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Honoured Member Annabelle McLean Passes Away

MCLEAN, Annabelle Addie January 2, 1935 – Vulcan, Alberta May 24, 2021 – Calgary, Alberta

With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Annabelle McLean, our loving and devoted mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, on May 24, 2021, at the age of 86 years young.

Born in Vulcan, the family moved to Okotoks when Annabelle was three. Everyone excelled in their favourite sports, and Annabelle was no exception. She had a great love for skating, but track and field beckoned, and there were many highlights over her eight-year career. With the support of her family, coaches, and the town of Okotoks, she went on to earn six provincial titles, three national titles, broke two Canadian records, and won a bronze medal at the 1954 Commonwealth Games. In 1960, Annabelle became the first female athlete to be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Busy as she was breaking records on the field and establishing a new teaching career, she was able to carve out time to spend on her budding romance with Robert ‘Bob’ McLean. They were married in 1957, moved to Saskatchewan, and started a family. During this time, they developed many life-long friendships through various work and sporting groups. Even though the marriage did not last, they remained friends until Bob’s death in 2009. He was happy to be ‘home’ as Annabelle helped to care for him in his last months. Upon returning to Alberta, Annabelle was eager to provide more sporting opportunities for her children. She became heavily involved in the figure skating and hockey communities, once again forging strong relationships along the way. Annabelle lived a huge life and filled it with the best people wherever she ended up. She would always lend a hand and open her door to anyone in need.

Annabelle was proud of her academic achievements and went to extraordinary lengths to further her education. To fulfill her dream of obtaining a university degree, she attended many night, summer, and correspondence courses, while working full-time and raising her children. She never tired of teaching and was thrilled to share her love of all things academic with her students. Over the years, many of those students expressed the love of learning was instilled in them by ‘Mrs. McLean’. Her retirement from teaching was bittersweet as she longed to work on her golf game and travel the world but would deeply miss her ‘kids’ and the friends she had made in the school district.

However, there were countries to visit and handicaps to lower! Annabelle set off to safari around Africa, brush noses with Polar Bears in Manitoba, and joined a ‘young person’s’ tour bus in Australia and New Zealand. It made no difference that Anna was in her 60s; the kids on the bus thought she was the bee’s knees.

Through it all, Annabelle was steadfast in her commitment to her faith. She adored her Wild Rose United family and could always be found volunteering somewhere in the church, especially to ensure that everyone was well caffeinated and enjoyed a treat after the sermon. She genuinely enjoyed her time on the Women’s Retreats and cemented many lasting friendships. Later in life, she loved attending church study groups to feed her zest for learning. She was never one to shy away from asking the hard questions and could always be counted on to crack a joke.

She is lovingly remembered by her children, Peggy Proudfoot and former spouse Darryl, Bill McLean and wife Nyree, and Wendy McLean and partner John Fawcett; her eldest brother Jim and his wife Shirley, who quickly became the sister she longed for after growing up in a house of boys; and dear sisters-in-law Nancy and Tanis, whom she loved as much as the brothers who brought them into the Murray clan. She was the cherished Nana/Grandma to Jennifer Proudfoot, Jocelyn Proudfoot, and Anthony McLean; the favourite Auntie Anna to Allan Murray (Renae Koch), Danny Murray (Michele), Kelly Murray (Dan Finlayson), Steph Murray-Sinclair (Cam), and Rachel Murray (Clint); and the tickled Great-Auntie to the next Murray generation in James, Jesse, Spencer, Norman, and Mackenzie.

Annabelle was predeceased by her ex-husband and friend Robert McLean, parents, Alan and Belle Murray; and younger brothers, Norman and Donald Murray.

Annabelle felt truly fortunate to have a phonebook full of cousins with whom she always stayed in touch with and enjoyed many a ‘Cousin Luncheon’. There are also countless new and lifelong friends who may as well have been family. She was truly a friend to all and will be loved and missed forever by those who knew her.

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