Passed on: November 5th, 2012
Death is the other side of the great mystery of life.
Donald George McLean, resident of Moose Jaw since 1963, passed away peacefully on November 5th , Evelyn, his beloved wife of 55 years, and family were by his side. His death followed a two-year battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Don leaves to mourn, his wife Evelyn; daughters Donna, Tammy and Jacqueline (husband Bruce Jones); grandchildren Graem and Madison Law, Tess Degenstein, and Adrian Metzler.
Don was born in Virden Manitoba on September 27, 1932. He was raised in the Northern Manitoba community of Birch River. Following in his family’s tradition, he volunteered for active duty when the Korean War broke out, serving in the 129th battery and the 81st field regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Later in life, Don reflected on these years and on the friendships he developed during his service as profoundly influencing the man he became.
Don obtained a Master of Arts degree from the University of Regina in 1981. At that time, he had a wide range of life experiences, having served as a soldier, a roughneck on the drilling rigs in Alberta, an oilfield battery operator in Saskatchewan, and an operator in the newly-opened Kalium Chemical potash mine at Belle Plaine. Following his university education, he worked as an adult educator, a probation officer and a researcher/writer at Gabriel Dumont Institute. Through the Institute, he published his first three books, 1885: Metis Rebellion or Government Conspiracy?, Home From the Hill: A History of the Metis in Western Canada, and Fifty Historical Vignettes – Views of the Common People. After retiring he wrote Time of the Seventh Fire, a work of fiction honouring his family’s history of military service.
Don had a passion for learning and was particularly knowledgeable on Canadian war history and First Nations and Metis history. He enjoyed providing spirited commentary on social and political issues. He was also a proud Scotsman, and knew well the history of the clan McLean.
He shared with his family a love of nature, and was deeply connected to the physical beauty around him, the changing of seasons, the magnificence of the Saskatchewan skies, and the tranquility of the Northern forests and lakes he so loved as a child.
Don was proud of his daughters and grandchildren. Above all else he loved, treasured and adored his wife Evelyn, who he called his “Bambino”. He was more than grateful for her love and support through their life’s challenges. Don will be sadly missed.
The family wishes to thank Dr. K. Sanderson, staff of the Intensive Care Unit and the Medical ward at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital, the palliative care team for the Five Hills Health Region, and the staff at Extendicare Moose Jaw. Thanks as well to family friends, Barry Woods, Bill Stewart and friend Janet, Melanie Churko, Ed Cairns, and Rick Thatcher who provided help and support to Don and family during his illness.
In keeping with Don's wishes, a private family funeral will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund. In living memory of Don, a memorial planting will be made by W. J. Jones & Son Funeral Home. Condolences can be mailed to Evelyn McLean c/o W.J. Jones & Son Funeral Home in Moose Jaw or please sign the memorial register book at website: www.wjjonesandson.com (Obituaries).
DAYNA SMITH-SHORT FUNERAL DIRECTOR