Former Oak Bay police Sgt. Dan McLean could never sit still and wasn’t going to let an annoying thing like cancer change that.
One week before he died at 62 on Nov. 5, he met many visitors at his Oak Bay home, never turning anyone away due to fatigue from the illness. One of those visits saw Mayor Nils Jensen and members of the Oak Bay police present him with a Chief Constable’s Commendation. Another brought out a very determined McLean, who wanted to go out with friends for a beer.
“He said, ‘I want to go out and have a pint, I’m going out,’” said McLean’s wife of 32 years, Barbara. “It was so hard for him to do it, but he said, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and he did.”
McLean was born in Cranbrook and graduated high school in 100 Mile House. He studied political science in Edmonton then took a year off to travel through Central and South America.
He joined the Edmonton police in 1980 and was hired in Oak Bay in 1986, retiring in 2007. In those 21 years, he was active in the community. A huge baseball fan, he coached at various levels and served a stint as president of Oak Bay Little League. He also volunteered with Oak Bay Kiwanis and organized a collection of baseball equipment from around the region for children in Nicaragua.
Oak Bay police Deputy Chief Kent Thom said McLean really cared about the community and his fellow officers.
After he retired, McLean stopped by the police station and asked Thom if he had had his prostate and colon checked. When Thom responded no, McLean, who had just beat prostate cancer, insisted he get it done, explaining why and the importance of early detection.
“He left quite an impact on the people he met,” Thom said. “He’s probably one of best-liked police officers we’ve had.”
McLean was diagnosed with liver cancer shortly after his prostate episode. During his long battle with cancer, he wrote a book about the history of the Oak Bay police and taught himself Italian.
McLean is also survived by his children Jimmy and Coralie. A celebration of life will be held Saturday (Nov. 16) at Windsor Pavilion at 1:30 p.m.