May 17, 1938 - November 20, 2009

In Loving Memory of
James McKernan

This site shall remain as a memorial to Jim McKernan who passed unexpectedly on November 20, 2009. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will endure - both in the hearts and minds of the many lives he touched, and in a decidedly louder (and better for it) Heaven.

Most everything on this site is as he left it, with the exception of the Photo Gallery, the Memorial Notes page and the memorial at the top of this page. If you are family, a former acquaintance or student of The Bush Prof and would like to leave a memorial note of your own, please use the form on the Contact page to submit it.

The Final Flight

Don't grieve for me: for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
to laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I've found that peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with the remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life's been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

Who Is The Bush Prof?

The "Bush Prof", (retired as of April 2008) gained the nickname from his Lakehead University Graduate Education Students (who all were Ontario-qualified elementary and secondary school teachers).

He lives 225 air miles north of the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario on the Eabametoong First Nation reserve. The community, known as Eabamet Lake, is accessible only by small aircraft for 11 months of the year. For one month (if the weather cooperates) there is a "winter or ice" road that winds through the bush and across frozen muskeg and lakes. The drive is hazardous at best, and takes approximately 8 to 12 hours (depending upon weather conditions) to get to the nearest "all-weather" road. From there it is another 7 to 8 hour drive to Thunder Bay.

Jim and his wife live outside the actual community in a log home they built on her family's traditional lands. They travel back and forth by boat, by snowmachine, and during "breakup" and "freeze-up" by carefully navigating the 5 kilometres on foot across the ice and water.

There are no roads, no power lines and no phone lines. Thus, they rely on a solar & wind system (and a back-up generator) to provide power to their home. For several years Jim taught his Lakehead University Special Education courses from his home "in the bush" to students around the world via a Lincsat satellite system.

In point and short form, here's a quick synopsis of his background:

Jim attended elementary and secondary school in and around Niagara Falls, Ontario; studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson in Toronto, Ontario; and studied at and/or graduated from: Hamilton Teachers' College, University of Western Ontario, York University, University of Ottawa, State University of New York at Buffalo, Laurentian University, Brock University and the University of Texas at Austin.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and earned a Bachelor of Education with a concentration in Special Education. He has Special Education Specialist's qualifications with a concentration in Learning Disabilities. He received a Master's of Education with a concentration in Language and Learning and completed two years PhD work which focused on language and learning disabilities. Unfortunately, this was rudely interrupted by a period of a couple of years hooked up to machines just trying to stay alive ... yes, he's also a leukemia survivor.

What Has He Done?

Jim has teaching experience at the elementary, secondary, college and university levels. He has administrative experience as an elementary Principal, a secondary Principal, a post-secondary Department Chair; and several years as a psycho-educational diagnostician.

Since 1961 (wow, that's been a long time!), he has studied and practiced martial arts (Kodokan Judo and Yoshinkan Aikido), and has had many broken noses. He qualified for, and competed in, the World Triathalon Championships in the 1990's (who cares where he finished... just competing was enough!).

During the past number of years he's kept busy by:

  1. setting up Special Education and Program Support programs in four schools (2 elementary and 2 secondary), including helping to open a First Nations' high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario;
  2. teaching for Lakehead University Faculty of Education;
  3. presenting Professional Development workshops; and
  4. just having a great time touring on his motorcycle, going fishing, cutting firewood, cutting logs and building a log sauna and a log workshop.

Since retiring (again) in April 2008, he has kept extremely busy with his assessment and consulting business including filling in temporarily during the absence of a Principal, and over a six-month period, conducting a Comprehensive Education System and School Evaluation for a local School Board.