Robert William McLean of Hardwick passed away peacefully at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke on May 7, 2022, just three days before his 91st birthday. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Jean (Powers) McLean, his loving children, Mary Alice McLean and her husband Michael Reese of Rockland, Maine, Elizabeth McLean of Thomaston, Maine, Matthew McLean of Boston, Mark McLean and his wife Rachel of Marlborough, and Kim McLean of Portland, Maine. He also leaves his four cherished grandsons, Mitchell McLean of Somerville, Kyle McLean, of Marlborough, Dylan and Jason Reese, both of Rockland Maine, and many much-loved nieces and nephews.
Robert was born in Sterling Massachusetts, the son of Mae Ada (Channin) and William McLean. He was preceded in death by his sisters Marjorie Foley, Winifred Cummings, and Dora Schenk, his brother Arthur and his first wife, Carol Smith.
Robert graduated from Worcester Junior College, earned a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from the University of Denver, and an MBA from Northeastern University. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was a combat veteran of the Korean War, earning several distinguished medals.
Robert spent his entire career in food service and hospitality management, in many capacities from restaurants to institutional food service, to consulting for private schools, and teaching at Northeastern University and Framingham State University. In 2001, he retired after a 20-year career as plant manager at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield CT. Robert and Jean owned and operated the Hardwick General Store from 1985 – 2000 where they met many friends and neighbors and joyfully catered many local events.
Robert had many interests, but he was passionate about his pets, especially his beloved dogs. He enjoyed playing tennis, gardening, cooking, and canning his bountiful crops. He loved spending time with family and friends both in Hardwick and at their summer home in Ocean Park, Maine. He and Jean loved to travel, and they especially enjoyed visiting his ancestral home in Scotland. When his children were young, he loved taking them on cross country camping trips, whipping up gourmet meals over campfires in national parks.
Robert was an active member of the Episcopal Church. He served as the Western Mass. Representative to the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., he was elected to the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and he was an active communicant at All Saints Church. Robert joined with other religious groups to travel to Alabama to walk with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in the famous 1965 Civil Rights march. Typical of Robert's thoughtful generosity, he carried hundreds of sandwiches stuffed into knapsacks to give out to his tired and hungry fellow marchers. He was a Mason and an active member of Hardwick's First Friday group.
The family would like to thank the wonderful and devoted staff at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke for their excellent and compassionate care for Robert for the past four and a half years and Senator Anne Gobi for her tireless advocacy on behalf of Robert and all veterans.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 14 at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 10 Irving St. Worcester, MA. A reception will follow in the church hall, all are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Leader Dogs for the Blind, 1039 S Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307.