Retired soldier who died Christmas Day committed suicide, husband contends


TORONTO – The husband of a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who died in a head-on collision in Alberta on Christmas Day says his wife’s death was a suicide.

Tom MacEachern told CTV News his 51-year-old wife, retired corporal Leona MacEachern, was being treated for post traumatic stress disorder and had been allowed to leave a treatment facility for Christmas.

He said in a written statement that the 20-year Forces veteran intentionally drove her car into an oncoming transport truck on the Trans-Canada highway near Calgary. Two people in the tractor-trailer were not seriously hurt.

Tom MacEachern said his wife left a note for the family and that her death was a “final desperate act” as a result of “protracted battles” with Veterans Affairs over medical benefits for dental work she received in the late 1980s, while stationed in Germany during the First Gulf War.

CTV says government sources confirmed to the network that another soldier committed suicide last week at Alberta’s CFB Suffield. It provided no details.

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Retired soldier who died Christmas Day committed suicide, husband contends

  1. This ladies suicide is a tragedy, and the Department of Veterans affairs should be investigated. There are good people with the DVA, I don’t wish to throw blame on them all. There should be accountability on the part of the people making the final decisions on these situations.

    • I think there’s more to this story than is being told.

    • All suicides are a tragedy. You honestly think Veteran’s Affairs should be investigated because they turned her down for dental benefits.
      Give yer head a shake. There are guys out there with no legs, no arms, blind, deaf and PTSD from real combat.

      • I agree with you Whinchester all suicides are tragedies,, but the statement was made BECAUSE OF these guys out there with no arms, legs, blind, deaf and PTSD from real combat. From the smallest injury, to the very worst, all are entitled to FAIR compensation. I agree with Bob also, that there could be more behind this story. Give yer own head a shake, before making such comments.

  2. Stationed in Germany during the First Gulf war in the late 1980s? That war was in 90-91 in the Arabian Gulf. Also I was stationed in Germany during the late 1980s and had dental work done and I never qualified for Veterans benefits because I was in Germany. There must be more to this story that what Maclean’s is telling us.

  3. Wait a minute. This woman had “post-traumatic stress disorder” because of complaints over DENTAL WORK done twenty-five YEARS ago in super-safe GERMANY? Where’s the “trauma”? I thought Macleans was going to blame this on a tour of duty outside the wire at Kandahar, or something possibly legitimate like that. There’s either something critical being left out of this article…or this woman had severe mental-health issues unrelated to her time in the Forces.

    • Every government program ever devised has been scammed. It’s human nature to game the system which is why DVA often appears skeptical of claims. The military is full of people who just wanted a job. Trying to get some extra cash on the way out seems to have become routine.

      • I know many members with PTSD from service in ‘Stan and Kosovo. I just can’t help but think the author of this story omitted some other aspect of this veteran’s service that would have caused this tragic event.

        • Perhaps but I know people on disability based on pure scams. In some cases the effects of aging combined with lack of exercise and alcoholism have conveniently been blamed on the military. What % of claimants would have to be frauds to make DVA look more closely into case? One in four? One in five?

          • Agreed. I think MacLean’s should look more closely at this story. Especially when there are many vets with legitimate claims not being covered or if they are not covered enough.

          • Fred, no one in the CF would associate with you.

      • Oh, freddie….. You have never been in the CF and never will be, so what are you basing your blather on?

  4. If this was a suicide it was also the attempt murdered of the innocent people in the other vehicle. They’re the ones who deserve the most concern.

    • Way to troll, fred.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • Still bitter over your life as a never-will-be member of the CF, I see, freddie.

          Just because you’re a failure, doesn’t give you justification to insult the dead.

  5. This was a pure selfish act that could have quite clearly have taken the lives of the two innocent people in the Tractor Trailer. Now these two people have to live with this the rest of their lives. The two occupants of the tractor trailer were not seriously hurt.

  6. Ladies and Gentleman,
    Get a grip.
    I am reading many negative or questioning comments. Like most things this is not about the fact that she was trying to get coverage for her dental work. I knew her personally over the time in Germany and know much of what happened.
    I will not go into detail but will say that if dealing with the DVA was causing her to re-live some of the events I would be depressed as well. If you combine this with powerful drugs with potential negative side effects then there is much room for tragedy.
    It doesn’t matter if she was a combat veteran. What ever she was feeling was real enough for her.

    • So if she was treated with these powerful drugs why she was allowed to drive by herself? I did not know this woman but frankly, it’s difficult to believe this accident was a case of an intentional suicide, not in this way… could it be a drug side effect?