McCARTHY, Frederick Dennis


With deep sorrow, we announce that Dennis McCarthy passed away on December 22, 2020 at the age of 87. Dennis is survived by his children Maura McCarthy (Harry Doering), Jim (Brigette) McCarthy, Tim McCarthy (Susie Dureau), and Shannon (Kevin) Algajer; and his nine grandchildren: Riley, Eric, Kyra, Bryn, Sarah, Cooper, Naomi, Max, and Marlow.  He is predeceased by his parents James and Mabel McCarthy, and his sisters Marilyn Dewdney and Eleanor Conradson.

Dennis was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on August 24, 1933, where he spent his early years growing up on the family farm. The family eventually moved to town, where he played on every team and graduated from Central Collegiate high school. He then attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he thoroughly enjoyed the social life and playing varsity basketball for the Huskies. Many life-long and treasured friendships were forged in these years. Among all the fun, he earned a Civil Engineering degree in 1959.

Dennis’s biggest accomplishment and source of pride was his family. He grew up in a tight-knit family, and then created one of his own. He married Margo Draper in 1965, and they had four children in quick succession. In 1967 they bought a red rancher on the ravine in the Gold Bar neighborhood, which remained the family home for over 40 years. Margo and the children also spent the summers at their cottage on Pigeon Lake, where Dennis would join them on weekends – cheerfully driving the boat for two solid days so the kids could water-ski. He led by example, showing us all that a life well lived requires love of family, loyal friendships, hard work, humility, humour, resilience, generosity, and a lot of laughter.

As for his remarkable career, Dennis went to work for Ben Torchinsky two days after graduation and retired 42 years later after a remarkable career with AGRA Inc. He started in a one-man office in Winnipeg, then moved to Edmonton in 1961 to lead Western Caissons, the piling and foundations division that was responsible for anchoring many of the high-rise buildings in Edmonton and Calgary. He eventually became president of AGRA Construction, with offices across Canada and the US, as well as Hong Kong, China, Kuala Lumpur, and England. At the time of his retirement, he was a Vice-President of AGRA Inc., one of Canada’s largest engineering firms.  He also served as Chairman of the Alberta Construction Association and was a board member of the Canadian Construction Association.

For the past 20 years, he found constant joy in his grandchildren and fostered his love-hate relationship with golf. He spent his winters in Palm Desert, where he made new friends and hosted many of his Canadian ones. He will be greatly missed as a loving, generous father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. His booming laugh and welcoming smile will always be remembered.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later time. The family hopes you will start to compile your favourite stories and memories, in order to share them with us when we are able to gather safely and pay our respects to a man who has meant so much, to so many.

Dennis donated generously to many charities, but two of his favourites were the Salvation Army and The Mustard Seed. In lieu of flowers we invite you to donate to one of these organizations, or any other charity close to your heart.


Serenity Funeral Service – South Edmonton, (780)450-0101


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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Grace Jasper

I first met Dennis at the Uof S. He played on the Huskies and I on the Huskiettes back in the ’50s. I recently reconnected with him at Joan Lipsett’s Memorial in Calgary. We laughed and shared many memories as kindred spirits. My sympathy to all his family and friends – I’m sure you will miss his warmth and humour. With affection, Grace Jasper

Lynn Gerry

I was sad to hear of Dennis’ passing. He was a great friend to my late husband, Gordon, and I have many fond memories of our trip to India together. I enjoyed a game of golf with Dennis and the Smith’s in Palm Desert in 2019. He was always the consummate gentleman. Sending condolences to his entire family.

Fred Ballantyne

Only recently did I learn that Dennis has left us. I was with the Accounting and Auditing firm for AGRA for many years and always enjoyed the file when Dennis was around. He was just charming and a wise man. When Dennis was in our midst, it was a total pleasure! My sincere regrets are extended to his family!

Geoff Sully

I was deeply saddened to hear that Dennis had left us. I met Dennis when I came to Canada in 1978 and since then he has been worthy colleague and true friend. I especially recall our many overseas business trips for Agra and in particular our trips to the UK. We often shared reminiscences of those fun trips in later years. Requiescat in pace.

Patty & Borden Pluhator

Our most sincere condolences to Dennis’ family. I worked with Dennis in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s on numerous challenging projects throughout Canada and the United States. He was a great friend and co-worker. Up until two years ago we would meet annually, while vacationing in Palm Springs, at either Michael’s Café or at Pinocchio in the Desert Café for lunch. Will miss the phone visits. May he rest in peace.

Evelyn & Clint Stewart

our most heartfelt condolences to Dennis’ family. He was.a great friend, golf companion & all around neat guy.

Gary Cork

I known Dennis since high school in Moose Jaw. What I remember most is his ready smile and cheerful greeting

Lucille Evans

Sincere condolences to the family. I went to CCI in Moose Jaw with Dennis and each going separate ways. When we moved to Edmonton, was surprised to meet again at Highlands Golf Club. We had many good chats about Moose Jaw days. I saw him at Highlands this past summer and had another one of our chats. Will miss his smiling face. He truly was a special person.

Ben & Sherry Eastwood

It is saddened hearts that we share the loss of Dennis. We cannot think of a nicer man we have ever known. Our long history with the whole family has meant it was like losing one of our own family members. All loss is hard so let us focus on all his features that we so loved and looked up too.
Dennis’s memory will not soon fade, may he be with his angels who left before.
Love to all the McCarthy Ben & Sherry

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