From An Tir Culturewiki
it is with heavy heart indeed that i pass on the news of the passing of jeff wilson / geoffrey maclean, as he has fallen in battle against the dread cancer.
i will miss him greatly. -dd HL Sylverstone the Traveller
Thoughts from a fellow Sergeant.
He was a fighter - a Sergeant - a Squire.
He was a lover - you saw it in his eyes when he looked at Patti.
He was a friend - by lending a hand, an ear, or a shoulder to lean on.
He made you smile - with a song, a smile, a laugh.
He made you think - with his ideas, his knowledge, his teaching.
He made you duck - from an axe blow, or a sword, or a spear.
He thought big - with his gur, his pavilion, his castle.
He gave his time - at work week, on retinue, just about anywhere.
He was Geoff - The Baron, The Bard, My Friend.
God bless you Geoffrey - I will raise a toast to you.
Sergeant Cyneric Bearson of the Clan McBean
Here is a photo of Geoffrey http://wiki.antir.sca.org/index.php?title=Image:Geoffrey.jpg
Geoffrey Maclean was one of those larger than life types that find a true home in the SCA. The Clinton Castle , Bath houses and Showers are amongst his legacies. So however were the nightly parties at his encampment all through work week. Clinton work week will go on but it can never be the same. Rest well my friend.
In sorrow and grief
HL Sargeant Yeoman Gallant Colin Mackay of Balmaghie
(in reply to a query as to how Geoffrey died):
Cancer of the Kidney. A number of us have known for quite some time that the prognosis was grim, but Geoff fought as long and as hard as he could. He had hoped to be well enough to make Clinton work week and war and was apparently concerned that a motorised scooter would be out of place and sought permission from Mistress Maelen to ride that during Clinton! That was the true sprit of the man, more concerned about others than himself even on the most trivial of matters even at the grimmest of times.
As many of you have heard, Geoffrey MacLean lost his battle with cancer. It is a very sad time for Lions Gate and we will be respecting him as his family wishes. There will be a memorial held him.
Lions Gate has lost a friend, for he would give up his right arm for you.
Lions Gate has lost a sergeant, and he was Aurora's first.
Lions Gate has lost a piller, someone who not only built, but could be the foundation on which you built things.
Geoff didn't merely befriend you, he challenged you, he made you think, he pushed the traditional limits to find out how far we as a group could go. There are people in the SCA who blindly follow, and Geoff was never one of those - and the SCA was the better for it.
and now we his passing we are poorer.
Baron of Lions Gate
(20 June 2006)
Last night, after Geoffrey had passed, Davin and Banjo were talking about building a bridge at the Clinton site (with permission from the site owners, of course) wherein all of Geoffrey's friends would bring in a slab of granite to contribute to the memorial. I don't know if this idea will come to fruition, but I thought it sounded cool. I'll see if I can find out more from Banjo.
And, of course, a party/wake is a great idea.
I'll miss the Captain of my Guard. He did so much for Davin and I, both in the SCA and out of it. And Patti...what a brave, beautiful girl she is. Her strength astounds me. And Cornelius, a kind of second father at Geoffrey's bedside, it broke my heart to see him lose a second squire. But there was also something amazing and wonderful about his steadfast vigil at Geoffrey's side, where I saw the bonds of fealty and friendship blur into something transcendent.
Forgive me. I'm not articulating my thoughts well.
I'll miss Geoffrey.
I am thoroughly lost for words. This year's An Tir/West war would have been the 21st anniversary of meeting Geoffrey Maclean. He and I drifted together, apart, together... you get the idea. We never lost touch. We fought both with and against each other both in the SCA and out in the mundane world. Several times I had difficult and probably dangerous tasks to perform in a professional capacity and not once did he even hesitate. He's a good friend and I miss him.
Geoffrey MacLean was newest Captain of the Queen's Guard, when he leaned into me at Twelfth Night and said, Hey, wanna be a guard? He must've been reassured (or appalled) by my delighted grin.
That marked the beginning of our friendship.
For the Queen's Guard for that reign, Geoffrey made these fabulous braided leather baldrics, and we all wore them proudly--and he, just as proudly, donated to the Kingdom to be used in other reigns. Turns out that he could make just about anything, using any number of materials--things like tents and castles and rooms and beds and leatherwork of all sorts. He built a household, full of fun-loving, amazingly-talented people. He built relationships and friendships that inevitably withstood the test of time. He believed in leaving legacies (like gers and bridges and songs) so that the world might become a better place.
