Peacefully at the Sault Area Hospital on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, at the age of 78, after a brief battle with cancer.
Adored husband and best friend of Sherrill (nee Gibson) McGrath. Father of Susan MacDougall (Rob) of Williamstown Ont., Paul McGrath (Angie) of Ajax Ont., and the late Arthur McGrath. Much loved stepdad of Kelly Griffith (Pippa Rogers) of Ottawa, Jim Griffith (Melissa) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Heather Griffith (Rusty Jones) of Asheville, N.C. Grampa Mike to Jake, Elizabeth, Isaac and Josh MacDougall, Sierra and Eva McGrath, Morgan Griffith, Ruby Howson, and Griffith Jones. Brother of the late Sheila Vereschagin, late Heather McGrath, late Maureen Ellison, and late Grace McGrath. Loved uncle to many nieces and nephews.
Mike had a very interesting and active life. Born in Winnipeg to the late Morgan and Mary McGrath, he started taking flying lessons at an early age, knowing a desk job was not for him. His flying career began as a bush pilot in the north and far north in the early 1960’s, including servicing the DEW line and northern indigenous communities. He joined Air Canada in 1965, and when he retired 35 years later, it was as a captain on the 747-400, the largest passenger airplane operating in the early 1990s. When he travelled the world, he was always interested in exploring the places and different cultures, not one to sit in a hotel room. His sense of adventure kept those around him on their toes, whether it was planning a vacation trip, or exploring closer to home. He was happiest outdoors, going on 3 Outward Bound courses including some in the Arctic, hiking the West Coast Trail, sea kayaking, breaking trails in the woods, and chopping wood. He was as comfortable on an ATV and tractor as he ever was in a plane. Anyone who knew him will always remember him as a walker. No matter where he was, he walked, sometimes for miles at a time, in the cities, rural roads, on the bush trails, and on the ice. If he asked you if you wanted to go for a walk, you had a try to get specific lengths, always add some more distance, and make your choice accordingly. His story telling was legendary. When you heard “Did I ever tell you about the time? “ or “guess what happened!” you knew you were in for a good story. His open smile, caring, and underlying kind and gentle nature will be missed.
The family wishes to thank the staff at 300B at SAH for their care and concern, and the many doctors involved in his care, who treated him with dignity and compassion. Sherrill and her family especially wish to thank all their friends for their incredible love and support through this time .
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Mike's life will be held at the cottage in the summer of 2022 when hopefully we can all be together again. Memorial donations, made payable by cheque or online, to The Salvation Army or SAH Foundation appreciated by the family. Arrangements entrusted to the Arthur Funeral Home - Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington Street East 705-759-2522). Please visit the Arthur Funeral Home website obituaries to leave memories and condolences as a keepsake for the family.