Stories

Discover how donors and charities impact the lives of people in Southwestern Alberta.

Alistair McLennan

Alistair McLennan "Mac" Harvey

For Mac Harvey, life was an adventure. An avid outdoorsman and world traveler, he maintained an active lifestyle and travelled extensively into his 70s. His travels took him through Europe, the northern U.S.A., Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and across Canada.

Mac’s love of adventure included skiing, sailing, trekking, cycling, and mountaineering. He was a member of the Chinook Outdoor Club, where he met Geoff Bradshaw on a hiking trip to Chief Mountain. The two discovered they’d attended the same grammar school in northern England and became fast friends.

“Mac was always more interested in what you had done and where you had been,” remembers Bradshaw. “It was only through these conversations that you would find out all of these amazing things about him.”

In his professional life, Mac specialized in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics. He took an early retirement from his position as Regional Economist for Alberta Agriculture to “see how the 90% of the less fortunate of the world manage to survive.” This was when he discovered a passion for giving back.

He began accepting occasional overseas consulting jobs and short term project work with CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization). He described this work as fulfilling and that it “aroused a new respect for others, a wider outlook on life and an appreciation for the blessings of good health.”

He also continued to travel for pleasure, making new friends along the way. In a holiday letter to friends, he recounted his adventures and dubbed it “yet another year of a charmed life.”

“The journey, fellow travellers, chance encounters, fortuitous events and new friends en route, all reward more than the final destination,” he wrote.

Sadly, after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2008, Mac’s world changed. He was no longer able to safely go outside of his residence, let alone travel the world and maintain his level of activity. Bradshaw continued to visit Mac on a regular basis, until his passing in February 2014.

Mac left a gift through life insurance to the Community Foundation—a generous act of lasting support for the causes about which he felt passionate. His gift became part of the Community Priorities Fund, supporting the Community Foundation’s largest, unrestricted, granting program. Through his generosity, Mac’s passion for his community will live on forever.