Wallace Edward (Wally) McNabb, was born June 3, 1937 in Prince Albert, the first-born child of Adam and Alexina McNabb.
Wally was active in hockey and ball while growing up and could often be found bicycling around P.A. with his friends. Once he was old enough to drive, Wally also raced stock cars in and around P.A. and often brought his younger brother, Gerry along with him to work in his pit crew. He attended P.A.C.I. in his teen years but left school early to begin work.
He married Marian Bibby on June 11, 1960 and, with the exception of time spent working on a Sask. Power project in Regina for three years in the early 80’s, he was never really apart from the love of his life. They began their careers in 1958, Wally with the Saskatchewan Power Corporation and Marian as a Registered Nurse. After they were married, Wally’s career took them to Weyburn in 1960, then Melfort in 1967, and finally to North Battleford where they settled permanently in December 1968. Wally retired from Sask. Power in 1993 after 35 plus years of service.
Family was at the heart of Wally’s life. He loved getting together with his parents, his brothers and their families and his sister and her family, and Marian’s family as well. He found great joy in teasing his many nieces and nephews, and as they got older, he had a genuine interest in the events of their lives. No distance was too far to travel to attend a family reunion and he loved reconnecting with his aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Wally appreciated a good story and a funny joke, and was a master storyteller (BS’er?) himself and could reel a person in with his slow and patient descriptions. Everybody in the family remembers the Wizard, and Scott and Dawn have been known to share the Wizard with their friends. He had the best laugh and a beautiful smile.
An avid hockey player, Wally played Senior hockey for the Weyburn Beavers, the Melfort Athletics and then in competitive recreational leagues in North Battleford. He was a big believer in community as well and as such, volunteered as a coach for much of his son’s hockey career right up to bantam AAA. Once Scott moved up, Wally continued to coach that level and found a love of teaching and developing young players. His love of coaching was not confined to hockey, he also coached Scott during his baseball years as well as Dawn’s tee-ball teams.
Wally enjoyed curling and played in a mixed league with Marian and in many bonspiels in and around North Battleford. His community spirit was also on display when he volunteered to drive curlers back and forth to the rink for the Saskatchewan Ladies Provincial Championships when it was hosted in North Battleford. He was also an enthusiastic golfer and maintained a membership in the North Battleford Golf and Country Club until he reached his early 70’s.
After his 40th birthday, Wally came back to his love of playing hockey when he joined the North Battleford Olde Tymers hockey club, and played with them for many years, always willing to travel for tournaments and eager for the bus trips that took the team and their wives to the different cities – Victoria was a highlight in 1981. He was one of the organizers of the annual Olde Timer’s tournament in North Battleford held every February and true to form, Marian and many of the other hockey wives would put together the food for the dinner and dance held on the Saturday, and then Wally and Marian would host the post tournament celebrations on the Sunday. This was a great group of people and Wally and Marian maintained many of these hockey friendships for the rest of their lives.
He also skated with the Smoky Lake Loafers and in 1992, he went with them to Santa Clara, California to play in the famous Snoopy Senior World Ice Hockey Tournament, hosted by Charles Schulz of Peanuts cartoon fame. He also went to Reno, Nevada to play in the 1993 Reno Masters Invitational Hockey Tournament with the Loafers.
Wally obtained his private pilot’s licence in 1981, an accomplishment of which he was justifiably proud, and he flew for many years. He flew mostly single-engine planes, but qualified on a twin-engine Piper to fly Marian, Scott and Dawn to Prince Albert for his nephew Matthew’s christening ceremony. He was also able to fly Dawn to Prince Albert regularly for her orthodontia appointments. He enjoyed his time in the air and only gave up his licence due to advancing years.
After his retirement from Sask. Power in 1993, Wally was active in the Sask. Power retiree golf circuit, travelling all around the province to attend tournaments with Marian. He and Marian were both enthusiastic supporters of the Battlefords Union Hospital Foundation, both volunteering in the Foundation office until their early 70’s.
In 2000, Wally and Marian made a bucket list trip to Scotland, Wales and England with Marian’s sister Corinne and her husband Peter Smith, visiting family in Wales, and walking the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Grandchildren were another of Wally’s joys and he developed very close relationships with his grandson, Adam and his granddaughters, Catherine and Elizabeth. The grandkids spent many summers in North Battleford creating memories and close-knit bonds that they will carry with them for their lifetimes.
Wally’s greatest and deepest love was for his wife Marian, and they celebrated 61 years of marriage on June 11, 2021. They were still deeply in love, despite their two-year separation caused by Marian’s developing dementia and subsequent move to River Heights Lodge in North Battleford. They still enjoyed each other’s touch, holding hands and kissing each other hello and goodbye after each and every one of Wally’s visits.
Wally passed away on June 19, 2021 after a short stay in the Battlefords Union Hospital at the age of 84 years.
Wally is survived by his wife, Marian; son, Scott (Rita), daughter, Dawn (David Loades), his grandchildren: Catherine, Adam and Elizabeth Loades, his great-grandson, George and his brothers: Gerry (Betty) and Randy (Phyllis) and many nieces and nephews.
Wally is predeceased by his parents: Adam and Alexina, and his sister, Audrey (Herman) Bremner.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations in memory of Wally McNabb can be directed to Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan 301-2550 12th Avenue Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3X1 or Phone (toll-free): 1-800-263-3367.