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McLELLAN, Reverend Gregory

May 23, 1923 – Jan 30, 2013

It is with sadness that we mourn the loss of our dear brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many, Reverend Gregory McLellan.

He was born May 23, 1923, in Deepdale, Inverness Co, NS and was the eldest son of thirteen children to John Daniel and Margaret (nee Armstrong) McLellan. In his early years, Greg was well known in Calgary for his expert playing of baseball with the Purity 99 Baseball Team. This team played home games in Buffalo Stadium. Greg pounded the ball over the centre field fence – 400′ – from home plate many times. He was offered a try-out contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, however, turned them down as his mind was set on becoming a Catholic Priest. For part time jobs, he worked at the Calgary Brewery and underground at the coal mine in Nacmine. (near Drumheller). Greg was ordained April 2, 1949 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Drumheller by Bishop Carroll. As a young Priest in Calgary he covered the city on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. He was known, at that time, as the “Speedy Priest” with God on his side!! He was a true Calgarian and wore his boots proudly and comfortably everywhere he went, including mass on Sunday’s. He touched the lives of many people stretching the boarders of our province to all parts of Canada and other parts of the world from mentoring young priests to embracing all parishioners from all cultures. He would learn their languages and enjoy their food and friendship. Like his golf swing that was slow precise and planned, his life was not hurried or careless. It too was precise, planned and on target. Father Greg had many appointments in Alberta: Sacred Heart, Calgary, 1949-54, St. Patrick’s, Medicine Hat, 1954-55, St. Theresa’s, Cardston, 1955-56, St. Ambrose, Coaldale, 1956 and St. Patrick’s, Medicine Hat, 1967-72, St. Gerard’s, Calgary 1972-74, Holy Spirit, Calgary, 1974-81, St. James, Okotoks, 1981-87 and Holy Redeemer, Calgary, 1987-98 (very dear to his heart). He went back to full time work after formally retiring in 1998 with appointments at: Our Lady of Fatima; Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Sisters of The Precious Blood as well as saying mass for the retirement residences of Spruce Lodge, George Boyack Nursing Home and a senior residence complex Wilkinson House where he lived until a fire forced him to move. He then concelebrated mass at Holy Trinity where he lived at the rectory. His final journey took him to the Father Lacombe Centre where he shared a room with Father Denis Fleming until his passing.

Father Greg was also a founding member and Charter President (the first for the club) with Rotary Club of Calgary Chinook. He has been a life (honorary) member since March 14, 1977. Prior to establishing the Calgary club he was a member in Medicine Hat and in Coaldale. He attended the Rotary International conference in the 70’s that was held in Rome. He was a Paul Harris Fellow (supported the Rotary Foundation financially).

A bursary is being placed in his name and that of the club for St. Mary’s University in recognition of all the work he did in establishing the club. He was the consummate coach, in Rotary, in sports and in life!

Father Greg was predeceased by his loving Mother (Margaret) and Father (J.D.); his brothers Cyril (Rose), and Frank (Joyce); and his sisters, Isabel (John Shouwenburg), Teresa (Bob Trentham), Mary (Tom Fletcher), Patricia (Andrew Janisko), and Dorothy McLellan. He is survived by his brothers Tony (Maxine of Ontario), Johnny (Shirley of Lethbridge), Charles (Mary of Bragg Creek) and Leonard (Josie of Calgary) and his youngest sister Catherine (Rick Thomson of Red Deer) as well as many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Mary’s Cathedral (219 – 18th Avenue S.W.) on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. Funeral Mass will be concelebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral (219 – 18th Avenue S.W.) on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. with the Most Rev. Frederick B. Henry, D.D. and the Rev. John A. Bastigal, Presiders. Graveside Service to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Father Lacombe Care Centre – New Priest Wing, 332 – 146th Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB T2X 2A3 or to your favourite sports charity.

In living memory of Rev. Gregory McLellan, 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. brenda gramblicka :

    Father Greg was a great priest. I enjoyed his homilies immensely. He will be sorely missed but what an awesome eventful life he lived. I will remember him in my prayers.

