Brian McGarry, a well-known former Ottawa politician and local businessman, has died.
Born in Wakefield, Que. in 1943, McGarry began his career in the funeral services industry under Charles Hulse and Keith Playfair in 1962 at what was then the city’s largest locally owned and operated funeral home business.
He went on to lead the business, which today is called Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Funeral Homes.
He was known for celebrating and honouring all lives, at times waiving fees for families facing financial challenges. In 2012, he captured his philosophy in a book, “From Paupers to Prime Ministers: A Life in Death.”
McGarry also had a lengthy career in public service. From 1985 to 1994, he served on the Ottawa Board of Education, until he was elected to the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Council. He also made an unsuccessful run for the federal Conservative Party in Ottawa Centre in 2008.
He was known for his philanthropy, raising funds for numerous charities, and was active with the Ottawa Kiwanis, a local branch of the global volunteer organization that supports the well-being of children.
His financial support of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club in the early 1990s also contributed to the team’s reintroduction to the city after almost 40 years.
On Monday, Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe expressed his condolences to McGarry’s family and friends on X.
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Brian McGarry,” he wrote. “In addition to his long career in business, Brian cared very deeply about our city and served as a school board trustee, regional councillor, and member of Kiwanis. He also supported a number of important philanthropic organizations and helped bring the Senators to Ottawa. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”