He was one of those knights-in-shining-armour that helped me that memorable Snow Crown, when I drove a new-to-me trailer and blew out *three* tires. He was my lifeliine and sanity when I got stranded on the road, miles away from anywhere. Got us to safety, got us to where I could get someone to repair the tire(s), got us back on the road and on our way to the event. (My girls
- still* talk about that...)
Geoffrey was talented. Loved music. Loved to play his guitar and sing ballads. Loved to sit around a fire, relaxing with friends, after a long day of service (whether on retinue, at Clinton, or working on projects).
Geoffrey was amazing. He knew everyone, and if he didn't know them, he knew someone who did. He knew where booze could be found at the end of a day, or propane for heat or light in the dead of night. He knew where tools could be found--even tools not his own. He could find *any*thing, if the need was there. If someone needed a hand, Geoff would wade in, fix/repair/remove/whatever, and inevitably would leave a situation better than he found it.
Geoffrey loved to laugh, and loved nothing better than sitting around, telling stories, laughing that great belly laugh of his. We could stand behind the thrones, doing the proper retinue thing, and could tell there was foolishness or a joke making the rounds because of Geoffrey's quietly evil chuckle.
A strong man, with strong opinions. One might even call him a tad colorful. Didn't always agree with him, but I always listened. Didn't always understand his point of view, but I respected it, nonetheless.
A couple of years back, Steffano made him a Saint. Wouldn't ya know--Steffano was right.
Finally, Geoffrey had a Lady. She was the best thing in his life. He was a strong man, with strong opinons and convictions and a strong love for this amazing woman. As incredible as Geoffrey was, Patti was his inspiration.
Geoffrey/Jeff was chivalric and strong and honorable and loving. Constant and true, a good man, a great friend, a strong Squire, a stalwart Sergeant--he was among the best and brightest AnTir could boast of. He had everything going for him, except time.
And it's our loss. He's gone for the nonce, but not in the slightest degree forgotten.
Here, then: To absent friends: His Excellency, Baron Geoffrey MacLean, aka Jeff Wilson.
I got asked today what Geoffrey was like by a mundane. So I used the only reference I could think of. I described him, specifically his music, as being like John Lennon. Something that brought people together, no matter where they came from.
See, many years ago, at a Clinton, he was teaching a bohram class and I took it.
Years later, while I was labouring, I had a CD with "Steffano's Wake" as the last song I listened to before we went into the hospital. It ended just as we pulled up. We forgot to bring the CD in.
When our son was just a few weeks old, I asked [Geoffrey] to sing it and why and he made light fun of "not wanting to know about it." I don't think he realized how his song helped me get through. I was able to disappear into the song instead of into the pain. And he had fun with that rendition, mocking Steffano while singing it. Everyone laughed. My son slept.
And I'll be damned if I haven't been able to get that song out of my head all day!
Aeric was shocked when he got the news from me, to say the least. I was in tears when I had it confirmed.
Gorram it. I'll miss his music!
Lady Yolanda de Guelph MI Artiste of Gryphonshold
May I one day have the ability to put people at ease like Jeff could, and the strength to be an unconditional, patient friend to others the way Jeff was to Nick and me.
Early this spring, as the news of Jeff's illness sank through us, we prepared for the long winter that is watching the health of a friend change course. His cancer slipped in purposefully and without warning shots or spared punches.
As we floundered around, looking for the courage to overcome self-centered worry about "acting like idiots around the sick guy", it became clear that Jeff would show us himself. He would tell us how to survive the cancer in him, and how to weather the fears it brought us.
He normalized it for us somehow, in a way very few could have, and he did it even while we were still embarrassed for failing a friend with our discomfort. I got messages on my voicemail saying "Yep, I¹m playing the 'cancer card', YOU WILL make time to come over so we can grill some meat..." In calling out the thing we were so intimidated by, Jeff made it much less of a 'thing'. We followed his example and got back to the important reasons to enjoy the company of friends in this life...
