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GARRY LESLIE MCLEAN (Zhoongi-ghabowi ininah-Standing Strong Man) Obituary pic

GARRY LESLIE MCLEAN (Zhoongi-ghabowi ininah-Standing Strong Man)

Born: Sep 22, 1951

Date of Passing: Feb 19, 2019

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GARRY LESLIE MCLEAN Father, Papa, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend "Sunny Boy" Zhoongi-ghabowi ininah-Standing Strong Man September 22, 1951- February 19, 2019 With deep sorrow, but surrounded with love, Garry passed away, with family and friends by his side, on February 19, 2019 at St. Boniface General Hospital. He leaves behind his daughter Kristin and granddaughter Mckenna McLean. Garry was predeceased by his late wife Debbie McLean, parents, John and Ida McLean, brothers, George and Gordon McLean, sisters, Florence McLean, Marlene Maytwayashing, Lillian McLean and Rosemary McLean; his late in- law parents, Doug and Marie Simpson, and late brother-in-law Blair Simpson. He will be sadly missed by his sisters, Delma McLean (Joe) and Margaret McLean, brother Howard McLean (Geraldine), along with numerous nieces, nephews; great-nieces and nephews; cousins, family and friends. Garry was born in Dog Creek Lake Manitoba First Nation in 1951. Throughout his life he held many different roles and positions within the federal government, his community, throughout Winnipeg and beyond. He served as band administrator, supervisor, civil service worker, advisor to Grand Chiefs, salesman, businessman, board member and variety of other positions in First Nations Organizations. One of his more recent and long term jobs was as pursuer and advocate for Indian Day School Survivors. To him acknowledgement, forgiveness, learning and connection continue to be important steps moving forward. Bringing people and causes together was one of Dad's many strengths. Among some of his favourite roles were of beloved father, grandfather and spending time with family, as brother, uncle, cousin, and with friends. Mckenna is going to greatly miss her times spent with Papa. Visiting, enjoying each other's company and a shared love of all things ice cream and peanut butter just to name a few. Kristin is going to miss the random calls, texts and visits just to say hi, send love and reminders that you are proud of us. We are always proud of you too! Thank-you for the gifts and lessons you have always taught and instilled in us. We always knew we were enough for you and blessed to have each other. Garry loved meeting and learning about people and their experiences. He loved to talk and learn about who you were, where you were from and what you were going through. It was even better to him if you could share a laugh. He regularly made quick connections and you often knew where you stood with him. As much as he enjoyed sharing about life or challenges, he equally liked to listen. He regularly tried to help or improve those who wanted and accepted what he could give. He greeted all equally with a big smile, hearty laugh and warm kindness. This permeated throughout all his relationships both personal and professional. Another important accomplishment was his sobriety and fellowship of 37 years. He recognized the daily temptations and challenges life can bring, and had good options and support to draw from when life threw him some lemons. We would like to sincerely thank "the team" and all the doctors, specialists, nurses, staff, students and volunteers of Ward 6 at St. Boniface Hospital. Your compassion, care and commitment to your patients are remarkable. We also thank family, friends and acquaintances for your daily support and visits during this past month and a half. Dad loved getting to see and reconnect with you. It made his heart happy. He was truly grateful. Cremation has already taken place. A memorial and Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 2 at 3:00 p.m. with refreshments and light reception to follow at Soul Sanctuary, 2050 Chevrier Blvd. in Winnipeg. A private family service will take place with his ashes at a later date.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 28, 2019

Condolences & Memories (18 entries)

  • My sincere condolences to Kristin, granddaughter, and the McLean family. Words describing the joy that eminated from Garry are not adequate, his nickname "Sonny boy" better described him and his Spirit. Magic at times were a possibility. I will miss you my friend. Janet - Posted by: Janet McCartan (Friend ) on: Mar 10, 2019

