The Chronicle

John Eagleton Mclain

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Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:09 pm

Born a farm boy on January 28, 1919, John Eagleton McLain began running cattle and plowing fields with a team of horses near Cope Creek in Jackson County, Sylva, N.C.  The oldest boy of six children, he helped support the family after his father was injured in a rail road accident in the late 1920’s.  In 1937  John left home to defend his country and proudly served in the U.S. Navy.  A Chief Machinist’s Mate, he served on the USS San Francisco during battles at Pearl Harbor and Savo Island in the Solomon Islands and was also on the USS Cassin Young at Okinawa during World War II.  He continued his military career, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer from the Navy in 1958.

Along the way he met, married and cherished Helen Puskar until her death in 1989.  Their 40 plus years together was a partnership of joy, laughter and mutual respect.

His love of ships and duty brought John to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., in the 1960’s where he worked as a Planner & Estimator.  John was also a passionate outdoorsman – hunting and fishing his entire life; exposing his family to the wonders of nature through vacations filled with sleeping bags, tents and fishing poles.

John and Helen raised their three children with a sense of duty and public service, a love of nature, and respect for the land.

After Helen’s death, John met and married Mary Banner of Spruce Pine, N.C.  She put the sparkle back in his eyes and he was devoted to her, until she too passed away after more than a decade of marriage.  John returned to the Pacific Northwest and Centralia, Wash., to be closer to his children, all living in Western Washington and Oregon.

John Eagleton McLain left us at age 93 on April 3, 2012.  He is survived by his children, their spouses and his grand-children; two brothers; nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and even great-great-nieces and nephews, along with many friends.

We miss his quick wit, smile, fortitude and ever engaging, amazing stories.

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