Monday, June 1, 2020

Remembering Jim McLean

James J. McLean MD, Western Mountains Senior College member and teacher, beloved husband of fellow member RoseMary McLean, and father of WMSC presenter Attorney Martha McLean, died at his home on May 23.
 

Jim began his medical career when he established a private practice in internal medicine in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. He later became both an educator and administrator in full-time hospital-based roles in New York, Pennsylvania, and Saudi Arabia. He served as Director of Internal Medicine, Chief of the Residency programs, and Director of the Hemodialysis programs. Dr. McLean was Board certified in Internal Medicine, a Diplomat, and a Fellow of the American College of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Many of us at WMSC fondly remember Jim’s Medical Grand Rounds lectures and his performances with the Senior College Players.

Scott Hynek speaks of Medical Grand Rounds. “Jim always gave you the sense that he was paying full attention to you, though you knew that his considerable intellect permitted his timesharing your concerns with others. His Senior College presentations of mock Grand Rounds gave the clear sense that the real ones were an exercise of great benefit both to the patient and to those attending. I always came away from these presentations wishing I were more conversant in medical matters. Best $5 that I ever spent.”

Rosabelle Tifft says “My memories of Jim McLean center around his humorous antics in several Senior College Plays where we both served as radio theater narrators. One favorite concerned the Senior College Players 10th Anniversary Play written and directed by Ross Timberlake. The entire cast participated in the “WMSC Radio Theater” - destined to change to a live TV show. Jim and I would become the TV anchors and had comical quips about being on ‘live TV.’ Jim had great fun ad-libbing in that play. His humor was evident in other plays over the years. The cast always looked forward to seeing him ‘in action.’ He will be missed by all of us who knew and loved him.”
 

And fellow actor Jack Kuchta says, “I knew Jim as a Senior Player. When we moved to Maine in 2013, Ross Timberlake conned me into joining Senior Players and cast me in the lead of one of the plays. Jim had a small part as the doctor who declared the victim dead. His character then was to sit on stage while the detective solved the case and arrested the murderer and the cast gasped at his brilliance. During rehearsal, Jim played that role. But the night of the show, he couldn’t resist a little ‘ad-libbing.’ Sitting during the finale, he opened his medical bag and got the little reflex hammer and tested his own reflexes with wild result. (I think he kicked Lorrie.) The audience laughed. That encouraged him to do more. It seems everyone in the cast except me knew that Jim would do something like this. Jim loved to do the unexpected just for a laugh. Whether it was a stunt or an added line, Jim always knew how to make the audience laugh. We will all miss those laughs.”
 

Indeed we will all miss those laughs. Donations in Jim McLean’s honor can be made to the Bethel Food Pantry and mailed to Bethel Area District Exchange P.O. Box 232 Bethel, ME 04217.

Jim McLean with his doctor's bag (and Rosabelle Tifft, Mark Antell and Lorrie Hoeh)