When Doug MacGregor was nearing the end of his life, his family wanted to honour his Scottish roots by sending him a bagpipe player. But the piper didn’t arrive in time and Doug was already gone.

It was the kind of near-miss he would have found hilarious, says his daughter Carolyn MacGregor. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for 20 years, Doug would answer “hunky-dory” whenever anyone asked how he was doing.

“He was very resilient, he had a love for life and he did not let anything take him down,” Carolyn says.

Died on April 20, 2020
Montreal, QC
Age 70

Born in 1949 in Greenock, a small Scottish town, Doug immigrated to Canada in 1970 with his first wife Jennifer Spooncer. The pair settled in Montreal, where they had two children, Carolyn and Peter. Doug worked at the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada as a forest engineering technician and served as president of Branch 234 of the Roxboro Legion.

His biggest pride of all, though, was marrying his wife Marge Bentley, who died from COVID-19 two weeks after Doug. They spent 29 years together. He was a thoughtful and caring father who would do anything for his two children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

Once, when Doug and Carolyn went to an Alouettes game, they sat beside Doug’s next-door neighbour in the stands. His neighbour was used to watching Doug struggle to get from his car into his house because of his MS, and couldn’t believe Doug had managed to walk the entire way up into the stands.

“My daughter wanted to come to the game — I came to the game,” Doug said with a smile.

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.

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