A Tribute to John McKean


John McKean It is with great sadness that we inform you that John McKean, the creator and long-time publisher of the Flame newsletter, passed away unexpectedly from an apparent heart attack at his home in North York, Ontario, last Thursday, Sept 4th. John will be remembered by many for his contributions to AMD as an integral part of the Toronto field sales office from 1981-1996. John created the FLAME website in 1997 as a way for former and current AMDers to stay connected. After compiling the suggestions that were sent to him each week, and adding his own commentary, in italics, signed/jm. He published his weekly FLAME newsletter to more than 2,000 readers, around the world, over the past 17 years.

John leaves his loving wife and best friend Wendy, as well as his sister Janet.

K.C. Murphy remembers John:

John McKean was one of the core personalities in the AMD FAE force. His Canadian view of the world always brought a smile and usually got us back on a productive track. Although John did not try to grab the lime light, everyone knew him. He had a way of making you feel like you had known him all your life and that he was an old friend by the second story that was told. His technical expertise and calm method of communication made him a very effective contributor to the AMD technical community.

A larger world knows John through the Flame site. This started as John began writting a weekly email to a dozen of us, passing along jokes and news. As each of us began to reply with our comeback jokes and more news, John found the time of manually editing, merging and publishing to be burdensome. So a solution was found and the Flames site was born. John was the heart and soul of this creation. It the beginning, he did all the technical work of administration and hosting. And as the distribution list grew to 100, then 500, then 1000 and now almost 3000, John remained the congenial face, editor, and scribe to all of our memories, past and present. From the Flame site, local groups have formed. There are now mirror sites in other countries, in other languages, carrying the Flames information to what may be the largest active ex-employee fraternity in the world. The AMD bonds run deep, and John's effort allowed those bonds to be refreshed, renewed,and re-kindled on a weekly basis.

He will be missed by us all.

And of course in John's memory, the AMD Flames site will continue to operate soon. I can think of no better tribute to the Man that has kept us together so well.

Here are John's own words about his time at AMD, from his profile on the FLAME website:

I joined AMD in 1981 as an FAE in the Willowdale (Toronto) sales office. I was hired by Rick Bachhofer, the RSM for Canada. Rick and I went to school together and worked at Texas Instruments in the '70's. I figured if what he promised was only half true it was still a good deal. I left my project leader job at Plessey Canada for what I thought was a pie-in-the-sky job at AMD. I got all the pie I wanted - man what a ride! There is a God and He loves me! AMD was the envy of all the other FAEs. Great pay, awesome perks and a near total lack of twits, both in management and support.

I had a brief stint as an acting Disty RSM from 1984-86 then moved back to FAE. 1996 saw a major field shuffle that closed AMD's Canadian operation. They gave me a nice parting package and I went into semi-retirement mode. After a few years of consulting for what amounted to about five bucks an hour, I went into full retirement mode in 1999.

In 1997, at the suggestion of Paul Lee (FAE Ottawa), and with the help of K.C. Murphy, Rick Marz and Rick Follett, I started the FLAMEs club.

Nowadays, I run a seniors bowling league twice a week and manage (if one could call it that) what's left of my investments. Wendy, my wife of 40 years, and I live in the same house we bought in 1976. We renovated extensively in 2007 and hope to live here forever.

I like fast cars (but have none since selling my 2005 Mustang GT) and classical music. My PVR and I love watching all kinds of sports. I also putz around with programming (Excel-VBA and PHP) mostly in support of the FLAMEsite and my investments."

Goodbye, John. We'll miss you.

Obituary in the Toronto Star