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Ian Robinson MacKeigan


Ian Robinson MacKeigan

Ian Robinson MacKeigan


"Be present in all things and thankful for all things." (Maya Angelou)


We are heartbroken but thankful for the journey as we say goodbye to Ian, after a lengthy illness, on Friday, April 2, 2021. Making a life complete and full for himself and his family, he shared his enthusiasm for life and patience, when change was slow in coming, with everyone he met.

Born in Whycocomagh, the only son to John Lewis and Margaret (Robinson) MacKeigan, Ian was also adored by his sisters, Dorothy "Dodo", (d.2014); Kate (d.2021); Flora, Whycocomagh and Sheila, Whycocomagh. Ian and his bride, Shirley Anne Maher, RN, met in Halifax at Mrs. MacAloney’s in 1964. It was the hottest day of the year when they married in 1967 in Stewart United Church, Whycocomagh. A mixed marriage (Catholic/ Protestant union), it was born of enduring love and mutual respect, lasting 53 years. In 1977, with his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University, they left Halifax to open MacKeigan’s Pharmacy in downtown Whycocomagh. Barry Austin, BSc. Ph.C., (d.1988) managed the Port Hawkesbury location when it opened in 1985. Ian enjoyed every conversation and relationship that was cultivated in his stores. He and Shirley are grateful for the loyalty and dedication of their staff, creating the ‘family’ in their family businesses.

Ian’s children are forever in awe of his dedication to them and the communities in which he lived and served. MaryAnne (Darren Cameron); Christena (Jason Rouse) and John Lewis (Tanya MacDonald) all live in Inverness County, thankful for the opportunities which allowed them to all to grow together on our beloved Island. Grandchildren, Megan MacLean (Nick Smith) and Jessica MacKeigan are extolling the traits of professionalism, kindness and honesty Ian so easily displayed. Callista Rouse, Ewen Cameron, Jansen Rouse and Catherine Cameron have grown up witnessing the determination, faith, and gratitude we so admired. He became a great- grandfather, his most cherished role, when Nathan John Robinson MacKeigan arrived in 2013. His family are thrilled when they notice any of them, "doing something Poppa would do."

His interests were many and included L’Arche Cape Breton and International, Whycocomagh Fire Department, Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 123, S.S. Marion Sailing Society and then Waterfront Centre, and Canadian and NS Pharmacy Associations. Ian believed in the power of working together for the greater good. To that end, his home and work life encouraged making connections with our sister community of We’koqma’q, allowing the values of cultures, perspectives, hopes, and dreams create a mutual respect we all deserve. Honoured by every act of recognition, Ian humbly accepted the peer-nominated, Wyeth-Ayerst, "Bowl of Hygeia" in 1990, in Philadelphia, Pa. This award recognized his commitment to the advancement of the Pharmacy profession with a special emphasis on exceptional community service.

Known for his easy, hearty laugh, Ian most enjoyed a wee dram (wink wink) and good game of crib with his brothers-in-law, Dougald McLean (d.2021); Archie MacKay (d.2008); and Kenzie Turbill (d.1995). He and Shirley enjoyed many visits to her homeland in St. John’s, NL, and the cabin on the ‘pond’ in beautiful Upper Gullies with Jim Maher (d.2014) and Elsa, St. John's. Although it has been many years, Ian always enjoyed showing off his Cape Breton to Madeleine Mueller (d.2014), and Charlie Maher and Josephine, Massachusetts. Thankfully, time serves to make all these moments even sweeter.

A fair person, Ian adhered to one political party more tightly than others but always left a debate with a smile and a handshake. Politics and religion did not define how you were treated.

Ian’s presence was big and impact significant. To honour all of those who considered him a friend, and to those who continued to care and support him and his family, especially these last years, please know your friendship will always be in our hearts, too. "A man is known by the company he keeps." (Aesop)

Loved and supported by nieces and nephews in Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador, England and the US, friends all over Canada and Internationally, we are hopeful as the asparagus and blueberries are growing again in his garden as spring breaks through a challenging winter. We will lean on His faith as we celebrate Easter 2021.

Utmost gratitude and admiration to the staff of our local pharmacies, home support services, Home Care NS, VCMH, Inverary Manor, and Palliative Care of Inverness and Baddeck. A most wonderful team in a most chaotic time.

A celebration of Ian’s life will take place 11 a.m., Saturday, August 21, 2021, in Stewartdale Cemetery with the support of Dennis Haverstock Funeral Chapel and Stewart United Church, Whycocomagh. Memorial donations in memory of Ian may be made to a charity of one’s choice.  Words of comfort may be forwarded to the family at:

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Service Date
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Service Time
11 a.m.
Service Location
Graveside Service - Stewartdale Cemetery

Burial Date
August 21, 2021
Burial Time
11 a.m.
Burial Location
Stewartdale Cemetery, Whycocomagh

Requested Charity
Charity of one's choice