'Countless people who are forever grateful': Renforth icon remembered for giving back

·3 min read

New Brunswick native Tony McGuire's accomplished life as an athlete, educator, business person and community leader meant inspiring the many people who knew him.

This was particularly true of his nephew, Bill McGuire.

The three-term Rothesay town councillor vividly remembers when his uncle Tony, a 34-year-old defenceman for the Saint John Mooseheads, let him tag along to the Hardy Cup playoffs in 1973.

"There was nothing more exciting for a 13-year-old aspiring hockey player than to go to the Beaverbrook (rink) with your uncle, who was a player," McGuire recalled. "To go into the dressing room, and then he handed his stick over the glass to me when they won. It was a pretty extraordinary thing."

Tony died on Oct. 11. He was 82 years old.

Growing up, McGuire said he looked up to his uncle and father, the late Bill McGuire, who were constantly busy with community service projects as longstanding members of The Kennebecasis Lions Club.

"He did a lot of volunteer stuff, and he contributed back more than his share," McGuire said.

Jim Maxwell, a member of the Lions Club, remembers Tony as one of the "legends" of the club, along with his brother Bill, a club founder.

"Tony would go out of his way, all the time, to get involved," Maxwell said. "If somebody had a problem in the neighbourhood, he would help work it out.

"He exemplified that spirit of whatever it took to be the best neighbour you could be – whether it was a human being, with a family or whether it was for the Lions," he said. "There are just countless people who are forever grateful. It was an old-school belief in helping make our community a better place and not ever looking for any credit."

As a way to recognize members who have died, the club plans to erect a granite bench at the entrance of the Bill McGuire Centre next month, displaying about eight names of those who passed away, including Tony's.

Born and raised in Renforth, a suburban community on the south bank of the Kennebecasis River near Saint John, Tony graduated from St. Francis Xavier University and the University of New Brunswick. Throughout his university career, he played soccer and hockey, becoming a skilled defenceman for the X-Men, according to his obituary. The squad went on to win the Maritime Championship in 1963.

Tony taught at Aberdeen School, and later became the principal of MacDonald Consolidated School, reads his obituary.

After his teaching career, he launched a construction company with his brother, Bill, called McGuire Brothers Construction.

With the end of his senior career in hockey, Tony went on to play for the Moosehead Old Timers until he was 61, reads his obituary.

A top Old Timer’s team in Canada during the 1980s, the squad often travelled to places, such as Fitchburg Massachusetts, Florida, San Diego and Copenhagen, each year to compete at tournaments.

The Mooseheads held an annual fundraiser at the Bill McGuire Centre called the New Year’s Eve Lobster Stag.

During a council meeting on Tuesday night, Rothesay Mayor Nancy Grant called Tony, who served as Renforth mayor during the mid-1980s, an "icon."

"He was so active in sports over the years and so active in community projects, and efforts, and did so much for the community," she said. "He will be sadly missed."

Robin Grant, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal

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