Alan McNair

May 17, 1947 - September 14, 2021

Funeral Details: Celebration of life to be held at a later time

Partner of Catharine Mercer, father to Drew (Lisa) and Craig (Michelle), grandfather to Jonah, Mina and Everleigh, died on the morning of September 14th, 2021.  He died suddenly and unexpectedly, following complications from a ruptured aneurysm.  He will be greatly missed by all of us, especially his surviving siblings Eric, Alex and Sheila, and his former wife Barb.

We will miss his sense of humour, his great capacity for argument—both for noble causes, and pointless ones—his bear hugs and most of all his great big heart.  As his favourite author Terry Pratchett once wrote “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”  May we, his ripples, continue on for him, leaving ripples of our own in our collective wakes.

A Celebration of Life announcement will follow at a later date.  In memory of Alan, please consider making a donation of blood to the Canadian Blood Services, 1-888-2DONATE.  Online memories and condolences to the family may be made at www.peacefultransition.ca

Peaceful Transition Simcoe

CONDOLENCES

42 Condolences
  • Mark Lyon
    Posted on: Friday, September 17, 2021 Reply

    I had the great pleasure of acting with Al in a couple of musicals. Al was a wonderful guy, a great baritone who teased folks and always had nice things to say.
    I am saddened by his passing.

  • Dianne Thompson
    Posted on: Friday, September 17, 2021 Reply

    As young families we shared many happy times with Al and Barb. Al was larger than life, a great golf companion and an Olympic class hugger. In whatever hereafter Al is in, the environmentalists have a new champion. The world will miss you and your larger than life presence.

    • Barbara Marshall
      Posted on: Sunday, September 19, 2021 Reply

      So true … thanks for Sharing Dianne!

    • Erik Augustson
      Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

      I have such fond childhood memories of spending time with the McNair’s; movie nights and sleepovers, baseball games, evening get-together’s. The first (and last) time I watched Barbarella was at their house. The movie was forgettable, but the night wasn’t. Allan was larger than life and made his presence known, but in a sweet and reserved way. My heartfelt condolences to the McNair’s and everyone who was lucky enough to know Allan.

  • The Weatherston’s
    Posted on: Saturday, September 18, 2021 Reply

    Dear Cathy and family,
    We were saddened to hear of Al’s passing. Nick and I
    recall the happy vacations at the cottage on PEI. I remember Al’s keen interest in his surroundings there from the plants by the roadside to a lobster dinner.Loved the mattress that he carried with him on the plane!! 😀
    We both extend our love and deepest sympathy to you all.
    Tick & Nick xoxo💐💞

  • Brian Lowe
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    It is with a heavy heart we say our final farewells to our “Uncle” Al.
    A true tree hugger – and we have the pictures to prove it.

    If you ever had the pleasure of finding yourself in nature with Al, you would know his knowledge was truly boundless.
    We will forever remember his day trips, such as to see John the Farmer, where we learned about collecting and making maple syrup, or to the weekend farmer’s market where Al knew absolutely everyone.

    Al spent an untold number of hours and days helping our mother, whether it was trips to the doctor or to have her hearing aids serviced.
    We never had the chance to sincerely say – thank you for everything you did!

    It would be fitting if Al’s ashes were spread over Kempenfelt Bay, where he could keep watch over his loved ones and his beloved City of Barrie.

  • Myrna Clark
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    To the family :
    Al will be missed by many. He has been a large part of making Barrie a good place to be. both the city and the wild areas that surround us.
    best love
    Myrna

  • Keenan Aylwin
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    Al gave so much to this city through his volunteer work. He was always so incredibly kind and caring.

    Thinking of the family and close friends who will also miss him dearly.

    Much love,

    Keenan

  • Abram Family
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    We were so fortunate to meet the McNair Family when our oldest children went to elementary together. You would never meet Al and not see that big genuine smile. Meeting Al in the grocery store after not having not seen him for quite a few years was no different than if I had seen him just last week. You always knew that he was genuinely glad to see you and catch up on life. Al travels with a piece of everyone’s heart in his pocket. RIP, You will be missed.

  • Heather Rutherford
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    Al will be missed by so many people for his kind heart, his enthusiasm, his ethics and love of life he openly shared with colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Whatever the topic, official plan, theater production or bird survey…his positive energy trapped everyone in his adventure of making the world a better place for us all.

