Ronald Birkett

Ronald Myles Birkett

Friday, July 13th, 1934 - Monday, February 3rd, 2020
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Ronald “Ron” Myles Birkett
July 13, 1934 – February 3, 2020

Ron passed away on Monday, February 3, 2020, in his apartment at Sage Hill Retirement Residence, Calgary, Alberta, at age 85, after a two-week bout with pneumonia.

He was born in Brantford, Ontario, where Birketts had lived since 1829. The first child of George and Dorothy Birkett, he was later joined by brothers Fred and Keith. During his childhood, the family moved to Toronto. He graduated from Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute and studied electrical engineering at “Skule”—officially the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. He played trumpet in various dance bands during his college years. He also held an internship with CN Telecommunications which led to full-time employment after he passed his professional engineering exams.

Ron married Grace Bruneau on July 4, 1959. They lived in Toronto, Ron working for CN and later for Motorola. Son Norman arrived in 1963 and daughter Leanne in 1965.

In the summer of 1967, the family moved to Florida. Ron found work at Electronic Communications Incorporated in St. Petersburg. He worked at ECI—under the successive ownership of NCR, E-Systems, and Raytheon—from 1967 until his retirement in 1999. His work was chiefly on defence-related communications systems. In 2006, Ron and Grace were divorced, and he moved into a condo in Largo, where he would later be adopted by Spooky, his cat.

He lived there until declining health prompted a move into assisted living in February, 2018. That’s when Ron and Spooky relocated all the way to Calgary, Alberta, and Sage Hill. This put him close to the home of his physician daughter Leanne and her husband Warren. Leanne has been able to keep tabs on his medical care, and Leanne and Warren looked after him in many ways. His two years at Sage Hill were a happy time for him.

Ron had many interests and hobbies, including camping, canoeing, and sailing. He enjoyed travel, and his work provided him with lots of that. But the most enduring of his hobbies would be music. During the early Florida years he resumed playing the trumpet and became a faithful participant in several of the area’s amateur concert bands, most notably the Selama Grotto Band and the South Pasadena Community Band. He played in the Grotto Band for well over forty years, and eventually served as its music librarian for a number of years.

During his years in Largo, he started to attend Calvary Church of Clearwater, where he enjoyed the preaching of Dr. William Rice. Since moving to Calgary, he has enjoyed attending Centre Street Church when he has been able to get out.

Ron was predeceased by his brother Fred Birkett. He is survived by brother Keith Birkett of Gainesville, Florida; son and daughter-in-law Norman and Katharine Birkett of Elmwood Park, New Jersey; daughter and son-in-law Dr. Leanne Birkett and Warren Wiebe of Calgary; and Spooky.

The family expresses its gratitude to the staff of Unit 61, Foothills Medical Centre, and of Sage Hill, for their extraordinarily kind and loving care for Ron as he neared his end.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alberta Music Education Foundation in memory of Ron Birkett ( or 780-409-8407).

A Memorial Service will be held at Centre Street Church, Calgary (3900-2nd Street NW) on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 2:00 pm. Please use the West doors. To view and share photos, condolences and stories of Ron, visit Arrangements entrusted to the care of Choice Memorial Cremation & Funeral Services (403) 277-7343.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 2:00pm
    Centre Street Church
    3900 - 2nd Street NE
    Calgary, Alberta T2E 9C1
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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