Family man, journalist, adventurer. Born on Jan. 11, 1952, in Regina; died on May 15, 2016, in Calgary, of stomach cancer, aged 64.
Roy Clancy was always prepared. His salesman father moved the family across the Prairies, packing up every few years for a new venue, bringing new challenges. Roy was the consummate big brother; although not the eldest, he looked out for Kirk, his beloved brother who was born with Down syndrome, and younger brothers James and Donald. Roy learned early on how to fight with both fists and words – fortunately as a teen he figured out that the pen was mightier than the sword.
After a childhood filled with hijinks, he quit school at 14. Then, after adventures across North America, many with his partner in crime, brother Jamie, he realized he had more to do with his life.
Roy immersed himself in a year-long course to finish high school and talked his way into the journalism program at Ryerson in Toronto. He spent the rest of his life as a wordsmith, journalist and nationally syndicated columnist. He was a mainstay in The Calgary Sun offices for more than 25 years.
Influenced by his youthful vagabonding, Roy was also a big believer in the School of Life. He would often reminisce about his time in a vegan commune (he would sneak out to eat hamburgers). He train-hopped across much of Canada and the United States, linking up with a network of young people who imagined a life of peace and love – a combination of homeless, restless youth and hippies. Roy was amazingly handy, largely the result of his many early jobs: taxi driver, window washer, bartender and apple picker were just a few.
Following stints as a rock journalist and writing about motorcycle racing, Roy moved to the West Coast to take on other newspaper jobs: sports editor, reporter, copy editor.
While living in Vancouver he met his soulmate and future wife, Susan MacLeod. They soon moved to Aldergrove, where they lived on a small farm with chickens and cows. Shortly before the birth of their first child, Katie, they moved to Calgary, where their second daughter, Anna, was born and which would remain home base for their global adventures.
Roy took pains to be a good dad, and strove not to repeat the type of complicated relationship he had experienced with his own father. He taught his girls how to ride and fix a bike, along with woodworking, and ensured that they and many other family members were subscribed to MoneySense magazine. He always looked out for everyone in his family, encouraging them to push their boundaries through various means (not all were pleasant) and giving a helping, supportive hand when needed. He was a rock for many people.
Armed with his Swiss Army knife, his pen, and his keen eye for detail, Roy was always ready for whatever came his way. Even in the face of terminal cancer, he persevered with grace, determination and good humour. His quiet acceptance of his diagnosis showed an amazing kind of bravery. When asked what he was most worried about, his biggest concern was his wife and daughters.
On the last family trip, to Waterton, Alta., two weeks before he passed away, he noted that his philosophy was to “live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse.” He added that “two out of three” wasn’t bad – though he wouldn’t say which of the three would be missed.
Katie Clancy is Roy’s daughter.
Follow us on Twitter: