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Hamilton lawyer dies in lightning strike

|Written By Michael McKiernan

Hamilton, Ont., lost a fixture of its legal community late last month when a retired lawyer died from a lightning strike. Ronald McCreadie, 68, grew up in the city and spent four decades practising there before his retirement two years ago.

“He was a real gentleman, a very fair-minded guy who you could be glad to call a friend. He would back you up in anything,” says Ryan Paquette, who worked with McCreadie for most of his legal career.

McCreadie retired from Paquette’s practice two years ago. He was out walking on a wooded recreational trail on July 28 in Hamilton’s West Mountain neighbourhood when a fast-moving storm moved through the area around 5 p.m.

A witness who saw him struck by lightning tried to revive him with the help of another passerby. Paramedics attended and attempted to revive McCreadie, but he was pronounced dead at hospital.

Paquette first met McCreadie shortly after his graduation from the University of Western Ontario in 1968, when a partner at his Hamilton law office took McCreadie on as an associate fresh from his articles.

More than 20 years later, McCreadie was still there with a wide-ranging practice that encompassed family law, real estate, civil litigation, and criminal matters.

“You could always rely on him to do a good job on a file,” Paquette says. “He was well-respected. Clients really appreciated his sincerity and his honesty.”

In the early 1990s, McCreadie spent time at two other firms in the city. He also served two terms at the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals for the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security before returning to Paquette’s firm a decade ago.

“We were very happy to get him back,” Paquette says. “We got along very nicely and we had a very good relationship, so it worked well for both of us.”

Outside work, Paquette says McCreadie’s biggest passions were his family and sports. He never missed a Hamilton Bulldogs game and would sing the team’s praises to anyone who would listen.

“He couldn’t understand why more people didn’t go to those games because he’d always say it’s as good as any NHL game,” Paquette says.

McCreadie’s daughter Christine Koslowski explained to the Hamilton Spectator that her brother, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, gave him the opportunity to indulge both passions.

“My brother was very involved in sports, so my dad was quite active in those things,” she said. “Both he and my mom became very involved in the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”

As the disease took hold of his son, McCreadie’s family became even more of a priority. His son’s deteriorating condition hit him hard, Paquette says.

“He was very close to his family, so that created some problems for him. When he lost his son to cystic fibrosis, he had a very hard time adjusting.”

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