MacLean remembered for service, passion for community
By Jenn Watt
Published May 17, 2016
When Malcolm MacLean was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, then-MP Barry Devolin took to the airwaves of Canoe FM to present the honour.
It was a fitting location for the active volunteer, who had already been with the station for a decade at that point.
“Today we recognize a great individual who has dedicated himself to service, to family, community and country,” Devolin said in a release leading up to the honour.
A retired educator, he divided his volunteer time between the Minden Legion, Minden Rotary Club and Canoe FM.
Last week, the community lost MacLean.
“In his own way and in his own time, passed away on May 10, 2016, in his 66th year, in his loving wife’s arms,” the first line of his obituary reads. He is “survived by his wife Lee, son Shawn, sister Marian, brother Gord, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.”
Georgina Parkes, who volunteered with MacLean at the Legion, was deeply affected by his passing.
“I just thought he was a super person. He was willing to do anything and everything,” she says. Parkes worked with MacLean when she was branch president and he was vice president. She says he then became president and held the post for five years, all the while volunteering in other capacities.
“[It’s] an awful lot of responsibility. He was in it full force, both hands,” she says.
“He was just a fantastic person.”
Current Legion branch president Judy Flieger says MacLean was a tremendous help to her and that he and Lee could often be found in the kitchen helping out with the cooking.
“I said when I heard, ‘why is it always the good ones?’” she recalls. “He cared about everything.”
MacLean also cared deeply about Canoe FM and the possibilities of community radio, station manager Roxanne Casey says.
“He was passionate about community radio. He believed in the whole idea of volunteers being involved in radio and it [being] so important to have Canadian artists on the air,” she says.
Over the years, he hosted a variety of programs covering folk, bluegrass and Canadian music. In 2009, he joined the board and at one point or another contributed to every committee. He became president in 2013.
Casey remembers his innate curiosity and love of technology.
“He was the first one to be able to broadcast from home because he knew exactly what to do,” she says. When the idea of the Radio Hall was broached, he jumped on board and helped make it happen.
He was willing to take chances and try new ideas. “Malcolm was always the one to say, let’s try it,” she says.
Volunteers at the station have been sending their memories and condolences to the station, which Casey has compiled for the family.
“It appears that we are all too often saddened by the passing of vibrant, contributing people in our community and in our lives,” fellow radio host Mike Jaycock wrote. “It remains for all of us to respect their memories by doing the very best we can with our precious time, for our families, our friends and for our community.”
“Malcolm had a unique way (in a nice way) about him and I always enjoyed working with him,” read another letter signed “Case.”
“I loved his sense of humour and his positive attitude.”
While MacLean was president, he kept a bowl of chocolates on his desk in hope of encouraging people to come by his desk and interact. He kept Smarties especially for Casey’s grandchildren – their favourite.
It’s a tradition the station manager says will continue on, like so many others started by the longtime volunteer.
She has a quote that MacLean wrote, which she has read on air and intends to keep: “Our community, our volunteers and our staff: we work together to make a difference. No one person is 100.9 Canoe FM. We are a vision that continues to grow.”
A memorial gathering was held for MacLean at the Legion in Minden on Saturday.