Jack McFaull - The Great Enabler

Jack McFaull, a friend of the University of Saskatchewan, community and business leader passed away earlier this year at the age of 82. McFaull was instrumental in the development of Innovation Place and in helping apply the knowledge housed at the U of S towards economic development. He was a member of the board of directors of SED Systems, the POS Pilot Plant as well as chair of the Institute for Society and the Humanities. His friend John Cross, president of the province's first biotech firm, delivered the eulogy at McFaull's funeral. Following are extracts from that address.

Saskatchewan has lost one of its greatest promoters and fans. Jack truly believed in the people of our province and our potential to do what we set our minds to. He believed we each carry in our genes the spirit of our pioneering forefathers who had the determination and vision to develop the province as a free democracy where dreams could really come true.

Jack was a man of vision who sincerely gave more to his community than he took. He will be remembered for his undaunted, positive spirit which gave him the energy and confidence to not only have a highly successful career in the life insurance and investment field but to volunteer countless hours to his community.

In my mind, Jack characterizes the history and culture of our province. Blended with warmth and compassion, he had vision of what things could be and the determination to make things happen.

I define Jack McFaull as an ENABLER - to make things possible - possible for people to do things, to supply opportunities, to strengthen, to make effective. He had no small thoughts. We are surrounded by things he made possible.

He believed passionately that the agricultural economy of Saskatchewan must diversify in order to be stronger; he dedicated the majority of his volunteer work to this commitment. His passion for agriculture was founded on his respect for the aspirations of the pioneers. He would say, "We are custodians of the spirit of the pioneers. They came here because they couldn't own land, because they couldn't practice their own religion, and because they couldn't get an education." Through a lifetime Jack supported farmers, supported his faith, and supported the University.

The indelible print of Jack's hand can be seen all around us, on VIDO, CDC, POS, the Institute for Society and Humanity, his church, and the University. Yet, after his family, I think Innovation Place gave him the most pride. In the early 1970's Jack developed the concept of a Research & Development Corporation for the U of S as a vehicle to increase commercialization of University technologies. The idea was ahead of its time and wasn't embraced by the University. Jack reworked the concept into a proposal for a research park. He took it to (Premier) Allan Blakeney who had the vision to pick up the idea. So Jack really is the "founding father" of Innovation Place, recognized today as one of the leading agricultural biotechnology centres in the world The Great Enabler.

His secret was to have his life in balance.

He had an annual personal plan which covered his family, business, personal growth, and spiritual intentions for the year. He used to say, "Each week has 168 hrs; Work 40 hrs; Sleep 56 hrs, left over for growth 60 hrs. How do you spend yours?"

Despite all this activity and commitment Jack always had a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his face, and was the king of the corny joke, never tiring of telling the same ones over and over. In November 1997 Jack invited friends to his "hanging party", so coined by him because he was being inducted, or hung, in the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists Hall of Fame.

Even amidst all his accomplishments, family was a very high priority for him. He often said that balance in one's life was a significant measure of one's success. "You can't just be great at business and great at socializing" he was fond of saying, "you need to also be equally strong in family, community, personal health, and education."

"I am a possibilitarian." "It's the altitude of the attitude" These were among Jack's favorite sayings. He truly lived these words. He believed and proved that what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Jack was also a very spiritual man and a student of philosophy as well as alternative medicines. What held particular fascination for him was the examination of the power of the mind in healing the human body. He was a strong supporter of conventional medicine, but was also willing to explore other avenues, particularly those of visualization used to cure disease.

Jack had first hand experience when he was diagnosed with cancer just a few years ago. Through a combination of conventional surgery and his use of visualization calling upon the infinite power of the universe to heal him, he proudly won his battle with cancer and stayed cancer free to his death. This encounter led Jack to share his experiences with other cancer victims, and over the last few years he worked with scores of individuals fighting this dreaded disease.

Jack exercised every morning by stretching and then swimming in his pool. He also meditated daily as he had done since discovering Transcendental Meditation in the early 70's. He knew that a healthy mind and body were essential for a balanced and whole life. He had lots he wanted to do everyday, so he made sure he took care of himself.

Jack was active with his family right up to the day of his death at age 82. Each of his children hope that this kind of energy and commitment is hereditary, and that they can attempt to live up to this kind of role model.

We fervently echo these sentiments for ourselves.