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Alzheimer's Association of West Michigan
2944 Fuller NE #101
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
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Life Story / Obituary
Lloyd McClain lived with the utmost dedication and commitment in everything he did. A man of his word, Lloyd held fast to his values and he took the initiative wherever there was a need. He was a very ambitious, outgoing man, and through his work and social involvements he was a friend of many. Dear to his heart was the family entrusted to his care, his faith, and his passion for leading by example and helping young people was without end. With ways all his own, Lloyd touched the hearts of those who knew and loved him, and for these things and so much more, he will be dearly missed.
Lloyd’s story began on a typical, Michigan winter’s day in 1926. Exciting times in the U.S., it was the heyday of the Roaring Twenties, when Big Bands were king, and Prohibition was law of the land. Major U.S. manufacturers were implementing the beginning of the eight hour, five day work week, and factory towns were flourishing. Yet for Harold B. and Wilamina P. (Fatum) McClain who hailed from the village of Reed City, the bustling, nearby city of Grand Rapids, Michigan had much to offer. With their young daughter in tow, they moved to the Grand Rapids area, making a life there. Before long on December 9, 1926, they welcomed the birth of their son, Lloyd H. McClain who joined his older sister, Lorrain.
Merely a toddler at two years old, life took an unexpected turn for young Lloyd, his mother and sister when his father left the family. Left to raise two children alone, Lloyd’s mother did the best she could supporting their household as a housekeeper for others in the community. They made their home in the Riverside area of Grand Rapids on the city’s northeast side where Lloyd enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation. Times were indeed troublesome with the onset of the Great Depression as financial uncertainty plagued everyone from coast to coast.
While growing up, Lloyd and his family never experienced any real vacations, yet holidays spent with extended family made for enjoyable times. A very social young man, Lloyd enjoyed many friendships during his youth. He attended the local schools where he participated in baseball and football until graduating from Creston High School in 1947. Not to be forgotten during Lloyd’s high school days was the young girl who forever changed his heart, Mary Jane Brock. Quite smitten with her beautiful red hair, one day she wore a blue coat and Lloyd mentioned to her how much he liked the color blue, no matter the shade. From that dubious first conversation, Lloyd and Mary Jane soon began dating.
While in high school, Lloyd was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corp, serving in Okinawa as an airplane mechanic during World War II. He and Mary Jane kept in contact through correspondence until Lloyd was called home to care for his ailing mother. With that and the war’s end, Lloyd never had to report back for duty.
Picking up where they left off, Lloyd also returned home to his sweetheart, Mary Jane. They were soon married on October 29, 1948 at North Park Presbyterian Church and they planned on a honeymoon at Niagara Falls, but their car broke down. Even so, that very day began their new lives as husband and wife which came to include 67 wonderful years of abiding love and devotion.
In time Lloyd and Mary Jane began a family of their own with the birth of their son, Michael and 6 years later daughter, Michele followed. A good, devoted family man, Lloyd supported his family working as a salesman for W.W. Grainger Inc., a supplier of industrial supplies where he remained for 30 years. In 1959 they built their family home on Well Street NE in North Park where they lived for many years. They were faithful members of Faith Lutheran Church and through the years they enjoyed several family trips including horseback riding in the Grand Canyon and visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah. They also enjoyed their timeshare in St. Pete's Beach, Florida where numerous memories were made and enjoyed. Lloyd also took his family to Boston and walked the Freedom Trail, and together they loved the sport of skiing.
Lloyd was very involved in the lives of his children. As a father he served as a great role model, and in several other capacities. When Michele and Michael became involved with youth groups, Lloyd took an active role in these endeavors. He had a heart for young people, first as an Indian Guide at the YMCA, and eventually he served as an example and leader with the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Jobs Daughters, and with DeMolay Masonic youth. Lloyd invested much of his time serving the learning experiences of young people as a well respected mentor. If trips were planned with any of the groups, Lloyd was sure to travel with them. For many years he was an involved and extremely active member of the Masonic Lodge.
In 1986 Lloyd and Mary Jane became members at Sandy Pines where they could unwind and relax. They enjoyed many family get-togethers there entertaining family and friends alike making for great times and memories. A meat and potatoes kind of man, Lloyd didn’t care much for pasta, pizza, or cooking in general. He especially liked food from the grill particularly while at Sandy Pines.
At home or at Sandy Pines, Lloyd loved to tinker. He was good with his hands and he considered tinkering one of his greatest hobbies. He could take most anything and find a way to make it work or improve it. Some of his most prized possessions included the tools he often used. Lloyd also liked keeping up with current events and at home he could often be found reading the newspaper. His favorite music genre by far, the big band sounds of his youth, brought back the sweetest of memories for Lloyd. Since his younger years he always had a desire to take trombone lessons. He checked into it and attempted it a time or two, but other responsibilities and his love for working alongside youth was his priority.
Lloyd McClain gave it his all and then some. He was dedicated in all he did, and his service to youth was unending as he put his heart and soul into helping them. Lloyd never knew a stranger as he cultivated lasting friendships. Outgoing and very social, it was a joy to share his company with his exuberant nature and uncanny jokes. Most of all, Lloyd counted his family and faith as a treasure. Although deeply missed, Lloyd will be fondly remembered for all that he was, all that he gave, and more.
Mr. Lloyd H. McClain, age 89, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Thursday March 24, 2016. Lloyd is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Jane; his children, Michele (Steven) Pierson, Michael (Barbara) McClain; grandchildren, Stephanie Pierson, Adam Pierson, Brent (Amanda) McClain, Julia (Joe) Vanderstelt; great-grandchildren, Carly, Cassidy, Alexis, Alexander. The funeral service will be held on Monday, March 28, 2016, 7:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends are invited to meet with his family on Monday, March 28, from 6:00 PM until the time of the service at 7:30 PM. Contributions in Lloyd’s memory to Alzheimer’s Association are appreciated. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Lloyd and to sign his online guestbook.