Robert H. Macgregor, who usually sported a Scottish tam, was a founder of the Zuhrah Shrine Bagpipe Band, and the Lone Lake Ski Cub, for which he helped build a truck-engine-powered rope tow in Hopkins.
The Wayzata man learned to play the bagpipes to join the band and "the practice sessions were excruciating," recalled his son, Todd Macgregor.
His father, 89, died in an Edina hospice on June 15 of complications from a heart attack. He had owned an employment services firm and retired as a stockbroker from Piper Jaffray about 15 years ago.
Macgregor liked building things from scratch. Besides the rope tow, he built race cars, remote-control model planes, ice boats and the "Merry Mac" cabin cruiser that his family enjoyed on Lake Minnetonka.
After tiring of walking up golf course slopes to ski down with his kids, Macgregor built his own ski area near Shady Lake, his son said.
"He got a 30-year lease from a farmer and put up telephone poles. He used auto tire rims and hooked a tow rope to a truck engine on top of the hill," he said. "We thought we were top-end. But your mitten palms would wear out from slush and stuff on the rope. It was great."
The elder Macgregor got hooked on skiing in the German Alps while an Army artillery instructor in World War II. He returned to Wayzata and married Joan Hocking, who preceded him in death. In 1959, he became the first president of the Shrine Bagpipe Band in Minneapolis. Band members still wear the Macgregor tartan, said original member and Macgregor brother-in-law Henry Lofquist, 91. Lofquist said he and Macgregor helped start the band after seeing the Minneapolis Police Pipe Band.
Lofquist said he helped Macgregor install a four-cylinder marine engine in what became the Merry Mac, which held about six, and "putted right along." That idea originated with Todd, when he was about 8.
"I said, 'Dad, it would be great if we had a boat,' " he said. About two years later in 1961 they christened the cabin cruiser. "It started in the basement and he finished it in the neighbor's garage because he didn't have enough space."
Macgregor, whose parents were Scottish, was a self-assured man who could laugh at himself, and didn't mind sticking out in a plaid kilt or tam. One of his top productions was designing a Tooth Fairy outfit consisting of a tutu over long underwear with wings and glittery glasses, his son said. Macgregor appeared in that getup after his youngest daughter lost a tooth.
"He pranced down the hall and put a dollar under her pillow. We were laughing so hard, it was not a big surprise for her," Macgregor said.
He said his father taught his four children "to be true to yourself. Never be afraid to try something new, push the envelope and take risks. But be respectful."
Macgregor was a member of Wayzata Community Church for about 70 years. Pastoral care minister Lindy Purdy said: "He was tremendously Scottish and loved wearing his Scottish kilt and tam. He was well known around Wayzata in that outfit."
In addition to his son, Macgregor is survived by his daughters, Robin, of Minneapolis, Dustin and Kippen Chermak, both of Plymouth, and six grandchildren. Services have been held.