Fa­ther Greg MacLeod dead at 81

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - News@cb­post.com

SYD­NEY — A pop­u­lar lo­cal priest and com­mu­nity ac­tivist who helped re­de­fine eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment by es­sen­tially sell­ing shares in Cape Bre­ton has died.

Rev. Greg MacLeod, known sim­ply as Fa­ther Greg by many, had been bat­tling a lengthy ill­ness. He was 81. Shortly af­ter he was or­dained in 1961, the Syd­ney Mines na­tive was ap­pointed to teach at Xavier Ju­nior Col­lege in Syd­ney.

A lifelong ed­u­ca­tor and mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada, MacLeod be­came in­volved in com­mu­nity eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment when the coal mines were clos­ing in 1969, and spent much of his life af­ter that find­ing ways to com­bine Chris­tian so­cial teach­ings with sound busi­ness prac­tices. His em­pha­sis on an econ­omy based on hu­man val­ues rather than profit in­spired him to found the Tomp­kins In­sti­tute at Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity, which led to the cre­ation of com­mu­nity eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ven­tures New Dawn En­ter­prises and BCA Hold­ings.

Well-known busi­ness­man Jim Kehoe was a per­sonal friend of MacLeod’s who worked closely with him on var­i­ous projects over the past 30 years. He said MacLeod’s contributions to the univer­sity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Cape Bre­ton were “un­real.”

“Even when he was teach­ing at the univer­sity, he’d only take half his salary and he’d give the other half back to the Beaton In­sti­tute and to hire stu­dents and things like that,” said Kehoe, owner and pres­i­dent of Joneljim Con­crete Con­struc­tion Ltd.

Kehoe said MacLeod’s work ethic was un­matched even in his fi­nal days, re­call­ing how his friend half-jok­ingly told fam­ily he didn’t want any vis­i­tors who were just there to talk.

“I went down one Saturday morning about a month ago and his sis­ter was there giv­ing him a lit­tle hand and he said to his sis­ter, ‘Now if they don’t have a file in their hand when they come here, don’t let them in be­cause I can’t work all day now,’” Kehoe said. “He knew he was on his dy­ing bed, yet he wanted to pro­duce some­thing. He said ‘I’ve got a lot of things to do but I don’t have much time to do it.’”

Fu­neral ar­range­ments for MacLeod were still pend­ing.


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