Norris McLean

Edmonton Journal – November 2, 2009

Beloved broadcaster best known for his warmth
By Cigdem Iltan
Life & Time, page A8

Even when a group of farmers cornered former CFRN announcer and weatherman Norris McLean at a wedding to interrogate him on his not always accurate forecasts, Mr. McLean’s trademark warm, ready smile never waned.

Norris Alexander McLean died on Oct. 4 after complications caused by a brain tumour. He was 76.

Mr. McLean first displayed interest in broadcasting as a high school student in Penticton, B.C., where he took elocution and voice production classes. He began his broadcasting career at CKOK radio in Penticton after he graduated.

Mr. McLean later worked as a top 40 DJ for CKWX in his birthplace of Vancouver, and eventually made the switch to television in Prince George. He moved to Edmonton in 1963 to work for CFRN, and stayed at the station until the early 1980s when he worked for ITV until his retirement in 1993.

Friends and family will best remember Mr. McLean for his kindness, consideration and acceptance for people from all walks of life, his wife Mary McLean said.

“If he saw you sitting alone at a party, he would go over and talk to you and say, ‘Maybe you could join us.’ He was very sensitive and very attuned to people,” she said.

Mr. McLean’s gentlemanly ways extended to his relationship with Mary, who said they had a “marriage made in heaven”: the couple had a total of one argument in their 47 years together.

“He was just a good person, I don’t know of any bad traits. He revered his family and it seems like a fairy tale story.

“All our friends all through life have said what a match we were,” she said.

Mr. McLean had a wealth of interests, ranging from food and wine to photography and flying. He read the newspaper from cover to cover every day and loved keeping up with current events and debating, said longtime friend Moira Sacks.

“He was somebody who enjoyed doing different things and was widely read and had a lot of knowledge in a lot of diverse areas,” Sacks said.

Mr. McLean injected passion into everything he did, she said.

“If you went out for a meal and if something was presented and it looked good, you knew he would express how he saw the presentation, and when he tasted it you would know from his expressive vocabulary and his face that this was good,” Sacks said.

Mr. McLean looked forward to attending special events wearing his national formal dress, and fondly referred to his kilt as his “skirt.” He chose the material for the kilt on a trip to Scotland with Mary, one of countless trips the couple took around the world, Mary said. They often took their son Barton out of school as a young child for a couple of weeks every year to travel, she said.

Edmonton audiences will remember Mr. McLean as an impressive-looking man at 6-foot-4-inches with a rich speaking voice, but his physical impression comes second to his warm and tender personality, Sacks said. “He was just a very congenial man, he was just very popular. It seemed everywhere he went they loved him,” Mary said.


MCLEAN, Norris Alexander June 5, 1933 – October 4, 2009. On October 4, 2009, Norris passed away peacefully with his family by his side. Norris leaves his loving wife of 47 years, Mary; son, A. Barton (Donna) McLean; and three grandchildren: Carson, Cierra, and Savannah. He leaves a brother-in-law (John); sisters-in-law (Hilma, Lillia, Anne, Yvonne), nieces, nephews, and other relatives. The family would like to thank Dr. H. Sacks and the entire staff of 9Y Edmonton General for the special care during Norris’ final days. Visitations will be held on Thursday, October 8, 2009 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home (10011 – 114 Street, Edmonton). Funeral Service will take place on Friday, October 9, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at Robertson-Wesley United Church (10209 – 123 Street, Edmonton) with entombment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edmonton General Hospital, Unit 9Y. Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes Downtown Chapel (780) 422-2222 Over 100 Years of Service
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