Celebration & Thanksgiving for the Life of H25917 WJ (Danny) McLeod

Hundreds turn out for Danny McLeod funeral

Article by: WJO – Photos at church location by: Brad Lowe

Hundreds of mourners came to pay their final respects to former Royal Military College of Canada, Director of Athletics, H25917 Major Danny McLeod, on a snowy Saturday afternoon (18 Jan) at The Cathedral Church of St George in Kingston, ON.

The officiating clergy: 6090 Col (Ret) The Rt Rev George Bruce; The Rev DA Bailey, assisted by:

Maj (Ret) Cannon Reg Gilbert, CD; The Very Rev Mary Irwin Gibson; 4328 The Rev Canon Chris Carr; Mr Michael Capon Director of Music Choir of St James and St George’s.

Honorary Pall Bearers:

Maj (Ret) Jim Gebhardt; 5780 Col (Ret) Bernie Laliberte; MGen (Ret) Clive Milner; Mr Morton Morris; MGen (Ret) Phil Neatby; S125 Maj (Ret) Bill Oliver; Col (Ret) John Roderick; and 7602 Dr Tom Smallman.

College commandant, 16888 BGen Al Meinzinger was out-of-town on a previous essential commitment. In his place, acting commandant, 15004 Karl Michaud led the RMCC delegation; 14458 Dr Harry Kowal – college principal was in attendance too.

The funeral had many of the trimmings one would expect to see at a formal military funeral. One could not help but feel that The Major himself would have approved and been impressed by the manner in which the officiating clergy and cadets carried out their duties in such a respectful and dignified manner.

As the casket left the church, the Last Post was played by OCdt Kyle Ryan; the lament by LCol Douglas Green. As the casket was placed in the hearse, OCdt Ryan played Reveille – which brought very noticeable tears to the eyes of Sheila – who likely was thinking about just over two months ago – 11 Nov, when the same OCdt Ryan visited Danny and her at their home and played the same two tunes; stayed around and spent a couple of hours talking with the Major. This was the first 11 Nov ever, that Danny was unable to leave the house to attend local Remembrance Day ceremonies. The visit by OCdt Ryan was very much appreciated by both Danny and Sheila.

The Cadet Wing was front and centre before, during and after. During the visiting at the funeral home, the day prior to the funeral, the entire Paladins hockey team decked out in their team jersey paid their respects en masse including Head Coach, Adam Shell. In addition to the cadet pall bearers the “scarlet” presence was seen all over the place. The rugby team led by coach, Sean McDonaugh sat as a group in the balcony of the church. A number of cadets also volunteered to help at the SSM social which certainly kept things running smoothly.

The Cadet Pallbearers: Commander: Millican (IV) 26191, 11 sqn; Emerson, 26691 – 2 Sqn; Howells, 27106 – 3 qn; Nielsen 25832 5 sqn; Bornholdt 26579 6 sqn; Bowles, 26667 9 sqn; K. Min, 26567 9 sqn; Farrington (I) 27007, 12 sqn; and Saciuk (I) 26946, 12 sqn.

Guard: Guard commander/OPI: McLaughlin, 26070 – 3 sqn; Mansour 27083 sqn;  Putchick 27094 – 1 sqn;  Brown, 26981 – 2 sqn; Attwells, 26228 – 3 Sqn; Griffis 26649 4 sqn; Cormier (II) 26596 4 sqn; Sirois (II) 26718 4 sqn; Gee (II) 26258 4 sqn; Hyland 26226 5 sqn; Tilley, 26779 7 sqn; Gingras, 26476 7 sqn; Harrison, 26615 7 sqn; Lavoie, 26862 8 sqn; Reid, 26561 8 sqn; Montreuil (I) 27010, 10 sqn; Friesen (I) 27080, 10 sqn; Warner (II) 26684, 10 sqn; Currie (I) 26651, 11 sqn; and Gunn (II) 26745, 11 sqn.

The point person representing the college with the family was College Chief Warrant Officer Keith Davidson. He left no stone unturned in ensuring that the McLeod family wishes and much more were handled with sensitivity and class.  In a word – outstanding.

Major McLeod, led a pretty active life up until this past summer; he even attended portions of the RMCC 2013 Reunion Weekend at the end of September. He died of natural causes and peacefully just 12 hours after being admitted to St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital located in Kingston,  last Tuesday at age 92.

The very impressive Christian / Anglican funeral service started at 2:00 p.m. and lasted about 90 minutes and was attended by a full house of mourners in the church, which has a capacity of about 500 seats.

