Gary E. McLean, Sr. passed away unexpectedly on his homestead on September 5, 2013.
Gary was born in Puyallup, WA during the annual Daffodil Parade. One of six children, his father died when Gary was only ten years old. This made being a constant presence in the lives of his children and grandchildren very personal and important. He shared a wealth of great stories and adventures that will be passed on for generations.
One of Gary’s brothers and a cousin of Barbara’s introduced them on a blind date. He wasn’t looking for a wife, but always told the children the minute he saw her that she would be his wife. And two months and nine days later, on March 29, 1973, they eloped to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho along with Barbara’s sister Margie as a witness. And the adventures soon began.
They came to Alaska with a 13 month old and one month old babies, driving the rocky Alcan in a Chevy Nova with a bassinette in the back seat and luggage, highchair and a nephew’s dirt bike tied down in the trunk. Gary lived in Alaska for 38 years, also living in Juneau for a time.
Gary worked a variety of jobs before taking the family to the woods and homesteading along the Tanana River. He was at peace with the world there and it seems only fitting he died there.
Always proud of his homesteading and agricultural heritage, this staunch Scotch/Irishman began seriously growing produce for sale at the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market. This after he was supposed to be retired from the Department of Corrections, retiring in 1999. Peas and carrots had to meet his expectations – or they didn’t go to market.
Gary was a former United States Marine in Vietnam. The unwelcomed homecoming was a constant hurt. He wasn’t an easy man to know, but he was well worth knowing. His handshake always firm.
His family always came first. He cherished his wife and indulged her “social season” at the Farmer’s Market. His buttons would pop at the great pride he had for his three children, Gary Jr., Brandy Lynn, and Kyle. He instilled his work ethic of hard work in each one. He was able to know all eight grandchildren and hoped for great things from them. He again shared his stories, recipe for “magic soup”, and introduced the “Tickle Machine”.
We will forever miss him but he lives on in each one of us. We hope we’re deserving of the honor.
Gary is survived by his wife, Barbara of Southbank Homestead; sons, Gary E. McLean, Jr. of Glendale, Arizona and Kyle M. McLean of Fairbanks, AK; daughter, Brandy Lynn McLean of Delta Junction, AK; grandchildren, Gary E. III, Samuel A. and Aila W. McLean of Glendale, AZ, Morgen and Codey McLean of Delta Junction, AK, and Barbara R., Kyle Jr. and Charlybelle McLean of Fairbanks, AK; brother, Rory (Christine) McLean of Puyallup, WA; sister, Penny Lindell of Anchorage, AK and three other brothers of Washington state.
He was preceded in death by his father, Donald D. McLean and mother, Daisy E. (Doyle) McLean; and also one nephew and a niece.
A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, September 13, 2013 at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home at 12:00 noon. Private burial services will be held later that day in Delta Junction.
Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.