith McKay

July 4, 1947 — April 5, 2024

Robert McKay died peacefully at home on Friday, April 5, 2024, at the age of 76 years. 

Robert was born in Brandon on July 4th, 1947. His parents were Bert and Florence McKay.  He is survived by his wife Dyann and his son David (Elaine) with granddaughters Hailey and Hannah; sister Noreen; sister-in-law Kathy (Glenn), nephews, nieces and all his friends. Robert and Dyann lost their daughter Amy in 1998.  

Robert worked on construction with the Highways Department at the age of 16 and summers as a university student studying to become a Civil Engineer.  He met his wife Dyann at university, and they married in 1969. Their son David was born in 1973 followed by their daughter Amy in 1976 who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as an infant and died at age 22 years.  He graduated in engineering in the spring of 1970, Robert worked first in the position of project engineer out of Steinbach which at that time was called District 2. He worked on the further twinning of hwy. #1 east, on the building of the overpass at St. Anne to hwy #1 and on the overpass over the aqueduct there as well east on #1 and many others. While living and working there often doing long hours with no overtime paid but he wanted to be certain the jobs were done well. 

Later he moved with family to Carman first as Assistant District Engineer, then District Engineer only to see the new regionalization bring changes as he and family moved on to Portage in 1993 as what was the new Technical Services Engineer title for Region one. Later he worked for a couple of years in Winnipeg on secondment to Head Office as Acting Director of Operational Services. He was invited to remain in the position but preferred to work back home out of Portage. From then on to his retirement in 2007 he worked as Director of Regional Operations for Region 2 in Portage la Prairie.

He loved his job and spent more time at the job sites than in the office.  He had a good rapport with his employees and encouraged them to be not only their best but respected their insight into ways to do a job better than maybe what was traditional. 

The only thing more important to him was the time spent with family.  He involved himself in everything and was great at finding ways to fix problems around the house, yard, etc. for their family and friends. He coached T-ball and soccer when the children were in school, went on field trips with them when he could and as a family did a lot of cross-country skiing, skating, swimming, biking, travelling etc. He was there as much as possible when their daughter Amy began to need hospitalization in her teens.  He was always a loving caring strong support for his wife and children and friends.  He had a great sense of humour and a great sense of what any situation that may arise might need from him. 

He was incredibly brave through his cancer journey that began with symptoms and diagnosis mid-July 2023.  He managed surgery, radiation, chemo, and a myriad of medication all while he and his wife were also needing to move to an apartment and sell their home.  He mustered up inner strength that carried him though all of that only to be facing more health problems the the cancer created over his remaining two months of life when it began to take him down hard.

He will be sorely missed forever. 

Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel at 2:00pm. The service will be livestreamed and can be viewed by registering at the link below.  Private family interment will have already taken place at Evergreen Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert’s memory may be made to Central Plains Cancer Services 318 Saskatchewan Ave E, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 0K8 https://centralplainscancerservices.com/ or to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, 1160-675 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9 https://www.cancercarefdn.mb.ca/ or to Southern Health Santé Sud – Palliative Care, Box 470 La Broquerie, MB, R0A 0W0.

A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com 204-857-4021

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Keith McKay, please visit our flower store.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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