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

  1. Lit a candle in memory of Henry McCanless

  2. Bill Supon says:

    I had the pleasure and honor of working with, and knowing Harry for several decades, and it indeed was a pleasure. I could always count on him for support, and he was indeed a superstar in his field, but what I’ll miss most about Harry is his wonderfully dry sense of humor. Everyone who knew Harry will understand when I say – Harry was, well, Harry. I’ll miss you.
    Bill S

  3. Donna Achin says:

    My first encounter with Harry was of a professional nature as he taught an IBM class at my company. It wasn’t long before I realized that not only was he an amazingly bright individual, but he also had a passion for his work. He treated each and every ‘student’ with respect and dignity, and was soon a friend to all. My ‘most amazing’ recollection of Harry was when our system was in trouble and while we were on a conference call with IBM, the decision was made to call Harry. Harry pulled over to the side of the road so he could talk. He resolved the problem while sitting there in some obscure parking lot, all the while joking that he may be attracting the attention of law enforcement!

    To the dear family of Harry who has lost a loved one: It would be hard to find a more honest or humble man than Harry. I am blessed to have know him, and I thank you for sharing this gift. May God Bless you and give you peace in knowing how many lives he has touched. Fondly, Donna A.

  4. I met Harry less than 10 years ago, but feel the great loss of his passing. I would usually see him at least once a year during a business trip to Gaithersburg. I feel that I got to know him fairly well during those yearly intense working-sessions. I second the thoughts of others who spoke of his impressive humility and intellectual curiousity. I will truly miss him. My heart goes out to his family…

    Lanah Hotchkiss

  5. Having worked with Harry throughout the many years in different capacities I was always amazed and in awe of his mind. A true gift to the TPF community.
    Having known Harry through those many years I was in awe of the person.
    To all of us who knew him he not only graced our lives with brilliance but with his wit, his kindness and his humble spirit. We are all the better having known him. I will miss him dearly. My prayers to all the family, friends and loved ones.
    Maggie Musser

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