Dougald C McKeown

Dougald C McKeown

After more than 60 years of diligent service, a beloved leader and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has passed away.

Dougald Campbell McKeown, born in Renton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland and raised in Northern Ireland, died at the age of 94. His admired companion, Grace McKeown, preceded him in death (2008), Brother McKeown was known for his service to the Lord and substantial contributions to the Church. Dougald was loved around the world. He was noted for his sharp mind, quick humour and exceptional memory of the people he served.

He was the first British-born president to preside over the Church’s London Temple, having been appointed to the role by the Church’s prophet, President David O McKay. Dougald served in that position with his wife from 1968 to 1973, at a time when there were only 15 temples operating around the world. He performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies in the temple for couples who wanted to be married for time and all eternity.

Dougald met his wife while serving in the British Army. Having refused to kill another man on the grounds of personal conviction, Brother McKeown volunteered to serve as a bomb disposal expert, one of the most dangerous jobs in the army. Dougald was stationed in the same small village (Letcombe Bassett, Berkshire) where his future spouse was living. Having just been promoted, Dougald was with some other soldiers at the roadside, when Grace Nash walked passed. A soldier called out: 'Miss, would you stitch his badge on his uniform.' She agreed to help and after, she said in a 1980 interview, “He was obliged to take me for a walk.”

Brother McKeown married his sweetheart on October 3, 1942.

Eight years later, the McKeowns were visited by a pair of proselyting missionaries, Sherman Sheffield and Keith Romney. In 1950, the family were baptised and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in London.

Since that time, Brother McKeown has faithfully served in a multitude of callings for the Church—branch president, bishop, stake presidency counsellor, temple president, executive secretary and patriarch, amongst other positions.  He was the first bishop of the newly formed London North Ward where he lived at the time of his death.

Brother McKeown was employed by the Church as the General Manager of Deseret Enterprises, Ltd and was later appointed to run the first local purchasing office for the Church in England, based in Lichfield, responsible for the UK and Africa.  Previous to this, he spent 15 years on the clerical staff for British Railways.

His daughter, Ruth, recalled him always being generous to others.  She remembered him bringing men to their home from time to time to share a meal with the family while he was working for British Railways.

In 1980, Brother McKeown and his wife were called to serve as full-time missionaries for the Church in its Hyde Park Visitors’ Centre. They considered this calling a blessing and an opportunity to return to their home of London. They later served a full-time mission to run the Family History Centre.

A month after being released from their mission, Brother McKeown was called to serve as the patriarch of Hyde Park Stake, a position in which one of authority delivers special blessings to members of the Church as a means for guidance and direction in their life. Brother McKeown delivered nearly 1,000 blessings to members during his time as patriarch.

The son of James McKeown and Mary Campbell McKeown, he was the father of three children—sons Dougald and Jack and daughter Ruth. At the time of his passing, Dougald was the grandfather of 15 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. He loved them equally, always remembering birthdays with a special phone call. Many have continued in his footsteps, serving full-time missions and in assignments in the Church.