We'd all like to think that when our time on this earth comes to an end that we'll be given a chance to die with our boots on, or at least that's what the ol' saying would have us hoping for. When our friend and long-time field editor, Dan McKain passed away on May 17, he left us quietly while doing something that he truly loved-taking photos.
For more years than anyone in our office can recall, the freelance team of Dan and Gini McKain have been regular contributors to Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine. Like the sunset, you could always count on this couple to deliver, as they had a knack of finding the unique or unusual story that wasn't normally found too close to the beaten path.
While on assignment Dan passed away peacefully with his camera on his lap-not a bad way for a photographer to go.
"I was along for the ride and enjoyed his passion and desire to see new things and photograph them," remembers Gini. "He was my mentor and he did live life to the fullest to the very last day. How fortunate some of us can live life and die doing what we love, rather than ending up in a nursing home somewhere."
Even at the age of 76, Dan continued to improve and learn. As a current student at Louisiana State University, he never lost his desire to learn. He was also a student of the industry and will be surely missed for his dedication to the marine field. He was respected by his colleagues for his straightforwardness, fairness and his knowledge of the boating industry. He had the natural curiosity and ability to make quick friends with strangers, which is why he was so successful as a journalist.
Dan left some big shoes to fill and those past contributions will become more and more appreciated as we move forward as a magazine. But the greatest loss for me has little to do with the work-side of this equation, but has more to do with the friendship lost. I will miss our phone conversations. These were the calls that started with business, but always ended with him talking about my life with his sincere desire to know how my family was doing.
I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with Dan and Gini over the years and nothing will be able to fill the void in our hearts that Dan's passing has left. On May 26, in accordance with Dan's wishes, his ashes were spread over Lake Martin in Louisiana in the heart of Cajun Country. His service was held at a place where the couple had enjoyed many sunsets, while photographing the moss hanging from the trees and the beautiful colors reflecting the sky.
A civil engineer by profession, Dan got hooked on photography while covering a fire in Cincinnati for the Associated Press some 50 years ago. He was born on September 15, 1931 in Milford, Del and was a U.S. Army veteran.
Rest in peace in my friend.