Gordon McLean

Obituary of Gordon McLean

Gordon McLean, a long time resident of Beaverlodge, Alberta passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2016 in Beaverlodge at the age of 70 years. Gord was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta on August 17, 1945 to parents Ted and Thelma McLean. He was their only son, as his twin brother passed away shortly after birth. He grew up in the rural setting on the McLean farm along the Valhalla Highway. The impression of the farm life and it's importance to our history and well-being was something that struck him deeply. Gord attended school in the area and graduated in Hythe with a graduating class number of about seven students. Upon graduation Gord's love of farming took him to Fairview College to further his studies in agriculture. When he was done at Fairview in 1965, he went directly to work at the Beaverlodge Research Station. Wendy became a part of Gord's life when her family moved from Fort Smith, NWT in 1968. They were married in December of 1970. Wendy was his love, partner, and friend. They were seldom seen apart. Their son David was born in January of 1972 and in August of 1974 Shellie came along. Gord and Wendy moved to the research station in 1973 and over the years lived in two of the small residences on site. They made lifelong friends of their neighbors there. Gord continued his career at the Research Station with Agriculture Canada for 35 years until his retirement in 2000. Aside from his career, Gord always shared a love of steam locomotion with his Dad. As a result, Gord played a fundamental role in the creation of the Museum that they started on the family farm in 1967. As the small venue gained popularity they knew a change was needed and in 1974 the Museum Association was formed. Relocation land was cited and secured along the Highway northwest of Beaverlodge and the South Peace Centennial Museum was in full swing. Gord's parents, Ted and Thelma lived in the Museum residence from 1974-1983. In the spring of 1983, Gord and his family moved in and resided there until the fall of 1997. Gord was a member of the Alberta Museums Association and was President of the SPCM for over 30 years. He always wanted the Steam Traction Engines to be more than just looked at as old, inanimate objects. He wanted people to truly experience their mystifying power, smells, and sounds. He wanted them to continue to operate and as a result he actively lobbied government to make changes to legislation allowing continued firing of boilers for public events. Gord was very mechanically inclined and was involved in countless restorations and repairs over the years. He was still a very active member and volunteer of the museum and was there almost daily to tinker in the shop and lend a hand in anything that needed doing. He did this right until his passing. After Gord retired from the Research Station, he was a bit bored and was missing his agriculture passion so he decided he would go back to farming and was employed by Fosters. He was very happy working his 13 years there. He loved to run the latest big, fancy equipment and was good at it. It was quite a contrast to the miniature stuff at the Research Station and the antique equipment at the Museum. Gord and his dad were very musical and played in an orchestra when he was younger. He was extremely proud of David and Shellie when they too shared the love of music through their talents and activities with the pipe band. Gordon McLean was a wonderful man, he was considerate and kind. His hand and hear touched a large circle of people. We will all miss him. Gord was predeceased by his parents Ted and Thelma McLean. Gord is survived by his wife of 45 years, Wendy, his son David (Robin), his daughter Shellie (Chad), his grandchildren: Duncan, Ronan, Daytona, and Hemi, and his adopted granddaughter Leah Vandale, along with extended family and many friends. A Memorial Service was held on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 1:00 PM from the Hythe Legion. Pauline Haycock officiated. Interment will be at a later date. For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Gordon to the South Peace Centennial Museum, Box 493 Beaverlodge, AB T0H0C0. Very Respectfully Beaverlodge Funeral Service

Memorial Service

1:00 pm
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Hythe Royal Canadian Legion
10212-100th Avenue
Hythe, Alberta, Canada
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