  • Frances Laver
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    I knew the McNair family at Codrington School, Craig and Andrew attending that school for a time. Al did have a great smile and was always to friendly. In later years I would see him at naturalist events. Larger than life. My sympathy to Barb, the boys and their families. He will be missed.

  • Frances Laver
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    I knew the McNair family at Codrington School, Craig and Andrew attending that school for a time. Al did have a great smile and was always to friendly. In later years I would see him at naturalist events. Larger than life. My sympathy to Barb, the boys and their families. He will be missed.

  • Kristin Dibble Pechkovsky
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    As a fellow Planner, Environmentalist and Jane Jacob’s supporter, I will always remember Al’s Passion, Knowledge, Spirit and the skill to share his gifts with his peers. I really enjoyed working on projects with him over the years. He will be truly missed.

  • Andrea Miller
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    To Al’s Family and friends,
    On behalf of the many staff at the City of Barrie who worked closely with Al on many projects and important community issues (parks, forestry, development, planning policy, chimney swift’s, climate change, sustainability….the list goes on!!!) please accept our sincere condolences. Al brought passion and conviction to his dealings with the City. We are a better community because of his actions.
    I had the privilege to engage directly with Al as a fellow planner, and I will remember fondly our many long chats!
    Rest In Peace Al. Your legacy is not lost on the Barrie staff you touched over the years.
    Andrea

  • GORD CRAWFORD
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    At one time, I owned an audio store in Downtown Barrie where I was privileged to know Al as a client and visitor. My condolences to his family and circle of friends.

    Gord Crawford
    Audio Corner

  • Anne Arksey
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Al. We would meet every Saturday during the month of August at the Barrie Farmer’s Market while I sold Brown’s corn. I looked forward to seeing him each week as he usually sang to me! The first time he did it, it was a gorgeous day, and he broke into “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” I loved his singing, and he enjoyed singing! People often would come and comment about what a beautiful voice he had! It surprised me when I found out he just loved to sing, and did not have formal training, but really enjoyed folk singing. I will definitely miss him. My sincere sympathy to his family.

  • Sandy and Jamie Parker
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    We are sending our condolences and best wishes to the McNair family. We have wonderful memories of Al, Barb and the boys from the days when our kids were attending Codrington together. When we met over the following years Al always had a warm hug, smile, interest in our family and stories of his own. We know he will be missed by so many.

    Sandy, Jamie and Matthew Parker

  • Ann Truyens
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    So sorry to hear of Al’s passing..he will be greatly missed.
    Al was very special and had a wonderful personality that everyone admired.
    A true nature lover, his expertise and experience was so invaluable.
    To Al’s family – May God’s love and peace surround you at this difficult time.

  • Brad McCutcheon
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    Although I have not spoken to Al for many years I was lucky to be able to spend some time with him professionally. He was a strong, intelligent, very friendly man who will be deeply missed by the City of Barrie, the music world and by his Family. All my best to Craig, Michele, Drew, Barb, and the rest of the family.

    Brad and Tracy McCutcheon

  • Anastasia
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    Al’s kind and generous spirit had room for all. His passion for protecting nature and our environment could not be contained. His service to our community will leave an imprint for generations to come. I will miss that smile and the sparkle that touched his eyes. My condolences to the family. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Beth Foster
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    A giant has fallen! Al’s joy, musicality, love of nature and theatre, passion for community, adoration of Drew and Craig and Barb and their children, and knowledge of the intricacies of how to plan cities better, all have left a huge impact in Barrie. My final image of him is at the Barrie Farmer’s Market on a sunny Saturday, grinning, with a big bouquet of gladiolus that he was taking home to Catherine. Heartfelt condolences to the many who will feel this loss so deeply.

  • LeRoux Family
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    Our memories of our kids at Codrington definitely included the McNair family. Please accept our sincere condolences to a life lost too soon.
    Rick, Lou, Becky and Ben

  • Michelle Banfield
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    I was shocked and saddened to hear this news. He will be very missed. Al had so much to offer and so much to give and share. To his family, I am very sorry for your loss.
    Michelle Banfield

  • Alyssa Wright
    Posted on: Monday, September 20, 2021 Reply

    I remember meeting Al for the first time in… 2004, I think, at the Orillia Song Circle when he introduced himself with a big smile as “Alcapella”, before crooning out a Joni Mitchell cover (a capella, of course – although he would later often ask me to accompany him on cello). We shared lots of music and great (albeit often long, ha!) conversations over the years, as well as running into each other in musical theatre circles.

