It is with sadness that the Arbroath Herald must report the death of veritable ‘Renaissance Man,’ George McKay.
Mr McKay passed away on the evening of Thursday, January 19, aged 81.
Born in Keith, Banffshire, the son of Fraser McKay, owner of the Keith Garage, at an early age he was active in the family business, driving taxis, the town’s snow plough and the maternity wagon to take pregnant women to Aberdeen.
He finished his schooling at the Fochabers Institute and National Service took him into the RAF as an armourer stationed in Germany involved in the post-war disarming process.
In the RAF Mr McKay was able to continue his passion for shooting, something he started at age eight on grouse shoots with his father. He won many competitions for the RAF, and it is said that he could shoot a playing card side on, even in his later years.
After National Service Mr McKay returned to Keith for a time.
Following the death of his father, the family sold up and moved to Arbroath to open a licensed grocer at the foot of the High Street.
For 10 years he mixed old and new in a forward-looking business model before selling up and moving to Giddings, Lewis & Frasers.
After five years he then moved to Tandem Shoes and later Fine Fair as an area manager and troubleshooter.
Following his ‘retirement’ Mr McKay became a genealogist for Angus Council and he researched graveyareds throughout the county.
Shooting was an integral part of his life and it was while a member of the Arbroath Rifle Club that he met his future wife, Janet. Spotting a rare talent he took her under his wing and was so proud and delighted when she learned to outshoot him. The pair married on September 19, 1962.
Mr McKay also qualified to shoot for Britain at the Olympics but given the personal expense involved he had to give up his place.
Despite having no formal engineering qualifications Mr McKay built from scratch, over 23 years, a fully functional scale model of a traction engine that his grandfather had owned.
His other pastimes over the years were legion, he rallied cars, raced Triumph Tiger Cubs, enjoyed sailing and radio controlled boating, computing, but most of all he loved auctions and turning his purchases into a profit at fairs, including the Glamis Extravaganza.
According to friends and family Mr McKay was involved in everything and nothing was ever too much of a problem.
For three months of the year he visited his brother in New Zealand where he worked as a ranch hand and even in his later years he was always eager to help and acted as carer for a number of friends in the town.
He was a self-made man who liked to fix things and, if he did not know how to do something, would figure it out, or find someone to give him a hand to do it. He is survived by his wife.
She said: “There’ll not be his like again for a long time.
“He was a man of many parts.”
The funeral service will be held at at 1pm next Thursday, February 2, at George Stewart Funeral Directors on Millgate Loan.