We are sad to announce the passing of Leland Watson McGaw, peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Court, Fredericton, his home of the last two years, on March 26, 2017. Born in Oak Hill, N.B. on July 27, 1927, he was the only son of Walter and Margaret (McMorran) McGaw.
He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Eileen. He is survived by his son Richard McGaw (Gail Storr); grandsons Ryan (Tamarisk) and Peter; step-grandchildren Peter Storr (MJ) and Karen Storr (Benoit); great-grandson Ryker; and step-great-grandsons Nicolas, Phillipe and Felix.
Leland spent his early years working in the woods, running a lumber camp while still a teenager. In the 1950s he was a heavy equipment operator and in the 1960s he was co-owner of a clothing store in St. Stephen. In 1967 he was elected as one of four MLAs for Charlotte County, and was subsequently was reelected to Charlotte West, serving 20 years in the Legislature. While in the Legislature, he served as Deputy Speaker, Minister of Tourism and Chair of N.B. Power. He was devoted to his constituents, whether they voted for him or not. He found employment for many, and interceded with government when people had problems that he could fix. It was difficult to have an evening meal without a phone call or someone showing up in the driveway looking for help, and he always gave it. It is fair to say that he left politics with his respect and integrity intact, and continued to help when he could even out of office. Through everything, and right to the end, his sense of humour never left him.
Leland loved his family and was as devoted to it as he was to politics, never letting one take over the other. After politics, he returned to his love of the woods. He loved to hunt and fish. In 1989, with help from a friend, he cut the wood and built his camp “Esoonac” where he spent many happy hours with Eileen, often entertaining large numbers of family and friends. He also started a Christmas tree farm, working it into his 80s. For many years, he brought the Grade 5 children from Mc Adam Elementary for a day of orientation in Christmas tree production and a meal at Esoonac.
The family extends appreciation to the staff of Windsor Court, who provided care and compassion during his time there. He became one of their family.
Funeral service will be held from The S.O. Mehan & Son Funeral Home Ltd., 23 Main Street, St. Stephen, NB on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 3:30 p.m., with Archdeacon John Matheson officiating. Family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 12 Noon until time of service.
For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, remembrances to the charity of one’s choice would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences for the family may be sent to www.mehanfuneralhome.ca