A Tribute to Dr. David MacKenzie Logan

Only a few months ago, on January 17th, we lost one of the longest serving Board members of March of Dimes Canada, March of Dimes Canada Non Profit Housing Corporation and our US subsidiary, Rehabilitation Foundation for Disabled Persons. David Logan passed away at age 79, and at this time, we honour him and remember him.

Dr. David Logan was a member of the Board when I joined Ontario March of Dimes in May 1981. David made consistently strong contributions; he served as chair of many committees and was Chair of the organization for 3 years, telling me he was waiting for the time he could assume another multi year term. He served many years as Chair of our non-profit housing corporation and he loved that corporation, as much as he loved MODC, because he could see the significant tangible results – homes for people, people about whom he cared a great deal.

David was that rare individual who read and worked in many fields, a real eclectic when it came to his interests and philosophy. He was a scientist who valued those with lived experience; he was a biologist who also loved and taught American history; he was a man of ideas who built homes for his friends, fixed cars and tractors, and farmed outside of Toronto; he was chivalrous in my view, and a man who supported equality for women throughout his entire adult life. He demonstrated that one could pursue intellectual work and carry out manual work, for he loved both.

David, whom we all experienced as “larger than life” was actually a very shy man; an introvert who held his friends fast and was extremely loyal, he eschewed crowds and chose not to attend big fancy events, often requiring me to cajole him to represent MODC at fundraisers. He didn’t want recognition or honours so to bring him the Volunteer Canada Award, I had to set up a secret plan with York University, where he was an Associate Professor for many years, and sneak into a class in order to present him with this Award. Yet, it was David who created the Paul Martin Sr. Rehabilitation and Biomedical Research Fund at March of Dimes and then the Jonas Salk Award so that we could honour great Canadian scientists. He wanted MOD to be both a contributor to science and a recognized leader in acknowledging and using science that can help improve the lives of people with disabilities.

As another example of both his determination to do good and his solitary style, David would help me and other staff to create committees and then choose not to have other members. He was fine with committees of one which always got a lot of work done. Yet, he worked well with our board, understanding governance beyond the average volunteer. David made sure that fundraising was on the agenda at board meetings so that every director knew he or she had to support the organization, directly and in many other ways.

I enjoyed David’s friendship and mentorship. David taught me to cherish life and share its joys, for we live in a great country, with a focus on opportunity and equality and we can make the most of both for the benefit of all.

About modcpresident
I grew up in Calgary, where I completed a BA at the University of Calgary, then travelled and taught in Kenya and the Canadian Arctic during the heyday of Trudeaumania, hippie travel and social experimentation. I settled in Vancouver to complete a Master of Social Work degree at the University of British Columbia, and stayed another 8 years. After graduating I was a Social Planner and eventually became the Executive Director of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC. Ontario March of Dimes recruited me in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons and the 30th anniversary of the agency. It has grown from a budget of $5m in '81 to $100m in 2010. Services have expanded drafmatically. We incorporated a non profit housing corporation in 1992 and a national charity in 2001, and since 2006 the latter has operated as March of Dimes Canada. We own and operate several properties that provide accommodation and independent living services to 77 people in 4 municipalities and will add another property this year. Two other exciting non profit entities have been incorporated in my 30 years (yes, it has been 30 years!) and we expect to hold our first fundraiser in the US this year and to initiate our first service south of the border also. My role as President and CEO continues to be that of creating a vision, fulfilling the mission and developing strategic plans to meet an increasing demand for services from people with disabilities and their caregivers. This is achieved through direct service, advocacy and peer programs. On a personal note, I live with my 17 year old daughter and two cats, and enjoy their company a lot. My two adult sons are doing interesting exploration in their own lives and I am intrigued with how they are progressing. In my spare time, I have various volunteer roles on several non profit boards and committees, and enjoy creating programs for building awareness of diversity and disability. I think it has become true for me that youth is, while not "wasted on the young," something that I appreciate more with age. Adventures are physically more challenging for me now, so they have to occur in new dimensions.

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