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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
Robert S. McKay

Since 1920 Robert S. McKay, barrister of Calgary, has been practicing his profession of law and he has already attracted favorable attention for the talent he has displayed in the conduct of his cases. He was born in Greenbank, Ontario, January 4, 1895, the son of William and Mary McKay. His parents were natives of Scotland, and coming to Canada in 1885, they settled in Ontario, where the father bought a piece of land that he farmed until his death in 1898. His wife survived him until 1911. Robert S. McKay spent his boyhood in Uxbridge, Ontario, near his birthplace, and there attended the lower public and high schools.

Left with neither father nor mother at the early age of sixteen, Robert S. McKay was thrown on his own resources at a time when most boys are concerned only with the matters of Latin grammar and the athletic field. Setting about to earn a livelihood and to prepare himself for a future career, he taught school in Ontario for three months. Then he came west to Burdett, Alberta, where he taught three more months before coming to Calgary to enter the Normal School. Graduating from this school in 1913, he continued to teach for two years. Finally, in 1915, he was able to begin his studies in the profession he had selected for his life work. Entering the offices of Clark, Carson, McLeod & Company he read law for a year.

While Mr. McKay had been fighting his way ahead in the educational and legal circles of western Canada, events were taking place in Europe that were to extend their ever-widening influence until they plunged the whole world into war, changing the lives of men even in faraway Alberta. For nearly two years the great war had been sapping the strength of the British Empire's manhood and in the summer of 1916 every man of military age felt that the time had come to subordinate his individual ambitions to the empire's greater good. Accordingly, Mr. McKay enlisted in the Canadian army and went overseas with the Seventy-eighth Field Artillery. In France he was transferred to the Nineteenth Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, with which he saw active service on the firing line. While fixing a gun he was accidentally wounded and so severely that he was in the hospital for five weeks. Mr. McKay was among the Canadian troops detained abroad for some time after the cessation of hostilities and did not arrive in Canada until May 24, 1919, when he was honorably discharged at Toronto.

Immediately upon his release from the military service Mr. McKay indulged in the pleasure of a two months automobile trip to Mexico, enjoying the freedom of a well earned vacation. When he returned to Calgary he associated himself with A. M. De Long, a long established barrister of Calgary, under whose direction he completed his studies in law, and having successfully written his examination he was called to the bar in October of the year 1920. Ile remained in Mr. De Long's office as a law clerk until the following spring, when he formed a partnership with him under the name of De Long & McKay. In September, 1921, Mr. 1)e Long move to Los Angeles, California, to make his permanent home, so Mr. McKay bought out his interest in the firm, lie has made such a brilliant record of his two years career in the legal profession that the general opinion is that he is destined to become one of the foremost barristers of Alberta.

Mr. McKay was married in the month of August, 1922, to Miss Maude Varley, daughter of J. E. and Florence Varley. Mr. McKay gives his political allegiance and services to the Liberal party. He is a member of the Presbyterian church and belongs to the Calgary St. Andrew's Golf and Canadian Clubs. In line with his professional interests he is identified with the Alberta Law Society and the Calgary Bar Association.


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