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McKEAGUE, Samuel Vernon “Vern”

April 23, 1923 – Sibbald, Alberta
February 24, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

Vern McKeague died in hospital in Calgary, AB, early on the morning of 24 February 2019, following a battle with cancer. He was only two months short of his 96th birthday.

Vern was born 23 April 1923 at home in Sibbald, Alberta. He was the eldest child of Samuel George Beck McKeague (who emigrated from Ireland in 1909) and Eleanor Levick (who emigrated from England in 1919). He was brought up on a prairie farm at Sibbald and had started university. Vern joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 and was a navigator throughout World War II in the Battle of the Atlantic. While posted in Newfoundland (an overseas posting at the time!), he met Jackie (Mabel Arlene Jackson), a New Brunswicker who was in the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. Vern and Jackie were married 4 September 1946, shortly after the war ended. Vern transferred to the regular Air Force and they were posted to Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa), England, Saskatchewan, and New York for varying lengths of time at various points in time. Over this period their three children were born and raised as “air force brats”, never staying in one place too long. By fitting in night classes when he could, Vern finished that university degree started so many years earlier and received a B.A. from Carleton during his last posting there. Vern had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel / Wing Commander when he retired from the Air Force in 1974. Vern and Jackie moved to Calgary where he has lived ever since. Vern became a real estate appraiser as a second career and retired for the second time in 1993. Post retirement Vern kept busy by volunteering at Canada Olympic Park and the Aero Space Museum of Calgary. Vern was an active, vital man and enjoyed outdoors activities like fishing, hunting, downhill skiing and golf (a sport he took up at an age most people are retiring their clubs). He carried on with his morning Air Force exercises for many years and in his last few years walked daily (osteoarthritis slowed him down a little, but not much.) Vern was a member of the Air Force Museum Society of Canada, the Museum of Calgary, Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Air Crew Assoiciation, and a member of St David’s United Church.

Vern is survived by his sister, Florence Menck; his three children, David (Neva), Dale (Lorraine Hope) and Heather McKeague; his five grandchildren, Reche (Trevor Newell), Caileen (Ryan Schmidt), Sean, Maureen (Nathan Luedtke) and Reed McKeague; his six great-grandchildren, Katie, Libby, Aidan, Milo, Annabelle and Peter, and numerous nieces and nephews. Vern was predeceased by his dearly beloved wife Jackie in 2011 and his brother Alex McKeague in 2007.

Vern will be sorely missed. Memorial Services will be held at St. David’s United Church (3303 Capitol Hill Crescent N.W., Calgary, AB) on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation (13A 2115 27 Ave NE, Calgary, AB, (403) 453-1881, or Nanton Lancaster Society (Box 1051, Nanton AB, T0L1R0, (403) 646-2270, Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Vernon McKeague, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. CALGARY, AB, T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jennifer Curran

    Heather – I was so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I am glad we got out to Calgary a couple of years ago and could have a short visit. It felt like old times with your dad.
    Jennifer and Colin

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  2. I spoke with your father many years’ ago when our paths crossed related to the real estate business. As it turned out, our McKeague/McKeage families came from the same area in Ireland. I have not found the connection yet.
    Condolences to the McKeague family.

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  3. I met Vern a few years ago by chance at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton. I felt honoured and privileged to hear his stories about his time during WWII. He shared his insights and expertise with me which were invaluable and greatly appreciated. I will miss him. My condolences to the McKeague family.

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  4. Dale and Lorraine,

    Condolences to you and your family. You are fortunate to have had your father and father-in-law for so many years. Regardless of his age, it is still a loss.


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  5. Ghislain Blanchard


    I have just have heard about the very sad news, the passing of your father. I remember from my discussions at work how proud you were of your father and the special being he been for your throughout your life. To you and your entire family, my sincere condolences.

    Ghislain Blanchard

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  6. Dale,

    Sincere condolences to you and your family on your Dad’s passing. Sounds like a life well-lived, much to remember.


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  7. Heather and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of Vern’s passing. I loved Saturday afternoons at the Aero Space Museum when Vern and Gordon were on acting as guides to all the visitors. It was a treasure getting to know him. I will also always picture your mom and dad coming to the Aircrew dinners all dressed up and holding hands.
    My sincere condolences,
    Kim Verrier

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