He and Patty both have been our confidants and our 'come over in pajamas' neighbors, our source for Canadian coke, and our competitive grilling opponents (Last year, we bought the same grill ‹ Jeff quickly handed our butts to us with his grilling prowess... Sampling the proof of someone¹s being better than you at something never tasted so good...We told him he could out-grill us any time he wanted to, because as he always made enough to share...) Every once in a while, he¹d also let us help him back, though in the end, the balance was still tipped heavily on his side ‹ he was better at helping than we were.
I met Jeff at Pennsic. His thoughtfulness at the moment we met changed everything... He said hello, then gestured in the direction of someone standing nearby, saying, "M'lady, I¹d like to introduce you to someone..." One thing led to another, and I¹m about to marry the man he pointed to that night.
As I write, most of my family is in the air, flying here to attend the wedding. The ceremony will begin, my father will walk me down the aisle, and a brass quintet will play the traditional song. Nick and I, in our hearts, will be hearing the music of a familiar guitar instead.
Geoffrey Maclean and I were friends. He and I always had incredibly interesting conversations. The phone would ring and he would say, Geoffrey Maclean here and I have an issue to discuss with you. And we would discuss it right then and there. The ins, the outs, the rights, the wrongs, the differences of opinion, we discussed it. And we solved it. He would make a suggestion and I would make a suggestion and we would come up with a solution that had the best interests of all at heart cuz it was never about us. We just loved discussing issues. And then we would laugh.
He always had a beer for me and I for him when we met at any event. We would sit, discuss, then carry about our duties knowing that we had each other's back. That was very comforting. Even when we were diametrically opposed on an issue, we had each other's back.
I received a phone call about 3 weeks ago and it was Geoffrey. He said, I am not here to raise any shit, I just wanted to talk to you. I have cancer and I have been given a couple of years to live. I asked him how he was and he talked about his lady and the game he so loved. You know, he said, I am not looking at quantity right now, just quality and I plan to make the next couple of years the best ever. We talked a little more about things and I asked him if there was anything I can do for him. He said you already have, you are my friend. I smiled and said thanks, that definitely goes two ways. There we were, the two of us, straight up, no bullshit, telling each other how it is. Wow.
I was filled with disbelief when I first heard of his passing today. My previous training has taken over and I will deal with this when I am ready but I know my friend now has "top" watch so I feel comfort in that. I will never forget him.
Master Ljotr Einarsson OP OL
To Geoffrey Maclean,
You taught me that music is about more than lyrics, its about the heart and the soul. To you belong the words:
Exegi monumentum aere perennius Regalique situ pyramidum altius... Non omnis moriar.
I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze and taller than the regal peak of the pyramids.... I shall never completely die
May your song be sung forevermore.
Æric the Penalt
Part one of two
July 07, 2006
In the stable yard of the Prancing Yak, the old monk stood by his horse thanking the stable hands for the care they had shown his steed. The cobbled yard glistened in the early morning sunlight that shone through the now cloud clear blue sky above. With another coin changing hands, the old monk slowly mounted and with a wave of fare-thee-well, eased into a walk towards the Cathedral Square where the various merchants were already hawking their goods. As the Hospitalier rode slowly through the throng, acknowledging the friends and family in the crowd, he thought of the journey back to the north and his duties at Tir Righ's Mad Monk's Inn.
Now clear of the Cathedral town's boundary, Aaron settled in for the long ride home. He hadn't ridden but a half mile when the peace of the morning was broken by a cry of "Hold! Good monk, pray Hold!" and echoing the cry, the sound of galloping hoof beats. Wheeling his horse, Aaron observed an armoured man, waving and shouting "News brother, sad news!" as he approached.
As the man reined in, skidding to a stop by the monk's steed, Aaron could see that this messenger had been on a long ride already this morning. His horse was sweating and deeply breathing, dust covered the upper parts of both horse and rider, while the lower legs and body were mud splattered. The dust indicated by its thickness, a start outside the area that last night's rainstorm had drenched.
"Good Brother Aaron," gasped the rider, "I heard that you had just left the Cathedral steps when I arrived in town. I rode after you, for I believe that this news I carry is of a nature that you would want to hear it as soon as possible." The monk sighed for lately such news that traveled hard and fast was of dire nature and often carried personal pain. "Say on then, good man, what is your news?"
