Henry McCanless

Henry McCanless

December 20, 1950 - October 07, 2011

Henry McCanless

December 20, 1950 - October 07, 2011


Obituary for Henry Richard (Harry) McCanless

Harry McCanless died unexpectedly and instantly at home in Laguna Hills , California on Oct 7th from a massive heart attack. Harry is survived by his longtime companion and husband of over 23 years, Mark Coolidge; by his loving brother, Ed McCanless; by many loving cousins; and by many friends in cities where he lived, worked and visited. Harry was one of a kind, a dear person who will be missed by all who knew him.

Harry was born on Dec. 20, 1950 in Minneapolis, MN. As part of a military family, it was not until he was 7 years old that the family settled in Greenville, SC. Harry attended school there, graduating from J. L. Mann High School in 1968 and was one of the school’s first National Merit Scholars. In high school Harry excelled in math and sciences, track and swimming. From there he went on to Georgia Institute of Technology. At Tech, he was a member of the varsity swim team and graduated in 1972 with a major in Nuclear Physics and a minor in math. He also became fluent in Russian which proved useful later in his life.

Harry became a programmer at Delta Air Lines in Jan 1973. At Delta, he became an invaluable member of the ACP (now TPF) Operating Systems Group and also worked as an information services instructor for the company. In the early 80’s, Harry left Delta and went to work for Amdahl computers. He worked there until IBM recruited Harry from Amdahl in 1987 to IBM’s TPF group. Harry was so skilled that when things went wrong with a business customer’s reservation system, senior IT VP’s of major IBM customers would ask for Harry by name to trouble shoot their problems. He rose through the technical ladder at IBM to Senior Engineer/Programmer- TPF Field Support. He traveled around the country and the world as a TPF consultant and instructor for IBM.

In addition to the professional part of his life, Harry was a wonderful friend, brother, and partner; he was kind, thoughtful, and patient. He was a great listener and always willing to help. As a friend and advisor, Harry knew when the best course of action was to listen. He was beloved by his friends and highly respected. He had a personal wealth and breadth of knowledge. Before there was Wikipedia or Google, there was Harry. If you needed to know a date, a reason for a war, or why the Marathon was extended by 0.4 miles in the 1920 Olympics in London, Harry either knew the answer or knew where to quickly find it. He continued to be very active and was proud of the excellent physical condition he maintained. He ran in the first Peachtree 10k Road Race in Atlanta, GA held on July 4th over 30 years ago and has run in every Peachtree Road Race – either officially or unofficially.

A memorial service will be held at the O’Connor Mortuary 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA on Tuesday Oct 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Services will also be held at the Thomas McAfee Funeral Home in Greenville, South Carolina. Visitation and a Rosary Service will be held at 6:00 PM Friday Oct 14, with a Funeral Service at Noon on Saturday Oct 15, 2011.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-3278, Attention Mr. Joe Tapp (phone number 480-343-1333)

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18 responses to Henry McCanless

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  1. When I first met Harry many years ago, he was my colleague. Over time he became my mentor and good friend. The few times every year when we got to visit customer locations together, were always highlights. He was not only one of the greatest technical experts, but also a very wise friend. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts go out to Mark, and Harry’s family.
    Edwin van de Grift, Scottsdale AZ

  2. Harry was a lovely soul and a brilliant and well respected man. He will be missed.
    Lisa DeChiara (Edwin’s wife), Scottsdale, AZ

  3. 1 file added to the tribute wall

  4. When Harry died, we lost a great technical expert and a great friend.
    Harry was one-of-a-kind special. So sad. — Shep & Dot

  5. I’ve known Harry since 1987 when we first met in a professional capacity. Being a “seasoned” ACP/TPF person myself, I can certainly vouch for Harry’s abilty to grab any problem by the horns and come up with a simple and elegant solution without breaking a sweat. There are few in my opinion that had the unique skills and demeaner that Harry had. But if you want to talk about the man and not the technician, this attempt to celebrate his memory becomes so much easier. The fact of the matter is that Harry was just a great guy. There was nothing phoney about Harry; no facade or pretentions. What you saw was what you got, and what you got was one of the nicest most intelligent, most caring people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. We all have our own slice of life in this world, and while Harry’s may have been too short for some of us he certainly made the most of it, and left the rest of us with the gift of having known him.

    Alan and Ronda Sadowsky

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