CANTON - Richard "Dick" McLaren, 80, formerly of Canton, passed away on Thursday, July 17, 2014, at his home in Ellenton, Fla., following a battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Martha (Cross) McLaren, who was at his side during his illness.
Dick was a native of Canton, Ill., and he and Martha moved to Colony Cove, Ellenton, after he retired from Caterpillar Corporation. Dick served Caterpillar as director of employee assistance programs where he implemented groundbreaking work in helping employees overcome drug and alcohol addictions. Throughout his career, Dick helped countless numbers of people overcome drug dependency and return to living healthy and productive lives.
Dick served on the Governor's Task Force on drug use prevention, addiction and family counseling. He was instrumental in establishing mental health agencies throughout Illinois that offered services to people in need.
Dick, along with his wife Mary, was also instrumental in establishing the AA/Al-Anon program in the Canton area. Dick was recognized as an expert in the field of his work, and he conducted nationwide seminars for other professionals in counseling mental health and addictions.
Dick was a military veteran having proudly served our country with the U.S. Army in the Korean War as a platoon sergeant.
He and Martha were active members in the Parish Methodist Church.
As a member of the Colony Cove men's woodworking club, Dick "Dapper Dick" shared his many skills and knowledge helping new members learn the art of woodworking.
He will be missed by many!
He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Mary (Taylor) McLaren, who also battled cancer. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Helen (Rose) McLaren; his brother, Robert McLaren Jr.; and one grandson, Jason Conover.
He is survived by his sister, Joan (David) Grieser of Germantown Hills, Ill. Dick and Mary have four children, all of Canton, Sandy McLaren (Jack Kochevar), Cindy (Randy) Hilton, Rick (Kyp) McLaren, and Marla (Jay) Walker; as well as 10 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at the Masonic Temple, 1165 N. Main St., Canton, on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, from 2 to 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Korean War Veterans Memorial or The