Bruce McCain’s sober civility was his hallmark in Oregon’s body politic. His memorial is set for May 30
Bruce McCain died Monday.
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon — indeed, the entire body politic — is the poorer.
You may know Bruce from his television appearances on local TV news casts, the voice of reason on my and Lars’s shows, his time as a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, his professionalism as a Reynolds School Board Member, tireless legal advocate, political tactician, parishioner in the pew, the photographer on the sidelines, the doting grandfather and loving Dad. Husband.
He was a blogger on this website and his own. A colleague.
He was all of these things.
But Bruce was one more thing that I believe needs to be said:
Bruce was the civil voice in a very uncivil political place.
Columnist David Brooks says:
Politics exists on the surface, but conduct is at a deeper realm.
When I would engage in free-style verbal flame-throwing, Bruce would draw me back to reason. He did that for many people. His inner conduct — devotion to and love of God — was his deeper realm and informed everything he did.
At one point in his life, Bruce considered the ministry as a profession, but found his calling in different areas. Still, he was always guiding people. Always the teacher.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus said,
Character is Destiny.
In whatever he did, Bruce brought his best. There were never any halfway measures on his part. Whether it was in his writings, legal briefs, advocacy or even his photographs, he always strived for his best.
And he always strove to do more. The father of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, once said:
The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.
Bruce’s work was never done. There was always a challenge to confront, a case to win, a wrong to be righted.
He was ambitious, but his ambition was never at the expense of others. There was room for everyone in his successes.
And he was trustworthy. As fellow Blogforce member (and Bruce’s good friend for many years), former Sheriff Bernie Giusto wrote:
From the earliest days at the Sheriff’s office Lt McCain was one of my closest and most trusted advisors. From there Bruce McCain became my closest confidant. When things were very tough during my second term, Bruce’s unwavering friendship was indescribably vital to my life at that time. The last time [I] talked with Bruce he called me friend. A great honor friend. I will never forget your strong character and honest friendship.
And he was generous. Generous with his time, his expertise and his spirit. On his daughter Kelly’s Facebook page I saw this photo:
In the age of self indulgent, beauty-shot selfies, the meticulous photographer gave his family this photograph of himself. He’s not at his best here. He’s dying. He may not have wished this to be his parting shot. But in his spirit of generosity and love, he gave his family this memory.
But they’ll always have this one too.
And so many more memories, little and big.
Salk once said,
Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.
Bruce McCain was a good man. A man of rare generosity. A man of good character. A servant leader.
He knows where he was going and to those he left behind –his descendants– this ancestor left a road map of how to do it right.
Rest in peace, friend.