Covering the Land of Lincoln

John McLean Obituary (1935 – 2022) – Amherst, MA

John Marshall McLean

Amherst, MA — John Marshall McLean was born in Ayre, Mass March 13, 1935 to Joseph A. McLean and Caroline (Hopkins) McLean. He was the second of four siblings, Alan, Bob and Anne. He spent his youth becoming a star athlete, played baseball at Middlesex School, went onto both baseball and football careers at Amherst College, where as shortstop, he batted .447 his junior year, and was named to the All-American team in 1957 and ’58. He was recruited to the majors, but chose medical school at the University of North Carolina, a life with his beloved Cindy (Linda Sigrist McLean) and a brood of daughters.

Though the family called him Marshall, in his new life as a doctor, he went by John. He did his residency and internship in neurology at Presbyterian St. Luke’s in the south side of Chicago through the 1960’s, interrupted in 1968 for a medical tour in Vietnam, at the army hospital at Cu Chi. During their time in Chicago, with social unrest only blocks away, Marsh treated patients day and night and did house calls for extra cash. In winter, he and a friend built ice rinks in their apartment building’s courtyard, taught the growing family to skate, and continued building rinks in the front yard after moving the family to West Moss Avenue in Peoria, Illinois in 1972. He had a fulfilling 35-year neurological practice there, was much beloved by his patients who sent gifts and letters at holidays for decades, thanking him for tireless trips to the ER in the middle of the night. He chaired the Neurology Department at the University of Illinois Medical School, taught and mentored countless young doctors, and somehow squeezed in publishing lauded, scholarly articles in New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Neurosurgery, and others. He was a baker, (crafty) donut maker, competitive tennis player, runner, rock collector, dog lover, environmental activist, and asparagus farmer. He will be remembered by many as the doctor for the Peoria Manual high school football team through the 1980-90’s, where his girls all attended, in the fall appearing weekly on the sideline in his old floppy army hat, he and the hat known as a good luck charm to the players.

Marsh and Cindy were active in Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Peoria Food Bank. He found a passion for pottery later in life, studied ceramics at Bradley University and with experts across the US, became an accomplished ceramic artist, another re-inventing of himself. He and Cindy moved to Massachusetts in 2014 and she died four years later. Without her, he moved into Applewood in Amherst, Mass, where he started a new life again among wonderful new friends and loved ones. He moved between Amherst and his residence at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire and traveled widely in the last two years of his life.

His life was entirely dedicated to Cindy, his daughters, and grandkids, but he was one for constant self-improvement via a life-long love of reading. He endlessly marked up and shared articles, books, and favorite words with friends and family even into his last days. He died on July 20, 2022 in Amherst, Mass with his family around him. He is survived by brother Alan McLean, and daughters Betsy of Crieff, Scotland, Robin of central Nevada, Deborah (Stephen) of Sunderland, Mass, and Kimberly (Steve) of Dunbarton, New Hampshire, and many loving grandchildren, Marshall, Carlyn, Sophie, Katie, Jonathan, Benjamin, Leo, and Ella. He was adored by all and will be missed terribly.

His Celebration of Life service will be held at 1pm on September 17, 2022 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst in Amherst, MA. In lieu of flowers please consider donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice Fisher Home of Amherst, MA or any community organization doing important work for people that need it.

Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Aug. 17, 2022.

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