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Letter from The Editor - Remembering Mrs. Jean

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Mrs. Jean paved the way for a woman like me. A woman with drive, passion, enthusiasm and an unbridled love for Fort McMurray. She was all those things, and so many more. She was incredibly loyal, dedicated to her family and this community.

I only wish we could have done this issue of YMM before she passed peacefully in her home in 2018, so that she could see the love and respect left behind for a life so incredibly well lived. We have themed this edition “Growing Local” and there is nobody who embodies that spirit more than Mrs. Jean.

In preparation for this edition of YMM, I spent some time reading some of the stories found in her book “More than Oil: Trappers, Traders & Settlers of Northern Alberta”. Years ago, she gave me a signed copy and I wish I had taken more time to talk about the stories found within its pages. But what strikes me is just how determined and passionate people have been about our region for centuries. Her book did an incredible job of showcasing these stories and capturing them for generations to come.

As the first person in our region to start a magazine and newspaper, I dedicate our work in 2019 to her - Mrs. Frances Jean - and her legacy. Also for paving the way for a female publisher such as myself. I would like to personally recognize the exceptional work by Dawn Booth in her preparation of the work you’ll read in this edition beginning on page 21. I would like to also thank Mrs. Jean’s family for their willingness to share their memories, photographs, and words with us to be able to share them with you. We’re grateful for your time, efforts and love.

This edition also features a lot of other great stories about efforts to sustain local initiatives, grow our local economy and so much more. You’ll also notice we have changed our formatting to allow for a presenting edition partner, and I would like to thank John Wilson and his company Hedco Group for supporting our work to continue to tell the stories of the people who live, work and play here. Syncrude Canada also stepped up to be the presenting partner of our Environment Section. Thank you for sharing your stories of the ground-breaking and innovative environmental initiatives and leadership you are taking in our region.

We have been in operations for seven years now and it truly takes a village to get each and every one of these publications into your hands. Nothing is more local however, than you, reading this publication, and we thank our readers for their continued patronage and support. Every edition is a labour of love by our team, for you, our reader. I suspect that was the drive behind Mrs. Jean’s very first editions too, and I’m happy to say that the legacy to provide insights into life in our region will continue for years to come.


Krista Balsom

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