Chief of Defence Staff, 12192 General Tom Lawson who got to know Danny McLeod very well while he was commandant at RMC (2007 – 09) was in attendance with his wife Kelly. Also making the drive down from Ottawa was another long-time friend, former commandant and former CDS 4860 Gen (Ret) John de Chastelain and his wife Mary Ann.

Numerous current and retired college faculty, military personnel and many former friends from various walks of life were spotted in the crowd including S149 Hon. Peter Milliken, former Speaker of the House of Commons. The Kingston Branch of the RMC Club provided a number of volunteer ushers which helped to direct the crowd especially at THE COMMUNION. Kingston Branch president 5877 Ted Davie and Club Executive Director, 13987 Bryan Bailey were two of the ushers.

Col (Ret) Ted Nurse author of the recently released book on Danny McLeod delivered a highly polished eulogy mixed with humour and reality on behalf of the family which was universally well received.

The homily was equally well done and interesting; touched all the bases regarding Danny McLeod; focused on his strong Christian faith and was presented by The Rev Don Bailey who seldom referred to his notes. Especially nice, it was not too long!

Danny McLeod was a highly respected gentleman and very much loved.  Consequently, many in the crowd travelled long distances – including from Europe ( Holland); California; Florida: British Columbia: Alberta: and Western Ontario to attend his funeral.

The body was cremated shortly following the church service. A private family burial is scheduled for the Spring.

Sheila McLeod and the family hosted a Celebration of Life in honour of The Major at the college Senior Staff Mess soon after everyone left the church.

***

Photos by Curtis Maynard from the Senior Staff Mess – Celebration of Life:

 More Photos from the Senior Staff Mess – Celebration of life – Click Here

8 Comments

  • Paul Crober

    January 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the very appropriate description of this event. For those of us not present but who know the Cathedral, Danny and many of those mentioned (including Ted Nurse), it brought it home. It appears he had exactly the fine send-off he deserved.

  • 8060 Harry Mohr

    January 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Danny was an honourary member of the class of ’69 for many special reasons. We will miss him in the future, but will also remember him as a special person in our lives.

  • Walter Cami

    January 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    To Sheila and family. The passing of your dear husband, father, stepfather, grandfather and great-grandfather, the feelings of intense sadness and immense loss are impossible to describe in only a few words. Danny’s rational honesty and deep human legacy is so great and meaningful, that we all truly are privileged to have stood by his side. With this sincere conviction, I dare to hope that for the future, his message for friendship and commitment will be spread for evermore. Because of the great distance between Kingston and Eeklo I can not physically express to you my deepest condolences to the grief that you find. That is why I very sincerely wish to tell you : “When a dear friend becomes a memory, that memory becomes a wonderful treasure to always hold in our heart”. Walter Cami – Janik De la Meilleure

  • John & Maggie Moule

    January 23, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Dear Sheila and family,
    We had the privilege of knowing Danny, first in Belgium in 2005. Men like Danny the world will not see again. Thank you for sharing his funeral pictures with us. Danny will remain in our hearts, even with the great distance between us.
    Sheila, he was truly a great man, with a wonderful wife by his side.
    You have our love,
    Maggie & John
    Normandy, France

  • Albert Hartkamp

    January 23, 2014 at 10:03 am

    We all – national members of the board of the National Committee Thank you Canada – loved Danny very well, especially his big friend Albert. Albert give Danny more then 15 special receptions, some of them in the Dutch Royal Pallace included visits His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard, Princes Margriet and many others from the Royal Family. Our thoughts are with Sheila and her family and we wish them comfort from our heavenly Father.

  • The Council of the municipality of Zomergem, Belgium

    January 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Dear Mrs McLeod
    We would like to pay our sincere respect to you and your family at this sad moment. We were privileged to welcome Danny several times in our small village in Flanders.
    For us he has been and will always be the symbol of our Canadian liberators. We’ll never forget the way he was moved by the overflying helicopters throwing poppies and by the songs our schoolchildren sang for our Canadian guests.
    We will treasure his memory.
    The mayor, aldermen and all councillors and people involved in the commemoration events.

  • Eddy and Sabine De Mits-De Fruyt

    January 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Dear Sheila
    We are in thoughts with you in these difficult days. We feel privileged to have known Danny so well. Our most special memory is when I could read to him our text at the commemoration dinner in Bergen-op-Zoom, telling him what he really meant to us. We feel sad we haven’t been able to pay him a visit in his hometown. Time was ahead of us.
    We will treasure him forever.
    Take care,
    Sabine and Eddy