  • We are so sorry to hear of your father/grandfather’s passing. We will remember him for his magnificent smile which he always seemed to be wearing! With that smile, he brought a cheerful presence to all of the family gatherings. Garry will be forever missed. He was a man of many accomplishments and he has left a huge imprint in our lives and many others. He can now reunite with those he loved and whom have passed before him. May you find peace knowing he is in a better place, free of pain and suffering. Your Dad/Grandfather is not gone but will remain with you in spirit always. Unfortunately we were not able to attend the funeral, as we were away visiting Kyle and family. We heard it was a very honourable and beautiful service. Our sincere condolences-Cathie & Keith McDowell - Posted by: Cathie & Keith McDowell (Extended family) on: Mar 05, 2019

  • My sincere condolences to Garry's family members and many, many, friends. "Smiling" Garry was one of the kindest and warmest souls that I have ever known. No matter what "side" of a political situation one was on, or facing, Garry had an immediate ability to brighten a room, share a laugh, and to bring intelligent focus to the larger issues. Garry's efforts toward reconciliation and the interests of First Nations and First Nations people are historic and have touched, and will continue to touch, the lives of many. Attending a gathering will seem somehow incomplete without shaking hands, chatting and sharing a laugh with "Smiling" Garry. Thank you for your friendship, your teachings and the sharing of your many gifts and lessons. You will be missed by many. - Posted by: Jason Zushman (Friend) on: Mar 03, 2019

  • I've had the pleasure of knowing Garry for many years, although as time passed we did not see each other very often. Garry was the most caring and positive person, he always had a kind word and was always interested in how you were doing. He made me laugh and you always had a smile when you were with him. He made you feel like there was nothing you couldn't accomplish. He just had a way of seeing the best in everyone. I will really miss him. - Posted by: Peg Thom (friend) on: Mar 03, 2019

  • I’m sorry that I am unable to make the service today to convey my condolences in person. I worked with your dad at Indian Affairs and have fond memories of his humour, friendliness and of course his smile. I was always so appreciative of the time he took to share his culture, his values, his life challenges, his commitment to create greater understanding of life on reserve and his efforts to do whatever for whoever to ensure they strived to get the best out of life they could. The love he had for you and your mum was so evident and his incentive to stay on the right track. When I saw him occasionally over the years, we spoke as though it was yesterday, he would be full of news of you and in return was wanting updates on my family too. It’s hard to think I won't see that big smile again, but it won’t be forgotten. Ann Wheddon - Posted by: Ann Wheddon (Co-worker) on: Mar 02, 2019

  • I first met Garry in 1977 and then shared an office with him at “Indian Affairs “ in the early 80’s. I witnessed his path to sobriety. I last worked with him in July of this year. I doubt I ever parted company without my sides being sore from laughter and a hug each saying “I love you”. Garry and Debbie were at our wedding, met our children and he Mc’d my retirement party last spring. Forty two years of admiration for Garry is difficult to summarize. He was humble, stubborn, generous, humorous, thoughtful, insightful, inspirational and loved his family. He was a better role model than many. I’m so thankful for my memories and offer sincere condolences to Kristan and McKenna (of whom he spoke only with love) and to my bud Delma. - Posted by: Linda Grieve (Colleague and friend) on: Mar 02, 2019

  • Garry was a leader in reconciliation efforts in justice and courts and his guidance will be sorely missed. He had so much to teach us. Each teaching was accompanied by humour, kindness and generosity. Despite the pain he suffered in early life he never lost his optimism. He once said that each experience, even the painful ones, were lessons that we had a duty to learn from so that we could make a better world. We served Christmas dinner together at Siloam Mission where Garry greeted each person with a warm smile and encouragement. I will miss his smile and his hugs. I know that he will guide us in spirit in the work ahead. Thank you Garry for your friendship and your gift of the teachings. We will never forget you. - Posted by: Madam Justice Lore Mirwaldt and Mr. Scott Gray (Friends and colleagues) on: Mar 02, 2019

