Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Joseph McKeown, BSc, MSc (Died 6 April 2020, aged 85)


Obituary provided by wife Paddy.


Joe McKeown died peacefully in the company of his family. He was 85. He is survived by his beloved wife Paddy, his children Claire (Phil) and Martin (Janet) and his grandchildren Diana, Robin, Aileen, Monica and Adam as well as his sister Joyce and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Predeceased by his sister Maureen.


Joe was born in Waringstown, Northern Ireland to James McKeown and Edith Elliott. He attended Lurgan College and Queen’s University Belfast where he earned a BSc and MSc. An avid rugby player and accomplished cricketer, he played cricket for Waringstown and for Irish universities. He earned his pilot’s licence and served in the Air Cadets.


While at Queen’s he met the love of his life, Patricia (Paddy) McMaster, with whom he shared his life’s adventures. They married in 1960 and lived in Plymouth, England where their children were born. In 1966 they emigrated to Canada as Joe pursued a PhD in Nuclear Physics at the University of Manitoba. Upon graduation, Joe and Paddy moved to Deep River, Ontario where he had a highly successful career with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited as a nuclear physicist at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories and later as scientific director of the Accelerator Business Unit in Kanata.


Joe made numerous contributions to the fields of accelerator and particle physics through his many publications, patents, advisory roles on expert panels including the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was an essential contributor to the HERA project. In recognition of his many contributions to the field, he was awarded the W.B. Lewis medal by the Canadian Nuclear Society. He retired in 1997.


Joe and Paddy shared a lifetime of cherished connections with family and friends. Although they left their homeland in 1960 they maintained very close and regular connections with their siblings and their descendants, initially by letter and in person, then by email and in recent years over social media. They treasured their long-time friends from Deep River and their numerous friends in Kanata.


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