Obituary Overview: John "Jock" Alexander McStay


Aged 94 years of Porters Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada, passed away on Sunday, November 18th, at Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital in Musquoboboit Harbour after a short illness.

Born in Merritt, BC, he was the eldest of the seven children of Margaret "Madge" (nee McLeod), and John Joseph McStay. Both of whom were WWI veterans of The British and Canadian Expeditionary Forces serving in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and Seaforth Highlanders of Canada respectively.

John H McStay and Dawn E Mays Wedding Day, Kenton, Middlesex, St Mary’s Church March 16th 1946

John H McStay and Dawn E Mays Wedding Day, Kenton, Middlesex, St Mary’s Church March 16th 1946

Rising to rank of Sergeant during World War II, Jock joined the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada immediately after turning 18 and volunteered for Overseas Service. He served with the Seaforths in England, Africa and participated in both the Italian and North-East Europe Campaigns including the “Breaking of the Hitler Line” at Monte Cassino in 1944 and the surrender of the German Forces in Amsterdam in 1945 which was received by the Seaforth Highlanders.

After the war, Jock married his sweetheart, Dawn Evelyn Mays, in England in 1946 while serving in Canada’s Post War Army in Britain. They remained married for 72 years until Jock’s passing this past Sunday. He returned to Canada for demobilization and worked for Dominion Bridge in Vancouver before returning to his bride in England and taking up residence in London.

In England he worked for De Havilland and then Napiers, being particularly involved in aircraft engine development for both the RAF and Civilian use working with famous test pilots such as John Cunningham and Neville Duke.

In 1959 he accepted a position as General Manager of Mitchell-Cotts in Bahrain who were the dealers for Caterpillar, Rolls Royce and other major companies. In 1963 he transferred to Zahid Group in Saudi Arabia to help establish and expand the Caterpillar Dealership “In Kingdom”. He remained in the Arabian Gulf until he retired in 2012 at age 88 and returned to Canada.

During his 53 years in Arabia and after leaving Zahid, Jock played a major part in the development of Saudi Arabia including as Construction General Manager in the building of a series of airports that opened up transportation across the Kingdom. In the late 1960’s he also provided support to the British Army’s Trucial Oman Scouts in their operations in defence of the Emirates and was awarded the rank of Hon. Colonel. For the last 30 years of work in Arabia he was Construction General Manager for Tamimi Group before becoming Senior Vice President and Advisor to the Board.

After returning to Canada Jock and Dawn took up residence with their son, Rod McStay in Porter’s Lake. Jock enjoyed being in Nova Scotia and became an active member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 161 Eastern Shore in Gaetz Brook.

Jock is survived by his wife, Dawn Evelyn (Mays); Sons John Cameron (Michelle Baylis) of Lawrencetown Beach, Roderick Grant of Porters Lake and Daughter Jane-Anne (Rob Kight) of Jacksonville, Florida; Grandchildren, Bryony (Chris Fost), Lindsay Eve (Chris Johnson), James, Alexandra, John Eric, Hayley and Cameron; Great Grand-children Matthew, Benjamin and Ella Jane; Brother Donald; Sister Donna-Mae, a number of Nephews and Nieces and his faithful black Labrador companion Fajir.

Pre-deceased by his father, John Joseph; mother, Margaret; brother, Bruce and sisters, Rosemary, Shirley, June and Marguerite (Betty Jean).

A Private Family Service will be held at St Mark’s Church, Porters Lake at 11.30 hrs on Friday, November 23rd. A Reception and Celebration of Life will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 161, Eastern Marine, on Highway 7 in Gaetz Brook at 13.00 hrs to which Jock’s many friends are invited.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Jock’s memory can be made to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 161, Gaetz Brook.

The family would like to thank the staff of Twin Oaks Memorial for their compassion and support together with the caregivers who provided his home support before his transfer to Hospital.

Online condolences can be sent by visiting the Dartmouth Chapel at

W Michael Patience