Robert Murray Magill was born March 12, 1924 in Veteran, Alberta to Hugh and Cassie Magill.
Robert had an older brother Stanley, born five years earlier in 1919. Stanley passed away in 1976.
Robert married Dorothy Bailey on June 6, 1948. In June of this year they would have been married an amazing 65 years. They moved to the original homestead and his parents, Cassie and Hugh retired to the old Art Hughes place where Hugh died suddenly on June 10, 1950.
Robert and Dorothy had three children: Faye, Murray and Donna.
Robert lived on the family farm for 87 years. He and Dorothy moved to the Hanna Lodge in February of 2011.
Robert loved music. He played the accordion and the piano and in his younger years he would play at community dances with Anne Losing on the piano, Bill Kary with his guitar and mouth organ, Albert Wroe on the fiddle and Robert on the accordion.
He shared his love of music with his children. Faye, Murray and Donna would sing with Robert accompanying on the piano. Many happy times were spent at the Hemaruka Hall singing at Christmas concerts, talent shows and community events.
I myself recall Gramps love of the piano, when Granny and Gramps would come visit us in Sherwood Park, I’d barely say hello, and the next thing you know we could hear Gramps down in the basement playing whatever great tune on my mom’s piano.
When Robert and Dorothy moved to Hanna he enjoyed all of the musical entertainment at the Lodge. You would find him there most nights with his toes a tapping.
Gramps was inquisitive and liked the challenge of learning…I don’t think he ever stopped learning. He got himself a computer and his grandsons, Ian and Dwight Magill got him set up and provided ongoing technical support. He would spend hours researching. When a doctor prescribed a new medication he would head to his computer, log on to the internet and look it up, and then discuss whether he really needed it or not!! I’d love to have been there to hear those conversations with the doctor.
One time the computer froze up… Gramps phoned up Ian, his ‘on call’ technician. Ian was able to log on to Gramps computer remotely from Medicine Hat. Gramps said ”the damn mouse is moving and I’m not even touching it.”
Robert was an avid sports fan. He would get excited at the beginning of the Oilers, Eskimos and Blue Jays season and after half the season he would say “not worth wasting the power to watch them.” Even though he’d turn off the dismal Oilers or Eskimos….he never missed any curling games…men’s curling, women’s curling, olympic curling, world championship curling, skins game curling, Gramps would watch curling matches that no one even knew existed. If there was curling on satellite, he’d find it and critique the shots. His TV only had two channels, BNN and TSN. Thank goodness Dorothy had her own TV.
Robert was very determined and optimistic. If he was told that it couldn’t be done he would set out to prove otherwise. He was an avid cattleman and cattle feeder and always open to new ideas and ventures. In the 1970’s, when European cattle were being introduced into Canada, Robert saw an opportunity, so he took an artificial insemination course and imported a full blood Simmental bull and cow. Robert and Murray artificially inseminated large groups of cattle and marketed the offspring all over Canada.
The feedlot at home was always full and there were always more at various feedlots. He always keenly watched cattle sales online. Not only at Dryland but other markets across Western Canada. When Murray would phone him in the morning Robert would already know if the markets were up or down. He was always optimistic that he would be able to make a profit. He always said ‘Never fall in love with your cattle, you will never go broke by taking even a small profit.’ Robert was buying and selling cattle up until April of this year.
The cattle business took Gramps all over the province leading to a few ‘mishaps’ behind the wheel.
Murray recalls one story when Dad took out his 18 foot goose neck trailer and a ¾ ton pick-up. One cold winter day he tried to turn that stock trailer around in the middle of the road…. He did get it turned around, however, the cab of the truck was missing. Robert drove the truck home and when he came into the yard he was crouched down in the truck because the roof of the truck was just about touching the steering wheel.
Another incident that Murray remembers is the day Dad went to the Consort UFA with the stock trailer to pick up supplies. When he came out of the UFA he said “someone stole my truck and trailer”. As he started looking around…. he saw that the truck and trailer….wasn’t stolen….it had rolled south down the hill embankment and got hung up on the ditch on Highway 12.
In July of last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the family farm. Robert said “don’t go to all that trouble and expense — it’s just not necessary” but after it was over he was so happy that he and Dorothy were able to spend the day with friends and family and especially his brother’s children, Joyce, Hugh and Dale.
Another memorable moment for Robert last summer was riding on the Magill Family Centennial Float in the Veteran 100 year homecoming parade.
Gramps has taught us many things– honesty, hard-work, respect for others, determination and not to take the easy way out.
The last few years Gramps faced many health challenges. His doctors were amazed at his determination to regain his health and carry on with life.
Towards the end of his life, it was very difficult for our family to watch him struggle but he still remained strong and optimistic. That is what we will remember.
Robert passed away on May 2, 2013 at the Hanna Health Care Centre, Hanna, AB at the age of 89 years.
He is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy and his three children. Faye (Terry) Strashok, Sherwood Park, AB; Murray (Marlene), Veteran, AB; Donna McIntyre, Westlock, AB.
Also, grandchildren: Darwin (Olivia) Strashok, Sherwood Park; Mark Strashok, Calgary; Ian (Jody Lamb) Magill, Medicine Hat; Dwight (Christy) Magill, Red Deer; Brandy (Chris) Paton, Edmonton; Ryan (Charmaine) McIntyre, Morrinville.
Great-grandchildren include Emmett and Gemma Strashok, Hudson and Ryker Magill, Raena Paton, Henry Mcintyre.
Robert was predeceased by his father, Hugh Magill in 1950; mother, Cassie Magill in 1967; brother Stanley Magill in 1976.
Close The Gate
For this one farmer the worries are over, lie down and rest your head,
Your time has been and struggles enough, put the tractor in the shed.
Years were not easy, many downright hard, but your faith transcended,
Put away your tools and sleep in peace. The fences have all been mended.
You raised a fine family, worked the land well and always followed the sun,
Hang up your shovel inside of the barn; your work here on earth is done.
A faith few possess led your journey through life, often a jagged and stony way,
The sun is setting, the cattle are all bedded, and here now is the end of your day.
Your love of God’s soil has passed on to your kin; the stories flow like fine wine,
Wash off your work boots in the puddle left by blessed rain one final time.
Take off your gloves and put them down, no more sweat and worry for you now.
Your labor is done, your home now is Heaven; no more must you wait,
Your legacy lives on, your love of the land, and we will close the gate.
The funeral service to honour Robert’s life took place at Full Gospel Church, Veteran, Alberta on Wednesday May 8th, 2013 at 2:00 P.M. 0fficiating was Pastor Darrel Durksen. Pianist was Judy Heistad and the organist was Carolyn Devereux; they played for the congregational hymns “The Old Rugged” and “How Great Thou Art”. Prelude and Recessional music was by The Hanna Entertainers, Mark & Reinhold Fecho. The eulogy was given by Mark Strashok as well the grandchildren shared their memories of their Gramps. A tribute was given by Terry Schetzsle. Active Pallbearers were Ian Magill, Dwight Magill, Ryan McIntyre, Brandy Paton, Darwin Strashok & Mark Strashok. Cremation followed the service. Family and friends gathered in the Community Hall immediately following the service for a luncheon prepared and served by the Full Gospel Church Ladies. If friends so desire memorial tributes may be made in Donald’s memory to The Village of Veteran Cemetery Society, Box 589, Veteran, Alberta, T0C 2S0. Condolences may be sent to email@example.com
Heather Caseley of Coronation Funeral Home was entrusted with funeral arrangements. Ph. 403-578-2928.
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