It is with sadness that we must announce that long-time La Canada resident Donald Roderic (Don) McLain passed away on November 12, 2021, at the age of 92 years.
Bright and thoughtful to the end, Don had coped with dwindling strength for some months. He was hospitalized near La Cañada Flintridge, California, his home of 50 years, and he succumbed after a brief illness.
He has gone to be with his one and only love, Mary Wood McLain, his beloved wife of 55 years.
Born in Huntsville Alabama, February 26, 1929, the son of Felix B. and Elizabeth McLain, and brother of Corrine Nelson, he is survived by his son, Robert Felix; his daughter, Virginia; and his grandchildren, Jessica, Mary Morgan, Mason, and Robert Donald.
Known for his sharp intellect and “wicked” wit, he loved automobiles and arcane science — the first toy he bought his son was a blackboard — and would occasionally be found sleeping through video lectures on mathematics, dark-matter and black holes. An engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, he met Mary while in school in Atlanta.
He served as a Lieutenant in the Navy and relocated to California when his service was complete. He moved to La Cañada Flintridge in the 1960’s to join the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When the aerospace industry contracted in the 1970’s, he transitioned into industrial equipment sales, where he worked until his retirement.
He shared his love of the outdoors with his family and spent many years hiking and fishing in the Sierras, often in the Bishop Creek area which he particularly loved. He loved to garden and was proud of the four La Cañada Valley Beautiful Awards he and Mary received.
He passed his love of cars on to anyone who would pause to talk, and still insisted, at the age of 90, that he was going to get back out to the garage to “fix that Mustang.”
He and Mary were fond of their evening martini, and this week “children” and friends of all ages have shared a memorial martini in memory of our beloved Mary and Don. We will miss them both terribly.
A memorial service is planned for March of this year, when he will be interred with Mary in her family plot in Henderson, Kentucky.