August 25, 1943 – September 1, 2022
Roberta passed away on September 1, 2022 at the age of 79 years old. She will be missed dearly by her family and friends.
Robin McClelland was a valued and much-admired member of the Calgary Chapter of Storytelling Alberta. Her specialty was Celtic stories but every story she delivered was shared with charm and heart and a twinkle in her eye. Her laugh was a cross between the tinkling of bells and a lion’s roar. Her storytelling style was classic: she would sit with minimal movement, but the story would come to life through her wry smiles, her shining eyes and her dramatic voice modulations. Her facial expressions conveyed myriad emotions — subtly but unmistakeably. She performed right up to the end, making a contribution to a celebration of history through story at Lougheed House just this summer.
She and I spoke fairly regularly while I was President of the Chapter up until last year. I would call her to let her know what events were coming up because she didn’t have access to email. She was always so appreciative of what I considered a very ordinary gesture. She met my parents when they attended one of our Chapter’s story sharing circles – called Tellarounds – a few years ago. Ever after, she would ask how they were doing. I had mentioned to her about my sister moving to the Island and Robin would ask about her too.
Some of my most memorable moments with Robin came because of a project called StoryShare, by which our Chapter reaches out to seniors in our community to hear and capture stories of their lived history. Robin was enthusiastic about the project and was happy to participate in our Tellarounds whenever possible. She always had an interesting story to share and inspired others with her skill and experience.
For a time, she borrowed one of our StoryShare iPads. She showed endless patience as one or another of us would try by phone (the pandemic kept us from doing anything in person of course) to help her click the right buttons and enter the right passcodes so she could join us via video on Zoom. But technology has its limitations, especially for people who struggle with vision loss and other physical barriers. But Robin was always happy to join via phone and she was ever so gracious in her gratitude for the help we were trying to provide.
I’m happy to say that capturing a legacy story of Robin’s required no complicated technology. She simply called in and I recorded one of the loveliest stories in our collection of 40+ StoryShare videos. I urge you to go to YouTube and simply type Robin McClelland into the search bar. A brief scroll will bring you to her under the title “StoryShare Legacy Story: Robin McClelland ‘The Widow’s Quilt.’” I’m happy to say that the technology that eluded her has also immortalized her. All of us at Storytelling Alberta Calgary Chapter will be forever grateful to have that audio record of Robin’s immense talent as a storyteller. She will be missed in our story circles.