"Brother, Geoffrey McLean has died. I believe that you were of his acquaintance?" The old monk sagged in his saddle and closed his eyes for but a moment. ""Geoffrey McLean?" said the monk, "Sergeant of Lions Gate? Engineer of the Clinton War?" The rider nodded yes and the old monk muttered "By all that's holy, another?" The rider waited as his restless steed stood twitching and tossing its head.
Straightening in the saddle, the monk knee pressed his horse staring back to town and the tavern of the Prancing Yak. Julian had passed on before and had been toasted, now there was another to be honoured and the one yet another that the old monk called friend. That these toasts were no longer a "duty" had changed nothing it seemed, for in his heart the old monk knew that this was something that he must do.
The ride back to the tavern was made is the silence that is shared by folk who are in pain for the loss of a friend. The square was somewhat subdued and the aura of silence seemed focused on the two riders as they made their way to the stables where there waited the stable master and his hands who received the horses into their care with the same quiet that the riders radiated.
Entering the tavern, Aaron spoke with the inn keep and went to his room where he divested himself of all the trappings of war. Clad as a brother at office he left the tavern and crossed the square with cowl up and head bowed. Climbing the steps, he entered the Cathedral for he needed to think and seek solace. Hours later, as the sun was sinking into the western sky still unhampered by clouds, the monk descended the steps and entered the tavern. Word of the monk's return and the news that the messenger had carried was, by now, common knowledge so the common room in the tavern was filled to capacity with overflow seated on the area around the stately Oak tree that dominated the courtyard. The open windows and courtyard door allowed those in and out to share freely and the wenches were busy serving the crowd.
Aaron could see that his table was not empty, but had one seat sill free. Sitting down he smiled at his close friends and waited for his mug of 'dark' to be fetched. While he waited he set his script on the table and removed all the implements that he needed to scribe another black ribbon. Dipped quill in ink, he wrote another name onto the ribbon. Taking the mug of 'dark' that had arrived while he was writing, he stood and waited for the silence to fill the room and courtyard. Looking around at the sea of faces that filled the spaces he thought of how fitting was this assemblage to honour the man whose name was inscribed on the black ribbon he held in his hand. For there were peasants, nobility, both high and low. Party addicts, warriors and service junkies. Men, women and children were assembled. Peers, Barons and Baronesses, Princes and Princesses, Kings and Queens both past, present and undoubtedly future. The monk shook his head in amazement, for the man who had passed on before were friend and companion to all of these and more besides.
"Geoffrey McLean has passed on to the Summerland of his choice. I'll wager much that it involves music, friends, joyous battle and beer .... lots of beer!" The grey haired monk smiled, then continued. When I heard of Geoffrey's passing I was struck numb. I felt a deep loss that far exceeded what I thought I would feel for Geoffrey's passing. We were friends, fair friends indeed. But not great buddies who hung out together every chance we had. Why then did this gentles passing affect me so hard?" Aaron paused and sipped his 'dark', wiped his lips on his sleeve and continued. "I have thought hard on this and would share some of my conclusions with you here to-night.
Geoffrey McLean was a man in all the meanings of that word! He was also a good man. He made his mistakes, revelled in some of them and apologized for others. But in either case he owned up to everything that he did. This is a major attribute for anyone to have and Geoffrey had it in spades.
Geoffrey McLean was a friend to all he met. From the drink till you drop party mavens to the work till you drop service junkies. He sat and advised Royalty and did the same with the greenest newcomer. High birth or low, experienced or new, peaceful or war like, he quietly did what was needed to sooth, fix, support or praise those in need or deserving of these things. Another major attribute for anyone to have, again one of Geoffrey's main attributes.
His quiet service to the dream we all share and the Kingdom he loved was phenomenal! The travel that he did, the miles out of his way he went to assist folk, to organize and work at projects that ranged from the Clinton War site constructions, to armouring workshops for fighters old and new, sharing resources for supplies and fetching and carrying materials for these projects. Making things work so all could enjoy their version of the 'dream'. This is the most important of all the attributes that we who share this "dream" can have. Geoffrey not only had it, but also was an example of how to express that attribute successfully.
Music! How can I speak of Geoffrey and not speak of the music that was his heart and soul. The songs he wrote, the songs he sang, the willingness to sing with us 'can't carry a tune in a bucket' singers. Skill, talent and willingness to share are another of the major attributes we seek in our society and Geoffrey had this one too."
