It is with complete disbelief and broken hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Joseph Ignatius McKinnon on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney, in his 80th year.
Born to the late Roderick and Margie (Bennett) McKinnon on January 9, 1939, Joe attended Holy Redeemer Boys School, Don Bosco Junior High School and completed his formal education at Sydney Academy. At age 19, he married the love of his life, Mary Alice "Posey" Smith and started their family. In 1962, they found it necessary to move to Toronto to obtain work and flourished there until, in 1974, the draw of Cape Breton could no longer be resisted and they returned home while opening up Superior Rustproofing and Car Care in Sydney, which they operated for many years. Joe dabbled in various business ventures over the years, including an Auto Body Shop, Heritage House Bed and Breakfast in Baddeck and Four Winds Folkart Gallery in Lake O Law, Margaree. Joe was also known as "Josef the Carver" and his unique creations can be found at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, as well as in homes worldwide. He has been the Featured Artist at the Pierscape Art Gallery, was a repeat attendee at the Lunenburg Art Festival, and "resident artist" at the Normaway Inn in Margaree. He also played with writing, story telling and poetry and could recite numerous ballads, including those of Robbie Burns. Joe was active in the Cape Breton Beagle Club, Airway Beagle Club, was a founding member of the Highland Rod and Gun Club and first Camp Director of the Highland Conservation School. He was a noted Irish Tenor and on three occasions opened and was Master of Ceremonies of the Annual Irish Concert in Sydney. He was always eager to pass on his carving knowledge and he elated in being invited to hold workshops at various places, especially the schools. It should also be noted his faith in the Catholic Religion, although tested many times over the years, remained strong until the end. He will be missed by many whom he mentored over the years.
Left to celebrate his life and exalt in his legacy are his children, Heather (Ross) Digou, Sydney, Brian (Sheila) McKinnon, Alder Point, Diane (Derrick) Erickson, Sydney and adopted daughter, Meg Herman; his cherished grandchildren, Justin (Krista) and Ryan (Sam) Digou, Morgan (Cole), Liam (Avery) and Lauchlan McKinnon, Brittany (Stephen) and Skylar (Stephanie) Erickson; his loved great-grandchildren, Jayce and Logan Cloake (Amy Cloake), Lucas Digou (Brenda Lamson), and Nathan Erickson; his brother, Gerard (Annie)MacKinnon, Sydney, and Fred "Bud" MacKenzie, New Brunswick; his sister-in-law, Faye (Floyd) Birmingham, Kitchener, Ontario and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his trusted companion, his dog, Buddy.
Besides his parents, Joseph was predeceased by his loving wife of 56 years, Mary Alice "Posey" (Smith) McKinnon; sister, Lorna (MacKenzie) Doucette and brother-in-law, John Doucette; a brother in infancy; father and mother-in-law, Robert and Ellen (Burke) Smith; sister-in-law, Helen "Bunty" (Smith) (Beaton) Chartier and brother-in-law, Johnny Beaton.
A special thank you to the VON, CHSS Homecare, Kelly Daley, the staff of the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Emergency Department Staff for their exceptional care and support. A sincere thank you to Father Burke for performing the Last Rights, it was very important to him.
Visitation will be held in Sydney Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, March 13 from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday, March 14 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral mass will take place in Holy Redeemer Church on Friday, March 15 at 10 a.m., with Rev. Paul Murphy officiating. Interment will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s Cancer Patient Care Fund.