No. 3736

Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. Keith McKinnon, CD

 

In the mid 1970's Keith served a tour with the United Nations force in Egypt. It is perhaps that event which makes us reflect that Keith was like a pyramid, standing tall, resisting the winds which try to erode.

 

On one side of the pyramid was Keith the professional engineer.  The base started at CMR which he entered in 1952 as a member of the founding class.  His education continued through RMC and the University of Manitoba, where he gained a BSc in Civil Engineering. Keith started his summer training as a pilot; he was a natural, except for persistent air sickness.  This was good preparation, however, for becoming an air force construction engineer and responsible for all the ground facilities at Canada’s premier NATO fighter base, Baden Soellingen, Germany.  Keith also served at Esquimalt,  where he met the needs of the navy, at Shilo, Manitoba which was entirely army, and with the US Air Force, attached to the office of the inspector general. At each posting, Keith would resist the  pressure to do what was political in favour of what was correct.  These postings were good preparation for his ultimate challenge, Project Manager for Facilities Development at NDHQ, where he was responsible for closing redundant offices all over Ottawa, and consolidating them into the relatively few buildings which exist today.

 

Another side of Keith was the sportsman and athlete.  Raised on the prairies, he learned to play baseball.  In his first year on summer training, “Flight Cadet McKinnon” was the star of the base team.  Physically strong and a natural athlete, at the military colleges he played all sports well.  In later years he curled and golfed, always adding an element of popular leadership.  In August, 1999, he lead a team in the Ottawa RMC Club annual golf tournament, overcoming severe pain in his legs.  This pain was a sign of an ill wind on the near horizon.

 

The third side of Keith the husband and family man. While at CMR Keith met Monique Mongeau, a graphic artist, sister of fellow cadet, Don Mongeau.  Through CMR and RMC, Keith was loyal to Monique; they got married shortly after graduation, and raised a family of  two daughters and a son.  The McKinnons were, and are, a close and highly successful family, with links to Keith’s elder brother, Don McKinnon, PhD, a retired defence scientist, RMC Class of 1952.

 

While Keith, the pyramid, could withstand most of the winds of life, there was one which got him, before his normal time.  The pains in his legs in August were caused by cancer which developed quickly.  After a valiant struggle, on 7 December, 1999 he died peacefully, at home, cared for by Monique and surrounded by his family.

 

Keith McKinnon lived a full, solid, balanced life.  He stood brave and tall, an example to us all.

 

3853 Neil Russell                                      3798 Bill Lynn

 

Copy for RMC Class of 57, via Bill Hughes

 

 

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