Talking is thirsty work so another mouthful of 'dark' and the monk speaks on.
"In days long past there are tales of great men who had earned great acclaim in their life. When one of these men died, his grave was filled with treasures that spoke of the great man's skill's, rank, and service. These treasures also spoke of the affection and love that was his. Love from his family, his friends and his people. For the very first time since I assumed this 'making of toasts' I feel that a departed friend needs to be sent to his rest with such 'treasures' so that all gathered about his final resting place and those who will hear of Geoffrey's deeds will know of his deed's, passion's and services.
So here on the steps of the Cathedral I ask that all who would do so add a token of their affection or symbol of who they believed Geoffrey was to them. I would ask that we not offer the Toast to Geoffrey to night, but assemble here tomorrow evening to gift Geoffrey's burrow with what you all deem appropriate tokens or symbols of our regard for this quiet man who lived and amongst us for so many years. To night let us spend on tales of his deeds and in remembrances of the things, people and places that Geoffrey loved."
A buzz of concentration sounded through out the tavern common room and it's courtyard. Various snippets of conversation echoed above the buzz. "Barrow goods?", "What kind of things does he mean?"
"My friends," said the monk, "let me be the first to add my personal item to Geoffrey's barrow goods." Opening his pouch he withdrew a silver chain necklace with a small round medallion hung thereon. "Here is a pewter Symbol of the Order of the pelican. It was crafted by Sir Gerhard Kendal of Westmoreland, Master of the Laurel and, for all that he resigned from the Order, a Pelican, in my mind. For me it represents all that I hold dear about service to and in our society. In reality it also represents the "Peer Like Qualities" that a member of a Peerage order is supposed to have.
Part two of two
July 07, 2006
In my humble opinion, Geoffrey had the work ethic and the history of service to equal any Pelican of the Order. As to his P.L.Q.'s .... well all I can say that for many years he acted as a bridge between differing factions of our society. He was welcome in all camps and often acted as a mediator between dissenting groups. He was the herald of peace and compromise. Welcome in all camps, Geoffrey was a true troubadour in the old sense of the word.
He was at heart and deeds my brother Pelican regardless of the fact that he was not yet elevated officially by conscientious of the Order nor by act of Royalty. I place this symbol of my appreciation and respect for a good man who made the word 'service' a thing of shining beauty and respect. He was, in all respects, a honourable human being! With all the flaws, although few in number and strengths, in an abundance of towering quantity and quality of a man.
Geoffrey was more friend to me than I had ever realized and I will miss him greatly."
Going to the bench beneath the place where the Scroll had hung, Aaron places the Pelican's medallion with its chain in the barrow goods and quietly says
"Geoffrey, brother in service, take this token as symbol of my respect and kinship. May you find the beginning of your hopes and dreams in your summer land. "
Turning to the gathering, the monk inquires, "Who will be next to speak Tomorrow evening?"
The next day passes slowly as more folk arrive for the toast to Geoffrey McLean. The pile of symbolic items that represent the many labours and loves that Geoffrey did during his time with us, has grown.
A guitar, hammer, saw, a roll of castle plans, a bar of soap, a loaf of bread, a bottle of beer, a bottle of 'the water of life', a Jame de Lione, a Gout de Sang, many pieces of armour, rattan weapons, a map of the roads of An Tir that he had traveled many times in his years of service, personal things from friends as remembrances of the times they had with Geoffrey, discussing the woes and joys of our world.
A sergeant's buckle in the form of a lion's head, and from the Prince and Princess of Tir Righ, a bag of coin to pay the ferryman's fee to the summer lands. For even after death, they valued Geoffrey's service so much that they would have all know that Geoffrey McLean was a King's man and an honoured and valued resident of Their Principality.
Discussion still was heard as the throng waited the arrival of the monk.
"We have these symbols gathered to honour Geoffrey, so how will we use them?" Some one questions.
"Pack them into a chest and bury them beneath the Clinton Castle." is one response that causes the room to be silent for a moment.
"Yes!" "Great idea", "Perfect!" the words of agreement are heard from all parts of the room. "Let's name the castle 'Castle McLean'" is one suggestion. Another is "No, name it 'McLean Keep'" Yet another advises, "'McLean Manor' is the name to choose." "what about naming the bathes after him?" is heard from another. "No! Name the Clinton Tavern after Geoffrey." "What about the bake house and Ovens?" "The gate into the war site. "
Many differing suggestions are thrown out for consideration, but one thing seems clear enough. The use of Geoffrey McLean's name to identify a part of the Clinton War site's features is a popular one.