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  2. Ed & Margaret Heslop :

    Our sincerest condolences and prayers for the family of Fr. Greg McLellan.
    He touched our lives for over 40 years.
    I remember him telling me long ago how “patience” was the virtue he worked so hard on. I remember thinking, then and still do, that he was probably the most patient man I had ever met. He will be remembered for a long time for his pious, gentle and intellectual manner. We are sad that we will be unable to attend his funeral.

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  3. Carol and Larry Ryder :

    We were deeply saddened at the passing of “Father Greg”. Larry was a founding member of the Rotary Chinook Club at the Tradewinds that he also managed and we enjoyed many discussions over coffee during those years.
    Father Greg was especially wonderful to my late Mother at two crucial times in her life as a lapsed Catholic in making her come back to her faith in comfort when she faced cancer.
    We chuckled over the Rotary Convention in Rome as he was especially excited as it had 3 world class golf courses he wanted to visit along with the Vatican.
    He loved his congregants and working with youth in sports and was a dear humble servant of God and to all who knew him.
    He has left his mark on many lives and memories and has truly earned his rest in Heaven.
    Our deepest condolences to his family.
    Carol and Larry Ryder

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  4. Denise MacLellan :

    Met Fr. Greg in Medicine Hat during my High School years. Only now discovered that he was born in Cape Breton where I now live. An amazing man!

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  5. Joanne Smolka :

    I grew up close to Holy Redeemer church and went with my family to church most Sundays and sometimes during the week with my Oma. Father Greg was a great priest and mentor. I had the pleasure as a young girl of doing some readings for him during mass. Father Greg was very patient and laid back, and I love how he would sometimes do a speedy sermon if he saw that the kids were getting restless, or if there was a sports game on tv he didn’t want to miss. And who could forget those cowboy boots of his!
    It was really sad that Holy Redeemer had to close. I didn’t see him much after that, and church was never quite the same again for me. He will be sorely missed. My condolences.

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  6. Father Greg married my husband and I 24 years ago. We loved his laid back manner and he made our day special. What a great priest he will be missed.

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  7. Father Greg baptized our twin boys at Holy Redemeer in 1994. He was a kind and fun priest. Very laid back. His sermons were very always enjoyable. We will always remember him in his cowboy boots. You are sady missed and always thought of. Our condolences to his family.
    Phil, Colette, Emily, Michael And Daniel

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  8. Michael and Caron Stewart :

    Father Greg was very special and a dear friend of the Stewart family in Okotoks. We lived beside St. James and our mother Gerry was a very devout Catholic and protector of the original St. James church. Father Greg and my Dad (Don) became good friends notwithstanding that Dad was not Catholic or a churchgoer. Father Greg saw beyond that and was kind enough to say a funeral mass when Dad died. Father Greg married Caron and I at St. Mary’s and baptized our two boys at Holy Redeemer. You could tell that he was really doing God’s work at Holy Redeemer and was making a difference in the growing community that Holy Redeemer served. From my perspective, Father Greg emulated what being a priest should be about. He made a positive and lasting impact on many and will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.
    We will be making a donation to the Father Lacombe Care Centre.

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  9. Natalie Morris :

    Writing from NS – we were very sad to hear of Fr Greg’s passing. I first met Fr Greg when he had visited Cape Breton, spending time with his Aunts Aggie (my grandmother) and Dolly. His examples of selflessness, friendship, charity and passion for life made a strong and lasting impression on myself as a young person. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McLellan family at this time.

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  10. My condolences to Fr. Greg’s relations and especially to Charles with whom I had shared classes at St. Joseph’s. I am saddened by the passing of a great priest.

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  11. Cathy Zinkhofer (nee Horvath) :

    Fr. McLellan consoled our family over 40 years ago with our brother’s funeral mass in Coaldale, and then again when he invited my older brother and me for dinner in Medicine Hat. As he baptized most of us, was there for all of our childhood sacrements, and was the only parish priest I knew until age 11, we missed him greatly upon his departure from Coaldale. I did not then appreciate how very many people he helped and positively affected on a personal level.
    Condolences, and thanks to his family for sharing so many wonderful memories of Fr. Mac.

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