It is with profound sadness that Canoe Kayak Canada recognizes the passing of Bill McKee on December 21st at the age of 84. Bill was a long time National and International Official, volunteer and leader within the Quebec Division of the Sprint Discipline for more than 40 years.
Bill began his life in the sport as a paddler at the Grand Trunk Canoe Club. After his paddling years, he became a director of the Chateauguay Canoe Club and then an official with his long-time friends Peter McCabe and Robin Walsh.
Bill was a certified level 5 official, and was a regular appointee to international events, officiating at the 1976 Olympic Games and 15 ICF World Championships. At home at Canadian events he was a fixture of the sport officiating at Nationals and many divisional regattas every year. Bill was the Quebec Division flag officer for more than 30 years, and was extremely knowledgeable about the Quebec Division and its history. Much of the development and modernization of the sport in Quebec can be linked to his tenure, and his dedication to the sport of Canoe Kayak was profound.
He remained aware of athlete results and was a supporter of up-and-coming and high level athletes. Bill was also an advocate of women’s canoe in our sport. Most of all he always shared a love for the sport, and every year at Nationals he was happy to watch all of the close races and performances of the athletes on the water.
Bill was the honoured recipient of the R. Edgar Gilbert Award for his contribution to officiating in 1986. The Quebec Division also donated a National Championships trophy named in his honour, which Bill presented to the winner of the Senior Women’s C1 200m for the first time in 2018.
Canoe Kayak Canada wishes to express our condolences to Bill’s wife Frances, his family and all of his friends and colleagues in the canoeing community. We also are compelled to thank Bill, and his family for his lifetime of contribution to the sport of canoeing.