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McLACHLIN, Herbert (Herb) John

August 18, 1923 – March 10, 2013

Herb McLachlin passed away on March 10, 2013 at age 89. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Aletha; sons, Ron (Laurie) and Gord; daughters, Audrey (Don) Newhouse, Barb (Jerry) Williams and Donna (Paul) Giroux; and eight grandchildren (Geoff, Kelly, Jon, Kate, Ashley, Craig, Courtney and Blake). He was predeceased by his granddaughter, Sheila.
Herb was born in Edmonton and joined the RCAF in 1942 after graduating high school. After WWII, he obtained his Bachelor of Physical Education from McGill University and, ultimately, his PhD from the University of Oregon.
Herb was one of four original professors at the University of Alberta Department of Physical Education having been recruited in 1948. He culminated his career, in 1983, as only the second dean in the history of the Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation. He was chairman of the committee that first proposed establishing Reading Week.
Beyond teaching and coaching at the university, Herb was active in many areas of sport. He was a top-rated basketball official and founded the Edmonton & Alberta Officials Associations. He promoted track and field athletics as a member or chair of provincial and national organizations. He was active in the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance serving as the National President in 1979. He was the official statistician for the Edmonton Eskimos for over 50 years and continued to sit in the press box for all home games, until his move to Calgary in 2011. Herb served on boards to bring the Commonwealth Games, World University Games and Canadian Games for the Physically Disabled to Edmonton. In 1999, he was inducted into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame and in 2004 into the University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame.
After retirement, he continued at the U of A as Professor Emeritus, worked on getting the new Alberta Sports Hall of Fame built, spent many hours at the Phys Ed fitness centre, enjoyed entertaining family and friends at the U of A Faculty Club, and played many rounds of golf at the Highlands Golf Club.
Herb has requested that there be no funeral service. The family will gather, at a later date, to share stories and remember a wonderful man and his happy, successful life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your favourite charity. Condolences may be forwarded through
In living memory of Herb McLachlin, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Pat and Liz Dawson :

    There are so many words that could express the gratitude we owe Herb. In simple terms, if our life styles needed a Board of Directors, Herb would be the Chairperson. We both learned so much from Herb and, along with Al and the family, it was such a joy to include the McLachlins as part of our closest friends. Pat and Liz Dawson

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  2. Karen Dawson :

    Sending love to you all. Whenever Herb’s name is mentioned, eyes sparkle. What a remarkable fellow.

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  3. Larry George :

    Dr. McLachlin was indeed one of my favorite mentors while at University as well as after that time within the local CAHPER branch. A devilish sense of humor, a wonderful smile, and source of much information to a young teacher starting out in a teaching/coaching career, and life in general.
    Please accept my condolences.

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  4. Dear Al and family: I got my start in basketball through 2 of my teachers, Arnold Henderson and Clare Hollingsworth, at McDougall Commercial High School, in 1948. In 1949 I officiated my f1rst game, with Don Smith in Clare’s high school girls’ night league. Arnold was my first, and best coach. In the 1950s I got into organizing mens’leagues, and refereeing to cover costs of my sponsorship of team/s. The Officials’ Association had only about a dozen men. Meetings were very loosely organized affairs. With the increase in big high schools came the need for more men. In 1959 I was elected President of a re-organized EBOA. Other basketball pressures forced me to leave EBOA in 1960. I was also a member of the Edmonton Football Officials Association in the 1950s. In 1958, at a meeting with Herb in the old Drill Hall, a phone call to him, from the Eskimos, resulted in me becoming their play-by-play man for 31 years, which also included two years as CFL statistician after Herb retired from that post. Herb and I kept in contact many times over the years, including a few of his March visits to Victoria a few years ago. I was inducted into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, largely on the efforts of Herb, and at a reception I had, I presented Herb with a token of my thanks as one of the 3 men who most influenced my life. I will miss him greatly. Bob (he used to call me “Rapid Robert”) Davies. p.s. I meet Art Kruger and Martin Battle on Fridays, and I am sure word of Herb’s passing will sadden them also.

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  5. Barbara Augustin :

    My father, Maurice Allen, who passed away in 2009 was a long time friend of Dr. McLachlin and spent many years officiating basketball with him and stats keeping at the Edmonton Eskimo football games. And I remember as a little girl often meeting Dr. McLachlin with my Dad. We are truly sorry for your loss. May you always treasure his memory and share often, stories and memories together.
    Barbara & Paul Augustin

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  6. Dr. McLachlin was a professor of mine from 1965 to 1969. He sat on my Masters thesis committee. He was an outstanding teacher and mentor to me and a wonderful friend. I shall treasure my memory of him. He was an Inglewood boy like myself. I extend my condolences to his family and his dear friends. Herb shall be missed but fondly remembered by all who knew him. He truly was a “Prince” of a man.

