With deeply broken hearts and sadness we are sharing the loss of our “Purolator Man” Darrel Alan McKay on Monday, October 23, 2023, after a very brief two-month aggressive battle with cancer, at the “farm home” in Arbor Vitae, Ontario, with his wife Jody by his side.
Darrel was born on April 30, 1961, in Dryden, Ontario, to Floyd and Doris McKay of Kenora, Ontario. He grew up in Rabbit Lake with older brother Wayne. Darrel attended Beaver Brae High School and at the age of 15 took on a night job washing dishes for the bus depot while going to school. Hard work and “getting the job done” was just his nature, even at a young age.
After a few odd jobs in between he spent several years working for Pepsi delivering to many towns in the Kenora/Rainy River District…even to our surprise the Arbor Vitae General Store which he immediately recognized on one of our first trips to the farm.
1985 was a pretty great year as he welcomed his first son Garry. He also started working for Purolator doing the night line haul to Winnipeg, but it wasn’t long before his good buddy Greg led him to a full-time day run which he was still happily doing right up until August 2, 2023. Darrel absolutely loved his work and took so much pride in what he did (which definitely showed), always going that extra mile for his customers and it was rare he missed a day in 38 years.
With the expansion of Purolator, it wasn’t long before his route led him to Fort Frances daily. It was then in 1990 he met Jody, who became his lunch buddy and eventually best friend and soul mate. Darrel and Jody were married on July 27, 1996, in Stratton, Ontario. On October 19, 1996, they welcomed their son Jordan.
Darrel was a man who simply loved the little things in life that money can’t buy. He always had a camera ready to capture a sunrise, sunset, storm clouds and his favourite, nature. Whether it was a bird or just a unique tree he always had time to stop and take a picture.
His love of the outdoors became quite apparent after several visits to the farm. From then on there was no stopping him. Whether it was collecting firewood, raking hay, collecting wood for his woodworking projects, and the sacred garden of endless fresh veggies. The possibilities were endless. None of this was considered work for him. Darrel savoured every moment and the outdoors provided the happiness and peace he loved so much.
Family dinners were his absolute favourite time. His love for food was apparent and realized quite fast when he was the only one who needed a platter for his meal. The regular size plates just didn’t cut it for his mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy. Gravy, onions and fresh veggies without a meal was just “not right,” as he would say.
In 2002 he decided to put in a transfer from Kenora to Fort Frances. Country life was in his soul. He became quite the farmhand before long, helping with fencing, sorting cattle and became our ear tagger. Just a natural and always ready for any task “Jake” (Dad) had for him. Before long he acquired the nickname “Flipper.” There was no stopping him after that.
Darrel will be so deeply missed by many and I’m sure every time anyone sees that Purolator van will forever be reminded of this gentle, kind soul that truly loved what he did. His contagious smile and willingness to go that extra mile for just about anyone he crossed paths with was just second nature to him. That was just who he was.
Darrel will forever be missed by wife Jody; sons Jordan (Julianna) of Arbor Vitae, Garry (Lisa) and grand-children Chloe, Evan, and Emma of Thunder Bay, Ontario; mother-in-law (Ma) Olive Gouliquer; brothers-in-law Larry (Jody) Gouliquer of Bergland, Vern (Rhonda) Gouliquer of Dryden; sisters-in-law Rhonda Pollard (Terry) of Stratton and Valorie Pelepetz (Gary) of Rainy River; numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews; special friends Kathy Lambert and Charlotte Hyatt.
Darrel was predeceased by his dad Lawrence (Bob) Gouliquer; parents Floyd and Doris McKay; and brother Wayne McKay.
Services will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Northridge Funeral Home in Emo, Ontario.
Honorary pallbearers will be Kathy Lambert, Mike Cummings, Tayler Farrel, Tim Luoma, Kevin Scholfield, Turner Redford and Cecile Lavigne.
Darrel’s love for animals and helping the homeless goes without mention. If you so wish donations may be made to Best for Kitty in Fort Frances or your local homeless shelter/food bank.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. You were the beautiful melody in the rhythm of our lives. The music of your life lives on.”
Arrangements entrusted to Northridge Funeral Home Ltd., Emo, Ontario.