Then steps are heard on the stairs leading to the upper floor, and the bottom of a black robe is seen through the banister rails. The room begins to quiet down as the old monk descends the stairs. By the time he enters the common room and receives his 'dark' the folk have become quiet.
Through out the preceding day the stories and memories had cascaded and echoed in the square of the cathedral. Folk were talked out and sat, wrapped in their personal memories of a good man.
The monk stood by his table, holding his mug of dark. "I have heard much I didn't know about my friend, and reaffirmed that which I did know. Geoffrey was a man of many talents and even more friends. His Knight, his squire brothers, and his close friends have praised him. He has been praised by present and past Royalty." Tears appear in the old monks eyes but there is a slight grin on his face.
"I am certain that he, Gerhard, Ziggy, Julian and a host of his other friends are now holding counsel, and appropriate libations, regarding some constructions projects for the Summerland wars and battles. For now they have the expertise of a proven master builder."
So raise your cups, my kin, and toast a valued An Tir-ian Man!
To Geoffrey McLean, may he find his joy in his choice of Summer Land and may his tenure there bring him more joy than he could have dreamed of!
If this latest incarnation of the Prancing Yak had been subjected in the past to large volume responses to a toast, then all those previously were shadowed by the sheer volume of the cry that came in response to Geoffrey's toast. From many hearts through willing throats, the cry shook dust from the rafters and rattled the doors in their frames.
Then mugs were emptied and smashed or crushed so that they would never again be used for a lesser purpose.
As new mugs were distributed (the old ones cost being added to the evenings tab to be paid for by the monk) Aaron packs his script and leaves to attend the customary duty he had assumed with the first toast. Leaving the tavern glowing with the candlelight and sharing within, he climbs the steps to the Cathedral doors. Stopping before entering, he looks up at the clear, star filled heavens above and notes a quick line of fire crossing the darkened sky high above.
"A shooting star" he thinks, "an omen for wishing." Silence and stillness attend the monk for a moment as he reflects, then looking up at the stars he says
"May all those who have gone on before find that peace and joy that they wished for in their time here on earth."
With that said, Aaron enters the Cathedral to request of the priest a mass said for the dead and to do his office.
Outside, in the star filled sky, there occurs a flurry of fiery streaks across the heavens above. Debris from space ... or a verification of a wish? No one will ever know for sure, but both the Cathedral and the tavern are filled with the sounds of different kinds of celebration of a life lived and fulfilled.
Companion Aaron of the Black Mountains, OP
I gotta start checking my email more regularly again; there's weaning yourself away from it, and then there's cold turkey, but that isn't helpful either. And the sad news of the last two weeks only emphasizes this.
Geoffrey and I were not *close*, but we had fun. Bad puns, silly songs, a desire to see something of permanence at Clinton without mucking things up mundanely, financially or Societally. Discussions of fealty. Bitching sessions on occasion. Almost always at Clinton, but a few other events as well.
Lost track of him (amongst others) after my flame-out a couple of years back, but I heard the sad news of his illness a whiles back, and hoped to see him again before the end. I had thought, as many of us did I suppose, that we would have at least a little more time.
Lesson in there, obviously.
Listened to his CDs again, instead. *sigh*
We'll grab us a wet one later on, toast ye properly, ya big lout.
...Quartermaster: Sound 8 Bells.
In Service to Port, Barony, Principality, Kingdom and The Dream
Lord Erasmus the Traveller, OP, GdS, OSG, ORCA, WOAW
The Gods must be short of heros.
Gerhard needs a castle built
The Barony of Lions Gate another Seargent sends
His Lordship Baron Brother Seargent Geoffrey McLean
Now sits with other friends
Set another chair in the feast hall of Valhalla
Mark it with a blazon and a belt
Hear the hills still ringing
with his laughter and his singing
The love he gave, the joy we always felt.
See the castle shadow casting
Nay, ... that be THE MAN.
Seargent Lord Gunther Von Wiseland
Geoffrey has been entered on the Scroll of Honor - An Tir Remembers.