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A River Runs Through It, Theme of Scotsman Ron McGillivray's Life

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey D. Weenink Eulogizes Mac, the Late Great Bay Cityan

April 16, 2008       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Ronald K. McGillivray, longtime Bay City development director.
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey D. Weenink, pastor, First Presbyterian Church.

"The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.

"On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.

"Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs . . .

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."

So rhapsodized the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey D. Weenink, quoting Norman Maclean and his book, "A River Runs Through It and Other Stories," in memory of Bay City's longtime engineer and planner, Ronald K. McGillivray.

Mr. McGillivray died at age 95 and funeral services were held Saturday, April 12 in the First Presbyterian Church.

The linkage with a river is an apt one for Mr. McGillivray, who was an avid fly fisherman on his favorite stream, the immortal AuSable, near his family home of Oscoda.

"In 1936, Ron McGillivray's master's thesis from the University of Michigan became an engineering plan for transformation and renewal," said Rev. Weenink.

"His visionary ideas for waterfront parks and recreation led to the creation of Veterans Memorial Park.

"In Mac, Wenonah Park had its voice for improvements.

"Because of Mac, a master plan for city streets was delineated.

"In his early forties, Mac played a pivotal part of helping a good many families achieve the American dream. He worked with Mutual Savings on the infrastructure for the development of housing. This is what we still know today as Mutual Estates -- but there were others.

"Once he retired from the City (even though he didn't want to) Mac was hired as a consultant to the Bay County Growth Alliance -- with a special interest in water development. He painstakingly did an inventory of the entire waterfront -- which was the basis for more projects coming to fruition.

He worked with the Bay Area Community Foundation on scholarship funds; he guided the development of Valley Center Technology Park with his friend Clifford VanDyke;

He was inducted into the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame in 1998; he was active in the Tri-County Economics Club, the Recreation Fishing Club on the AuSable and the Rotary Club of Bay City where he was a multiple-level Paul Harris Fellow.

"A renaissance riverfront community found order and organization after the lumbering craze had ascended to its heighth and fallen to its chaotic demise.

"And our precious waterfront was noted as a prized possession to preserve -- and a river runs through it."

Mac was buried in Pinecrest Cemetery in Oscoda . . . not far from the trout stream he revered, the AuSable.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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