At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
A youth organization of your choice
Mary spent many hours volunteering for the various organizations that her children were involved with. Please consider a donation to help other children. Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Church Youth Groups etc...
Life Story / Obituary
Gracious, kindhearted, and compassionate are just a few of the words that describe what an extraordinary woman Mary McClain was. However, perhaps the word that paints the most accurate picture of her is the word selfless. Mary was the sort of person who saw a need and would jump right in to take care of it while expecting nothing in return. She was deeply devoted to her family, and there was nothing that made her more proud than witnessing her family tree blossom to include the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren she adored. Although she will be deeply missed, Mary leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The year 1929 is often remembered as the year that the historic crash of the stock market sent our nation and much of the world spiraling down into the depths of the Great Depression. Although the 1920s were prosperous years, the 1930s were drastically different as a soaring unemployment rate was felt by countless families nationwide. It was just prior to this historic day in 1929 that Royal and Alice (Crocker) Brock were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Mary Jane on February 3rd that year. She was the older of two children as she was ten years older than her sister, Betty Lou.
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mary was a young girl of her generation. She spent her earliest years in the Greenville area, but she later moved to the North Park area of Grand Rapids. Because her father managed a roller rink in Greenville she often skated, which she loved. Mary’s parents were rather strict, but she was a good kid and was very much a daddy’s girl. Some of her best memories were made when they went hunting together. Throughout her entire life, Mary had a special place in her heart for her “daddy,” although she was deeply saddened with his death when he was only in his fifties. As a family, they attended North Park Presbyterian Church, and she attended local elementary schools before graduating from Creston High School.
Not to be forgotten during her years in high school was Mary’s introduction to the man of her dreams. His name was Lloyd McClain, and although he was a couple of years older he couldn't’ help but notice Mary’s bright red hair. They began dating, but they were soon forced to correspond only through letter while Lloyd was serving in the Army during WWII. Their relationship remained strong, and when he retired they picked up right where they left off. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Mary and Lloyd were married on October 29, 1948, at Mary’s church. They settled in the North Park area, which is the area they called home for nearly their entire marriage with the bulk of their years being spent in their home on Wells Street. Mary had taken some secretarial classes at Davenport, and as a result she had a few secretarial jobs over the years including at Kirby Vacuums and Artcraft.
First and foremost in her life was Mary’s family. Together she and Lloyd welcomed two children, Michael and Michele, into their hearts and home. Although she worked part time, Mary was an active part of her children’s lives. Anything they were involved in she was a part of as she was forever volunteering with their activities. She was in their school’s PTA, organizing carnivals, room activities, and decorations at school, and for years she was a Girl Scout leader. Mary supported Lloyd as a leader with the Masonic youth groups, and she was named Mom of the Year. Content to be behind the scenes, she was also active in church programs and activities at Faith Lutheran Church. Mary didn’t need to be in the spotlight, but she did enjoy a little recognition for her efforts from time to time.
As a mom Mary loved having kids around and worked hard to make the house a comfortable gathering place for her children and their friends. There were numerous gatherings in their basement and at the pool. Of course Mary always made sure there were plenty of snacks and drinks, too. As a family they had fun on vacations like camping trips, and in the winter they loved skiing throughout Michigan. Because Lloyd often traveled for work, Mary was the one who ran things around the home. Although her kids needed to check in with her, she also gave them their freedom.
Later in life Mary was thrilled to be a grandmother. She watched her grandchildren whenever she could, and she was always more than willing to dote on them. Mary told the best bedtime stories, and just like she had been with her own children she was there to support her grandchildren in their events and activities. They made amazing memories at Sandy Pines where Mary entertained her grandchildren for hours on end. They loved catching butterflies, fishing, and doing various crafts. Mary was also known among her family for her love for all things sweet.
There were many things that kept Mary busy through the years. After learning to sew in high school, she became an excellent seamstress who made her own wedding dress. Mary also mended, tailored, and spent many years working at Bridal Gallery, Cuttlerville Bridal and a boutique in Allegan. Very creative and artistic by nature, she made numerous things, usually giving them away rather than keeping them for herself. Mary enjoyed crafts including flower arrangements, table arrangements, and party favors. During their later years she and Lloyd traveled some together, and they also became reengaged in church and were baptized together at Calvary Church. When Lloyd needed additional care, they sold their home in 2014, and she also dealt with her own deteriorating health as she had both arthritis and neuropathy. In March of 2016, Mary mourned the loss of her husband.
With unending devotion to those around her, Mary McClain was a blessing in the lives of those too numerous to count. It has been said that she did things on her own schedule, but she was always more than wiling to help in whatever way she could. Mary cherished her roles as a wife and mother, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother many times over. Life will never be the same without her here, but she will never be forgotten.
Mary Jane McClain, age 88 of Grand Rapids, passed away on March 17, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Lloyd. Mary is survived by her children Michele (Steven) Pierson, Michael (Barbara) McClain; grandchildren Stephanie Pierson, Adam Pierson, Brent (Amanda) McClain, Julia (Joe) Vanderstelt; great grandchildren Carly, Cassidy, Alexis and Alexander; and sister, Betty Lou Brock. Mary's funeral service will be held on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends may visit with her family from 6 PM until the time of the service. Mary volunteered for several youth organizations as her children were growing up, so in her memory, please consider donating to a youth organization of your choice. To read more about Mary's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com