Daniel George MacKinnon (Dan)
August 14, 1938 – May 21, 2020
Our father Dan died peacefully on May 21st, 2020, at the age of 81.
For several months, he had been battling the complications of Parkinson’s Disease with grit, determination and surprising energy.
You knew him as Dan, Danny, Daddy, Papa, Uncle Dan, Grampa Dan, the Commish. You could spot him at a distance, tall and slim in a wide-brimmed hat, pressed pants and a colourful shirt or sweater.
In the messages of support we have received during this time, he is universally described as a true gentleman: kind, generous, supportive and loyal. He was a good man with a strong sense of duty. He always put others before himself and those who knew him were inspired by his values. He believed everyone should be treated fairly and equally.
From Winnipeg — where Dan and his brother Mike were born — the family moved to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio and then to Ottawa.
They then crossed the ocean to live in a suburb of Paris, France. There are legendary stories about the adventures the brothers had during that time, and Dan was left with a lifelong appreciation of francophone culture.
After returning to Canada, Dan attended Ashbury College, Carleton University — he was a star basketball player at both institutions — and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
He joined External Affairs in 1962 as a Foreign Service Officer, with a first posting in Jakarta, Indonesia and a second in San Jose, Costa Rica, where his first daughter, Danièle, was born.
Dan had a wonderful and satisfying career in the civil service at the Treasury Board Secretariat, Economic Development and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, where he was a Director General from 1977-1981 and negotiated the first Federal/Territorial Development Agreements.
Founding his own management consulting company, Public Affairs North 60º, Dan worked with Indigenous organizations, resources companies and federal and territorial government agencies.
An avid daily newspaper reader, he maintained a keen interest in politics and world affairs. When we said special thank-you’s at holidays, he always reminded us of how lucky we were to live in a country like Canada.
Before and after retirement, Dan spent as much time as possible at his second home, the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.
He spent countless hours working on his swing and it paid off on occasion, mostly in the 90s. He enjoyed the pre- and post-game repartee at the Club with the “guys.” Trips to Florida, La Jolla, Palm Springs, Myrtle Beach, Hawaii, Ireland and Scotland made the off-season bearable.
A man of few words, they were carefully chosen. Friends and family enjoyed his dry wit.
He maintained a wonderful friendship with our mother Michèle Bisson for almost 40 years after they separated and we are grateful that she was there to care for him after his diagnosis.
We want to thank all those who supported Dan, especially during these last few months: Mike and Shelley, Torrance and Andrée, caregivers Jen, Kat, Stella, Heather, Beth and Janet as well as nurses and staff at Lord Lansdowne and Colonel By, especially Judith, Yvonne, Debbie and Rea.
Dan is predeceased by his mother Shirley Mae McDonald (1911-1988) and father Morris Bremner MacKinnon (1906-2000). He is survived by his former wife Michèle, his beloved daughters Danièle (Alain) and Catou, his brother Mike (Shelley), his niece and nephew Lisa (Mike) and Ted (Claudia), his grand-daughters Alice and Sarah and our chosen family, Sylvie and Richard.
Your words of support are a comfort and we welcome your stories. We will find a way to celebrate his life in the coming months.
Should you wish to make a donation in Dan’s honour, we invite you to contribute to YMCAs of Québec Action Fund at Support the Y .
Catou and Danièle
May 21 2020
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Daniel George MacKinnon May 21 2020..
Décès pour la Ville:Mississauga, Province: Ontario