    It wasn’t until I moved to Barrie ten years later, that I realized how involved he was in the environmental, political and activist circles as well. Our paths intertwined through all those areas, and I came to know him as a lover of his community, loyal to his people and causes, and passionately working to make the world a better place, whether through art or activism (or both at the same time!).

    I’ll remember Al’s laugh, his singing, and his hugs the most – he will be greatly missed by us all.

  • Kathi Kelly
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    I am so sorry to Al’s family as they grieve the big presence of Al that is no longer with us. He and Barb did a strategic planning session for Hospice Simcoe before we built the residence and he was a presence at city events throughout the years. We last spoke about Hospice Simcoe in his driveway two weeks ago and he was proud and grateful for how Barrie has grown and retained it’s small town sensibility. I will miss knowing he is doing good for us all.

  • Sherry Diaz
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    I’m very saddened to learn of Al’s sudden passing. I’ve had the absolute pleasure to have known and worked with him for many years as members of the former Barrie Active Transportation Committee and the current Active Transportation and Sustainability Advisory Committee for the City of Barrie. A gentleman, Al was genuine and passionate and dedicated so much of himself to improve our community. He was always keen to support the initiatives of my team and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit overall. I will miss his smile and laughter, knowledge, experience, support and connection to community. Thank-you for all that you were and for caring so much. The ripple effect you created will carry on. Peace be with you and your family.

  • Wendy Loevenmark
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    My deepest condolences to the McNair family. I’ve had the pleasure of benefitting from Al’s environmental advocacy for the past 20 years on many municipal committees and initiatives related to park planning, including the development of The Gables Biological Inventory, the North Shore Trail Working Group, and the Active Transportation Working Group, not to mention his valuable comments on park master plans during public consultations. His steadfast, informed and good humoured presence always earned him respect and appreciation at our meetings. The many many hours he has donated to the good of Barrie cannot be counted. He will be sorely missed.

  • Patrick Voo
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    I was privileged enough to meet Al and share the stage with him during the musical “Spamalot” – he was such a generous and positive person to be around. Our love and condolences to everyone bound up in life with him.

  • Eric van Wesenbeeck
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    Our family was shocked and saddened to hear of Al’s passing. Our heartfelt condolences to Al’s family – our thoughts are with you. My mother and father (Jeanneke and Herman) knew Al for decades through my father’s work connection in land use planning. I got to know Al more recently as I worked with him on committee for the City of Barrie. He will be missed.

  • Melanie and Dave Pilling
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Reply

    We were so very sorry to hear of Al’s very sudden passing. In his final weeks we saw him to be quite essential to the comfort of all his loved ones. He offered strength and humour to people who were suffering. He was a kind and considerate man. Ever conscious of the feelings and happiness of the people around him. We are glad to have known him. Heartfelt sympathy for this huge loss to his loving family.
    Dave and Mel pilling

  • Lori Levere
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    We have lost a great man. I knew Al as a neighbour who always had time to chat and share what he knew. He was always so helpful and inclusive in any of the community meetings he and Catharine hosted to benefit our neighbourhood. He had a unique understanding of those people supporting people with special needs. I will miss him everytime I go out to water my new oak tree for which he took a keen interest. He supported my efforts to create an eco friendly drought friendly lawn as an alternative. Cory and I will always remember him. Heartfelt sympathy to his family and many friends.

  • Su Murdoch
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    It was a stroke of luck for me that Al was among the first people I met when moving to Barrie. He was an early advocate of integrating landuse planning with environmental protection and showed me by example how the same strategy could be applied to built heritage conservation. His name was always the first to mind for honest advice and a kind dose of encouragement when tackling challenging projects. His passing has left a void but his lifetime of achievements to the benefit of Barrie will endure.

  • Roslyn Fancy
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    We’re so saddened to hear of Al’s passing. Al was a very wise, upbeat, musical, informative, nature-loving man. We were neighbors and friends over the years – he will be greatly missed by us and so many. Our deepest condolences and love to Catharine and family.

