H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

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Donald Maclean

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Donald Maclean

May 12, 1931 - March 22, 2016


Born 12 May 1931 in Glasgow Scotland passed peacefully at his home in Duncan, BC with family at his side on March 22, 2016, after a brief illness.

Donald was predeceased by his father Alexander, his mother Grace and his young brother Alex, all of Glasgow, Scotland.

He is survived by Christina (née Hamilton), his ever-loving wife of 54 years; his son Alex (Dwight Ferguson) of Toronto; his daughters Tina (Bill Phillips) and Donna (Gerry MacDonald), both of Duncan, B.C.; his seven grandchildren Katy, Donny, Lindsay, Andrew, Ian, Christina and Robert, and his great-granddaughter Paisley, who greatly charmed his life in his final months. He also leaves three sisters: Flora , Grace and Seonaid as well as extended family and friends in Scotland, Canada, Australia and the United States.

Donald served in the Royal Air Force and the U.K. Merchant Navy before moving his young family from Scotland to Vancouver in 1963. He had a lengthy and successful career as a stationary engineer with the Vancouver School Board. 

Donald’s defining characteristic was his social generosity. He made a legion of life-long friends throughout his life and work and through his commitment to civic and social activities. In 1972, he sailed with Greenpeace to protest nuclear testing in the Aleutian Islands and later helped with Cuban embargo relief by challenging the US blockade among other progressive efforts. For decades, he was a devoted participant of the Vancouver Folk Song Society and later after retiring to Vancouver Island in the 1990s he was an active member of the Cowichan Pipes and Drums. In every venture, he heartily drew people in and blurred the all-too fictive distinction between friends and family. He also loved soccer, guitar, his fishing rod and a ‘wee half’ of Scotch. He was an avid Burns aficionado and addressed many a haggis over the years. Largely self-educated, he read broadly and was a sharp observer of politics and history with an innate empathy for the underdog. The love of his adopted country was never in conflict with his pride in his Scottish origin and history.

In keeping with Donald’s wishes there is no public memorial service and his ashes will be scattered on the Birkenhead River by his favourite family camp spot.  If you wish to make a contribution in Donald’s legacy, please do so to a humanitarian or local environmental, historical or civic cause of your choosing. Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support at this difficult time and thanks you for keeping him in your thoughts.


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: elly and michael ruge
Relation: friend

Dear Christine and all family members…Donald was one of the most happy and inspiring men I have met throughout my life’s journey. He always brought a smile to our faces and had a wicked wit about him. We will always remember the Robert Burns party at their home a few years ago and we were all grilled on the history of Burns and the day itself by Donald. He will be missed and there are some wonderful memories to share…Our hearts are with you at this difficult time.

From: Lise and Neville Price
Relation: Friends

dear chris and family – we were so sad to learn back in January of Donald’s illness and so sorry that we hadn’t connected with you for so many years. I’m really happy that I finally did and that both of us did get to speak to him before he passed away. I’m sure you realize how much Donald touched my life especially since I was fortunate enough to live under your roof for a few years. Donald was always there to come to my rescue in those days, he was a witty, enigmatic, generous, caring, humble, easy going man and I’m sure that you will all miss him but remember him also with joy when the pain of losing him eases a bit. he was a very special man and you were all so lucky to have him in your lives for a long time.
love and peace to you all

lise and nev

From: Alexander Bell MacLean
Relation: son

For my father Donald Murray MacLean (May 12, 1931 – March 22, 2016) with love and so much gratitude.
Wherever you are, I know the trout are biting, you’ve got a guitar slung around your neck and the company is greatly enriched by your presence in their midst. Songs are sung, the Glenfiddich flows along with the stories and strangers are always welcome. Because a vivid and irrepressible social generosity was your defining characteristic, whether family or friends, we’re all the poorer for your most noticeable absence from our lives.
By any objective measure 84 years is a pretty good run of it, but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Your love for my mother was palpable and enduring and she in turn loved you to the end, without fail, for more than 55 years.
But all must pass. And we who remain will work at being grateful instead for your enormous presence in our lives and follow your example of progressive tolerance and rejection of bigotry and reactionary politics and all its metastases. Rather than sitting and merely griping at the news, you took action instead and that active participation in civic life – both social and political – is a great legacy to have left us all, especially your children. You had the courage of your convictions and wore them on your sleeve as a badge of honour.
You were always a helping hand when someone was in need and your actions as example spoke louder than any of my words ever could. You were honest, modest and a man of your word. Rest in peace.

From: Sandi Keely
Relation: friend

I’m so sorry to hear of your families huge loss. Sending a little hug for Lindsay.

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