Obituary of Max Wynn McLean
Max Wynn McLean
(June 14, 1948 - July 10, 2019)
Max Wynn McLean was born and raised in Camrose, Alberta. When he was born, he was given the first and last name of his father, Max McLean, as well as his mother Lois’ maiden name of Wynn. Some folks knew him as “Max” and others knew him as “Wynn”. Still others referred to him affectionately as “Maxi”. He carried each of these names with him proudly throughout his life.
Though he loved his home town, his life experiences, career and personal contributions stretched well past the area in which he grew up. People far beyond this community will remember all the good that he did and celebrate all that he was.
Wynn’s first career was as a teacher. He started his education degree in Edmonton at the University of Alberta, then graduated from the University of Calgary in the early 70s and taught upper elementary school in that city while his wife, Judy, whom he married in 1972, worked in the interior design field. During this time Wynn developed many lifelong friendships playing competitive hockey. It was also in Calgary, in 1976, that the couple’s first child, daughter Shandy, was born.
When the young McLean family returned to Camrose, Wynn took on a role in his family’s retail clothing business and was instrumental in helping the business expand to a location at the newly constructed Duggan Mall. In 1979, the family expanded as well, when son Connor arrived.
Over the next decade Wynn and Judy were both active in retail clothing sales in Camrose, opening and operating a variety of stores focused on fashions for men, women and young adults. During that time Wynn also established himself as a dedicated volunteer, serving the community through the Kinsmen Club and other organizations. When he wasn’t volunteering, Wynn could be found enjoying another passion -- golf. In fact, he was one of the founders of the local Brothers Golf Tournament, now in its 30th year.
By the mid-1990s Wynn had found a way to combine his skill as an educator and his knowledge as a retailer into work as an employment counsellor, providing service in communities from Camrose and Wetaskiwin to Drayton Valley and beyond. He then took on a role with the Camrose Regional Exhibition, leading their adult learning initiatives. It was thanks to Wynn that the CRE began to develop a diverse range of learning partnerships that allowed people to enhance their employment skills without leaving the community. When he left the CRE, it was to accept an invitation from Olds College to guide their fund development efforts in support of agriculture programs. Though Wynn was definitely a “city boy” he had gained knowledge of the importance of agriculture thanks to the CRE and was able to bring excellent donor and sponsor support to Olds.
The CRE lured Wynn back to local employment when the role of Executive Director became available. It was in this capacity that Wynn was able to really showcase both his sales and leadership skills, gaining additional funding, overseeing the facility and expanding many of its programs, as well as bringing a campground, Panhandle Productions and Big Valley Jamboree under the CRE umbrella. Wynn was instrumental in founding Tourism Camrose during that time, and also played a large part in creating the Growing Rural Tourism conference, which was designed to support communities outside of Edmonton and Calgary in learning to promote themselves and attract visitors.
Wynn remained with the CRE until 2012, when he took on the role of Vice President of Community Relations for Travel Alberta. He retired from that role in 2017. Wynn served a term on Camrose City Council and also considered a political career at one point. He made a run at the Progressive Conservative nomination in the mid-2000s but, when he wasn’t the successful candidate, wasted no time in becoming a staunch supporter of the victor.
Throughout his career, and his life, Wynn was known for his ability to bring people together. Whether he was organizing a beer fest for the Kinsmen, supporting the annual Bull Congress at the CRE or working with politicians to promote a provincial Tourism initiative, Wynn was able to connect people from different walks of life and help them see the benefit of working collaboratively. He was the world’s best “schmoozer”, always encouraging others to join the team. Wynn had a close circle of long-time friends, but was also always welcoming and open to bringing new people into the circle.
As a leader, Wynn was comfortable in a suit and tie, making a presentation at a conference or board room table, but was equally happy to pull on his jeans, take a shift at the bar, sell 50/50 tickets or do whatever else it might take to make an event a success. He was the first to give others credit when things went well, and the first to take responsibility if things went south. Whatever the task at hand, Wynn could be counted on to help make it happen, and do it with a smile on his face. His joy of life, his love of laughter, and his commitment to making sure a good time was had by all, will long be remembered and appreciated.
Wynn had a life-long love of music and was an enthusiastic guitar player. He had great stage presence and over the years was a member of several local bands. Often their performances were used to lend a fundraising hand to local organizations or causes in need of support. Wynn’s rendition of Mustang Sally is legendary. Also legendary is Wynn’s love of colourful storytelling and sports analogies. Though he was a kind and gentle man, he used expressions like “we were in tough, boys” and “you’ve got to go out and get your knuckles bloodied” and he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Wynn himself had been “in tough” over the last few years. Following a diagnosis of throat cancer, he endured surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments. Though he lost strength and some abilities, and even suffered strokes in the last year, Wynn worked hard to stay positive.
He wanted to be sure he had given his all to try and beat the disease. But the day came when his race was run.
Max Wynn McLean was born on June 14, 1948 and died on July 10, 2019 at the age of 71.
Max Wynn McLean is survived by Judy McLean, his wife of 47 years; his children Shandy McLean (Rob McAdam) and Connor McLean (Andrea Ma); his grandchildren Claire Reed and Shea Reed; his siblings Deb Lentz, Shane (Linda) McLean and Gord (Linda) McLean and their families.
In lieu of flowers, Wynn’s family would gratefully encourage donations to the Bailey Theatre Society.
A Celebration of Life for Max Wynn McLean was held at 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 16, 2019 from the Camrose Regional Exhibition Grounds (CRE), 4250 Exhibition Dr. Camrose with Rev. Brian Hunter officiating. Come in jeans for burger's, beer and live music. The Program began at 4 with live jam session with Godfrey Blaque & Guests to follow.
In lieu of flowers, if family and friends so desire, memorial contributions in Max's memory may be made to the Bailey Theatre.