    Roslyn, Austin and Spencer xo

  • Kathy Suggitt
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    My sincere condolences to Al’s family and loved ones. I always enjoyed working with Al over the years on planning projects.
    Al shared this quote with me a few years ago and we both felt that it should be the official mantra for all planners “I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” (Jana Stanfield)
    Al you gave us all the good that you could give in so many ways. Rest In Peace. You will be missed.

  • Kathy Suggitt
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    My sincere condolences to Al’s family and loved ones. I had the pleasure of working on many planning projects with Al over the past 20 years.
    Al shared this quote with me a while ago and we both thought it should be the mantra for all planners “I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” (Jana Stanfield)
    Al you did good. Rest In Peace.

  • Cheryle Russell
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 Reply

    I was lucky to be a neighbour of Al McNair. When my family moved to Mountbatten 5 years ago, Catharine and Al made us feel welcome. This neighbourliness grew into a friendship, an annual golf competition featuring Mountbatten North against Mountbatten South, patio trout dinners and cheering on the Blue Jays, but not the Leafs. Al had the good sense not to be a Leaf fan. Many people have mentioned Al’s love of musical theatre. For me, this was a special treat. Al and I would challenge each other to recite lyrics from popular and obscure musical gems. Al always won. I will remember an incredibly kind and thoughtful man. Al surprised me by picking me up at the airport in Manzanillo. I planned on taking a cab and there was Al, in the Arrival Area, waving enthusiastically. Unbelievably thoughtful, my own family would have made me take a cab. That same night, walking from the car to the condo, Al pointed to the sky and told me about the constellations shining down on us. Kindness and intelligence all wrapped up in a warm enveloping persona. This is my memory of Al McNair. Condolences to all who loved Al, his shoes will never be filled.

  • Cathy Webster
    Posted on: Sunday, September 26, 2021 Reply

    I was so saddened to hear of Al’s passing. I had the priviledge of knowing Al, first through our children for many seasons of Barrie minor baseball and later on with KCP. Little did I know how involved he was in every aspect of city life. He was such a caring, giving, selfless person with a larger than life personality. He always greeted you with that great smile of his and you knew his words were genuine. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and everyone his life has touched. He truly was an amazing man.

  • Ryan Windle
    Posted on: Monday, October 4, 2021 Reply

    It was a pleasure getting to know Al over my time at the City of Barrie. He was always respectful and exhibited a great passion for the planning world. My condolences to the family.

  • Janet Foster
    Posted on: Monday, October 4, 2021 Reply

    Hello Family of Al,

    I am a professional planner who worked for the City of Barrie for 16 years. I had the pleasure of working with Al on a number of projects and got to know him very well. He had a spirit, hard for him to stop talking about all of his passions, he had lots of energy!! I am very sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of Al! Take care.

  • Tony Usher
    Posted on: Monday, October 4, 2021 Reply

    I will greatly miss Al, whom I long knew and respected as a fellow planning consultant with similar environmental concerns. Not to mention an all-round and well-rounded good guy.

    “The system” and our frustrations with it were our frequent topics of discussion. But they didn’t keep Al from achieving a whole lot of environmental and social betterment for Barrie, in his enthusiastic, positive, and constructive way.

    My deepest sympathies to Al’s family.

  • Christopher Evans
    Posted on: Monday, October 4, 2021 Reply

    I send most compassionate condolences to all on this sudden loss of such a great human being. I especially send my love and compassion to Al’s family.

    Al had many gifts, and shared them freely, with grace and wisdom, and with all his “great big heart” for the benefit of all.

    I first met Al through the Brereton Field Naturalists Club, now known as Nature Barrie, and we soon became dear friends. His eloquent, effective and compassionate advocacy for Nature will be dearly missed. But the legacy of his effective conservation work will live on, and we will do our utmost to honour Al through our continued advocacy for Nature.

    We have been blessed with Al’s gifts in life, and “we, his ripples, continue on for him”.

    With Infinite Compassion, Love and Gratitude

    Chris Evans

  • Jan Merrick
    Posted on: Friday, October 8, 2021 Reply

    I would like to offer my sincere condolences to all the family and loved ones on the sudden loss of Al. He was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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