  • When ever I would see my uncle, he would always tell me he loved me. It was something he said to you when you first saw him, followed by a big warm hug. He would often tell you he was proud of you, and would want to hear about what was going on in your life. I have so many fond memories of him. Growing up I spent a lot of time with Kristin, and I always thought their relationship was so special. I will miss the hugs, talks, and hearing his giggle. Kristin has the same giggle. Uncle Garry you were so special. I will miss you so much. Becky - Posted by: Becky Matheson (Niece ) on: Mar 01, 2019

  • I worked with Garry many years ago and found him to be a wonderful, engaging individual who was always so interested in my work and thoughts. He was a positive force and his great smile will be missed. May his journey to the spirit world be a loving and gentle one. Sending condolences to his friends and especially his family. - Posted by: Marlyn Bennett (Friend) on: Mar 01, 2019

  • One of the nicest human beings I have ever met. My Condolences to his family. - Posted by: Jon Anthony (friend) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • Even as a young boy, Sonny Boy could chear up the gloomiest room with his colgate smile and teasing laugh. His character, dedication and charisma were his blessed gifts that won him admiration from everyone. Indeed, they were such an integral part of his recent achievements with the Day School Program. Many countless lawyers, Chiefs, indeed Prime Ministers could not achieve what this young man from Lake Man has. We can all be "so proud" of our "Sonny Boy". Ageeobaminn Neejoginn ~ "Until We Meet Again" Sincerest Condolences and Love to our friends, the McLean family. signed, Chip - Posted by: Linden Johnson (friend since childhood) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • Dear Kristin and Mckenna, So very sad to read about your Dad's passing. Please accept my sincere condolences. May you find comfort in all the wonderful memories - now and in the future. Susan Leeson - Posted by: Susan Leeson (Friend) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • Meegwetch for the time you had with us here. - Posted by: bonnieThompson (friend) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • Very sad to learn of Garry's passing, had only known Garry for about the past 5 years as a former Mayor In West St. Paul, I had the opportunity to become friends with and work with Garry through his work with the Southern Chiefs Organization. Incredible man always trying to make the world a better place, I am grateful for our friendship. May god bless you and your family at this most difficult time. - Posted by: Bruce Henley (Friend) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • Garry was our brother-in-law, our NEETAH. I first met Garry Mclean and his family over 40 years ago at Dog Creek (Lake Manitoba First Nation), where my sister, the late Debbie Simpson, was a school teacher at the Lake Manitoba School. TRANSCONA MEETS DOG CREEK> Debbie had started dating Garry, who was a Band Councillor at the time. Debbie and Garry were married and lived at Lake Manitoba until after the birth of their only child, their daughter Kristin. I always enjoyed going up to the "REZ" to visit and found Garry's friends and family to be welcoming and friendly. I liked Garry the first time I met him and I will miss his hearty laugh and big smile and his gentle nature. Garry was kind and generous with all the kids and "NO" was not in his vocabulary. Garry, Kristin and I were there together when my sister Debbie passed away in 2000, and I know he loved my sister very much. The SIMPSON Family will miss him very much especially at holiday time. Garry should be held in high esteem for all time by ALL CANADIANS for the work he did on the Residential Schools issues on behalf of First Nations peoples of our Country. We will miss you Garry. - Posted by: Gary and Adrienne Simpson (Brother/sister-in-law) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • The kitchen will never be the same with all your cooking Garry, the random visits to the fridge but most the random flowers and chocolates only for you to eat than say you still have the flowers. Hi was so proud of you Kristin and Kenna Papa was so taken by your giggles, Garry loved both of you more than you'll ever no. - Posted by: Eunice Woodhouse (Friend ) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • My sincere condolences to the families. Gary and I go back many years. Where ever I travel in my trade Gary was there. When I would walk in I could hear his laughter. That would always enjoy and make my day. I will really miss him. My condolences Raymond Berard. - Posted by: Raymond Berard (Friend) on: Feb 28, 2019

  • That SMILE! I had the honour of knowing Garry in his role of advisor and respected Elder. No matter the subject or the issue Garry brought his warm and kind way of being to the table and of course, that SMILE! - Posted by: Carmen Nedohin (Friends) on: Feb 28, 2019

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