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David McCallum Retires from KYC

David McCallum Retires from KYC

David McCallum Retires from KYC
by Valerie Soper


For almost 120 years the Kingston Yacht Club has stood on the shores of Lake Ontario at the foot of Maitland Street, across from City Park. For over one-third of its history, one man has occupied the position of “Yard Steward.” Here are a few words I didn’t express at David McCallum’s retirement party.

David McCallum-tall (he’s looking especially tall beside me tonight, and betcha didn’t think he could tidy up so spiffy!), quiet, stoic, dependable, reliable, patient; you fill in the rest-is retiring, effective tomorrow. It is the end of an era. After almost 43 years of his dream job of “simply messing about with boats” for a living, it is now time to pass the wrench. He will be missed.

David has never needed an alarm clock. He gets up at the same time every morning, eats the same breakfast, leaves for work at the same time; never says much. At the end of the day, he never brought his work home with him. I had to do most of the talking-which I did, filling in the gaps with vacuous replays of my endless shifts at the hospital, or with what the cats did that day.
He is a good listener.

I learned only tonight of some of how he filled his days on the job, how he would head out after coffee every morning, go on a walk-about, check on things, look after his charges. Then he’d start in on whatever needed doing. And in my perception, if it may have looked as if his brain were half-empty whenever he was deeply absorbed in a project, it was only the outward appearance of a man truly without pretense or ego. He got the job done.

For months the awful question of “Who’s going to replace David?” hung heavily upon the lips of the Membership and Board. Someone has stepped up to the plate. Best of luck to you, Brad. Your knowledge and experience count for a lot, as does your sense of humour. May your days be as numbered on the job as David’s were (give or take!). You’re a good sport.

David is retiring at last, and so have I. (We bought a bigger house, so I think that’s going to work out.) He’ll now have the time to spend on, and in, his own boats, to wash some windows , and to play with the “grand-pets,” our five lucky indoor housecats who all just adore him . . . to read, and to fall asleep in front of the television. Ah, retirement!!

Happy retirement, David. You grew up on the water at Cartwright Point, and now we have the Rideau Canal at our back at Seeley’s Bay. You may think you made the right career choice, but it chose you.

Lastly, it can be safely said that no matter how many times you banged your head, you never lost it.

Congratulations on a job well done.