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  7. David Jamieson :

    I am truly fortunate to have spent many nights in the press box at Commonwealth Stadium working alongside Herb. Kind and gracious to a fault, Herb was a person you always enjoyed seeing and chatting with. His was a life very well lived.

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  8. Marjorie Dibblee :

    Heartfelt Sympathy from Allan and Marjorie to all the McLachlin family. He came to several B.SC PE reunions at McGill where we could see classmates of 1948. Always enjoyed his sense of humour and our meetings in EDMONTON when we were there 1956-64 with C.I.L.and Interprovincial PL.


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  9. Walter Mingie :

    To the Family of Herb McLauchlin: So sorry to hear of Herb’s passing. He faithfully attended our Phys.Ed ’48 reunions, and greatly added to the fun of the get togethers. Walter

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  10. Linda Thompson :

    I remember Dr. McLachlin as a strong supporter of physical education teachers and also as a long time member of CAHPERD. I admired his long time service in all aspects of his professional career.

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  11. My sympathies Aletha to you and your family. I so enjoyed seeing you both at many HPEC “past president” functions. I valued the opportunity to hear Herb’s stories, so appreciated both of your involvement at these events. Herb was such a contributor to the Physical Education in our province, the legacy is evident in many facets of our community and I will continue to remember his gentle spirit, inspiring stories and leadership. Sending hugs and sympathy. Val Olekshy

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  12. I first met Herb when the Phys Ed department consisted of Maury Van Vliet, Don Smith, Pat Austen, and Herb. I enjoyed knowing him – he was a ‘good guy’.
    Ed Trott

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  13. Dr. Donald M Newton :

    Herb was one of the original”three muskateers…Maury Van Vliet, Don Smith & Herb”. I first met the “THREE” when they came to Cardston to recruit me to play for the Bear’s basketball team. Herb was always upbeat and positive.We served together on CAHPERS’ Board of Directors. It was always a pleasure to visit with Herb and Al at professional gatherings. Herb lived a “charmed life”, always ending “on top”. I celebrate his life along with my condolences for his family.

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  14. Burt Demeriez :

    I first met Herb in 1956 in the P.E. office in the old Drill Hall. He made a small town boy from Cold Lake feel like,maybe,he belonged in the ‘big City’ and in particular the U.of A. One of his many gifts was how he made others feel like they had something to contribute; and, I thank Aletha and family for sharing him with his many students and ‘lifetime friends’. “His class” of ’58 remembers him with great affection! Our condolences to the family…..Burt and Deanna Demeriez

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  15. Bill and Laurie Johnson :

    Dear Al and family,

    We were so sad to hear of Herb”s passing. We have missed your presence here in Edmonton since you moved.Bill really misses the poker games at investment club where Herb’s friendship and humor were enjoyed by all including the wives who shared in the coffee time at the evenings end.

    Condolances to you Al and your family.

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  16. Dennis Kadatz :

    Dear Al and Family- Denise and I were both saddened to learn of Herb’s passing. Herb, was one of my favourite persons, in addition to being a great prof and mentor in my U of A days. Kindest regards, Dennis Kadatz, Calgary (via Palm Springs).

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  17. Doris and Ole Myhre :

    Dear Al: We were sorry to read in the Edmonton Journal of Herb’s passing. We remember Herb (and you Al) as friendly and fun people to be around. We send our deepest sympathy to you and your family in the loss of a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.

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  18. Blair and Linda Temple :

    We had the pleasure of meeting Herb a few times and always found him good company. What a great sense of humor and warm smile he had. We actually did not know of many of his accomplishments until we reviewed the obit. Aletha, Gord and family you must be very proud. We hope your memories of his long and worthy life provide some comfort in this difficult time. Our thoughts are with you.

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  19. Don Williams :

    Herb was an instructor at Recreation Leadership school in 1954 and 1955 where I met him at 18 years old. We continued a relationship at the U of A, at HPEC and CAHPERD over the years. We shared many good times. I was sorry to hear of his passing. Don Williams

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  20. Donna McElligott :

    While I did not know Dr. McLachlin, I have benefited from the many wonderful things he did in his rich life. I am so grateful to him for the difference he has made in this world. And I am grateful for his fine family. Donna, my thoughts are with you and your family as you remember your Dad.

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  21. Scott Smith and Family :

    A long time friend of my parents (Gwen & Don), Uncle Herb always had a joke to tell. He had a great sense of humour and I know my dad enjoyed working with him for many years at the UofA. Our condolences to Al and family.

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