It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of a wonderful colleague and friend, Jim McLean, who passed away on Sunday after a 16 month battle with cancer. Jim's wife Rilla has been an active member of the Port Hastings Historical Society for many years and so once he retired, he was recruited. At special events he could be seen with a camera hanging around his neck, quietly documenting the goings-on. Having worked with computers and databases for much of his career, he found a natural fit with the Passage Project and took over its administration at the Port Hastings Museum & Archives.
Jim has been a member of the Passage Steering Committee (now the IT & Collections Management Advisory Committee) for the past two years. In addition to serving as our Cape Breton representative, Jim was our technical expert. Whenever any questions came up about the database system or how we should move forward, he was there with an answer. He was the instigator for our most recent system updates, and was looking forward to helping develop our new database system.
When Richard and I first met Jim in 2007 we were surprised and very impressed with how much he knew about computers and databases. Jim was such a fount of knowledge that we knew he would make a great addition to the committee. He understood the importance of having good information in-house, as well as sharing the museum's information with the general public. Not only did he come to the table with great ideas, but he wrote several research documents for us on museum database systems. He made certain to do his homework before he would make any recommendations, but we found more often than not that his many years of database experience with Stora enabled him to answer whatever questions we threw at him.
When he first called to tell me about the cancer diagnosis, Jim didn't seem that concerned. He assured me that everything would be fine and he didn't want or need to step down from the committee. Even though he was undergoing treatments he would Skype in to meetings and made sure to provide input on various initiatives. He even attended a dinner meeting in April when we were in Port Hawkesbury for the conference. Jim remained positive and maintained his sense of humour throughout his ordeal.
On behalf of the IT & Collections Management Advisory Committee, and ANSM as a whole, I extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to Rilla and the rest of Jim's family and friends. He has definitely left a hole that can never be filled. We'll miss you Jim.