Birute Vailokaitis McClain CHARLOTTE - Mrs. McClain, 93, passed away Thursday, May 29, 2014, at her home in Charlotte. She was in the company of her loving family. Born May 24, 1921, in Kaunas, Lithuania, she was the second of four children to Jonas and Aleksandra Vailokaitis. She immigrated to the United States in 1939 and resided in Vineland, New Jersey until 1960, when she moved with her husband Bill and four children to Charlotte, North Carolina. Birute McClain was truly a renaissance woman: she exercised her innate talents through painting, wood carving, sculpture, costume design, and a variety of other artistic pursuits. For over 60 years she created hand-made Christmas ornaments depicting various fables, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales, which were once displayed in the Bank of America lobby. She was effortlessly imaginative, writing children's stories and creating an entire collection of original and personalized stuffed animals for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her ability to turn ordinary rocks into rock candy convinced younger family members, if not the scientific community, of her magical powers. She also completed a novel, an excerpt of which was published in the 2001 Novello Festival story collection. Birute was generous with her time, and was an active volunteer with Charlotte Children's Theater and a devoted parishioner of St. Gabriel Catholic Church for over forty years. She loved animals, and raised dogs, birds, ducks, and sheep. But most of all she was a selfless, loving, and devoted mother, to her own children as well as her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband Mr. William P. McClain, her son Mr. Dennis McClain, and her siblings Mrs. Danute Mosinskis and Mr. John Vail. She is survived by her sister Mrs. Ramute Backer; son Dr. Gary McClain and his wife Kathy; son Mr. Peter McClain and his wife Mary; daughter Ms. Rebecca McClain and her husband Allan Newcomb; daughter-in-law Ms. Maria McClain; and her fourteen grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren. A service to celebrate Mrs. McClain's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 4th in the small chapel at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 3016 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC. The interment in the St. Gabriel columbarium will immediately follow the ceremony. A reception will be held at the McClain residence (2312 Cloister Dr., Charlotte, NC) following the service. For those wishing to send memorial gifts, please consider the Holy Angels of North Carolina (http://www.holyangelsnc.org). Condolences may be offered at www.HarryandBryantFuneralHome.com.
Published in Charlotte Observer on June 2, 2014