The birds on the South Thompson River have lost a great friend. On June 28, on a beautiful afternoon, the spirit of a very good man found its way to the light. Sinclair Neil McLean passed away in his own bed, surrounded by his loving family and nine grandchildren. Two turtledoves flew by the window and two deer came to graze below.
Neil was born February 12, 1927 in Prince George to Sinclair and Helen McLean, a pioneer lumbering family. As the youngest son, he learned the many facets of the business, from river driving logs down the Fraser to every task in the mill.
He left to attend Vancouver College, later graduated from Lord Bing High School, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Forestry at UBC in 1951. He devoted his professional life to the practice of forestry. After several years in Malakwa, Taft, and Sicamous country, he and his young family moved to Kamloops to work for W.W. Stevens, a forestry consultant.
In 1961, after Mr. Stevens’s untimely demise, Neil and his wife, E.M. Helen, purchased the business that became S.N. McLean Forestry Services Ltd. The company operated for over 40 years out of the main office in Kamloops, as well as those in Castlegar and Prince George. Neil sponsored numerous summer forestry students. Many who followed in his footsteps in professional forestry service took with them the ethics and integrity he believed to be necessary to every forester’s imprint on the profession.
Neil’s persistent health problems were met with equal perseverance and tenacity. He never let them overcome his joie de vivre and his passion for living a full life. He found a spiritual resonance in nature, something that brought a particular joy, whether it was the deep woods of his youth or at the edge of the South Thompson River in later years.
He truly believed in the Rotary motto, “Service above self”, and served as a life member of Kamloops North Rotary and the Fraser/Fort George Museum. Numerous and quality friendships were forged through Rotary especially. Neil was also a long time member of the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals and the Forest History Association of B.C. In earlier years, he was a member of the Eagle Valley Fish & Game Club and the Sicamous Kinsmen.
Neil is survived by E.M. Helen, who is his life long mate and wife of nearly 62 years, as well as his three children: son Murray McLean (Tammy Abrahamson); daughter Maureen Young (Allen); and daughter Kerry-Lynne Small. Neil also leaves behind his grandchildren: Lachlan McLean (Sayena Fariji); Lucas McLean (Jessica); Lana McLean; Zachary Young (Natalie Peace); Taylor-Marie Young (Robert Fischer); Jacob Young (Jenna Patterson); Nicholas Small; Michael Small (Katie Almeida); Samantha Small; and his cherished great grandson, Lincoln Sinclair McLean. Neil is also survived by son-in-law Henry Small; his remaining sister, Marilyn Goertsen; and many nieces and nephews. Neil was predeceased by his youngest sister, Lynne Mann.
Dearest Neil—devoted husband, loving father, and beloved Poppa: your flag flies at half-mast; your mountains have been climbed; and your guest book, filled to the last page, is now complete.
We acknowledge the quality care provided by the physicians and nurses of Royal Inland Hospital and the Kamloops home support nurses. A ceremony in recognition of Neil’s life will be held at the South Thompson Inn at 3438 Shuswap Road in Kamloops on Saturday, August 23, 2014, beginning at 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations in remembrance of Sinclair Neil McLean may be made to Kamloops North Rotary (Box 24036 70-700 Tranquille Road, Kamloops, BC, V2B8R3); the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (600-60 St. Clair Avenue, East Toronto, ON, M4T1N5); or any charity of choice.
Online condolences may be sent through Neil’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral service, Salmon Arm, BC