Robert F. McLean
1923 - 2023
Obituary of Robert F. McLean
Robert Francis Mclean, 100, a decorated WWII veteran of Westernville, New York, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 7, 2023.
Bob was born in Rome, New York on June 20, 1923, the son of the late Paul Gerald and Margaret (Hawkins) McLean of Rome, New York. He was predeceased by brothers James Gerald, a fighter pilot who perished during WWII, and Paul Gerald, both of Rome.
Bob grew up on Floyd Avenue in Rome, New York. He enjoyed camping and fishing with his dad and brothers along the Mohawk River. The family owned a horseback riding academy where they specialized in gaited saddlebred horses. Bob especially enjoyed teaching lessons and trail riding with his mother. He attended St. Aloysius Academy and graduated from Rome Free Academy in Rome N.Y. where he played on the first RFA varsity hockey team.
At eighteen, Bob answered the call of duty to serve his country during World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December of 1942. He was invited to join the Navy Seals yet declined and enrolled in the U.S.N. Patrol Torpedo Boat School in Melville, R.I. Upon graduation Bob was assigned to Squadron 30, destined for the European Theatre of Operations. Shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, his squadron became the outermost fighter convoy of the Normandy Invasion. The largest force ever assembled included his Patrol Torpedo Boat 461, a fighter escort. The successful operation ultimately led to an allied victory in Europe. Bob valiantly participated in the fall of Le Havre, France. He received a Bronze Star for combat operations, and the Presidential Citation for his squadron's heroic rescue work in the English Channel during the Battle of the Bulge. He also took part in the liberation of the Channel Islands off the coast of France. The French Secretary of State awarded Bob with a medal and honorable recognition. He also received the Medal For Merit from the Adjutant General, State of New York Commander of all Military and Naval Forces. In appreciation of his service, Bob was awarded seven additional medals of honor and honorably discharged in January 1946.
In 2015, Bob became a member of Honor Flight Syracuse Mission, where he flew to Washington D.C. and received special recognition from the U. S. House of Representatives for his valiant service during WWII. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans invited Bob to participate as a special consultant for their inaugural PT Boat Exhibition in 2016. Bob’s personal narrative of camaraderie, battle, and survival has been recorded in the United States Library of Congress (The Robert F. McLean Collection) as part of the Veterans Oral History Project. In 2016, The New York State Senate inducted Bob into the Veteran’s Hall of Fame in Albany, New York.
After serving his country, Bob graduated from Hackley Preparatory School, Terrytown, N.Y. and from Utica College of Syracuse University. He became employed in sales for the Rome Cable Corporation, and later he enjoyed many successful years as a sales executive with Thomas & Betts Company, the largest electrical fittings manufacturer in the world.
On June 24, 1962 he married Carol Elizabeth O’Brien, daughter of Dr, David and Emma O’Brien of Oswego, N.Y. They enjoyed fifty beautiful years together traveling, skiing, golfing, playing bridge, and dancing to Glen Miller until Carol’s passing in 2013.
Bob was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lee Center, N.Y., and a member of the Knights of Christ the King, and the Elks Club. He was well known for his illuminating smile and sense of humor. Bob was an excellent tennis player, golfer and 75-year member of Teugega Country Club, where he won numerous golf tournaments, reveled in his holes-in-one, and enjoyed the camaraderie of many friends over the years. He was a long-time member of Lake Delta Yacht Club as well. Bob loved the lake where people would often see him waterskiing or hanging out on his dock with family. Bob boated on the lake until he was 99. He skied black diamonds at Gore Mountain until age 97, and was a founding member of the Griffiss Ski Club. He also enjoyed horseback riding, camping at Raquette Lake, fishing, traveling the world, and, most of all, spending time with his wife, Carol, children, grandchildren, and his beloved dogs, cats, and horse.
Surviving are a daughter, Margaret McLean, of Scituate, MA, a son and daughter-in-law, Robert II and Aimee McLean of Honeoye Falls, N.Y. Bob treasured his seven grandchildren: Sarah, David, and Katherine Barcomb, and Emma, Madeleine, Aiden, and Jack McLean.
On 7/4/76 Bob wrote the following: “Future generations will enjoy the labors of improving on the records of their forebears. We look around us today and wonder how improvements will be made, knowing positively many will come, but how and from whom is beyond our immediate vision. The past generations have demonstrated the family trait of virtue and honor. The tasks of the future will be demanding on our descendants.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, October 14th at 12:00 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Lee Center. Interment will take place in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Oneida. Family and friends are invited to call at Nunn and Harper Funeral Home, Inc., 418 N. George St., Rome, NY 13440, on Friday, October 13th from 5-7:00 p.m.
You may view the obituary and send a message of sympathy at www.nunnandharper.com.