Aline McClain

Aline McClain She was not expected to live. She was a "blue baby" born in Indiana in 1919 during the flu pandemic, delivered with forceps by a doctor who thought she would not live and was trying to save her mother. The baby's aunt picked her up and spanked her. She cried. The doctor was wrong by almost 94 years. She was named Aline Elizabeth Thorpe. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky with her mother, Edith, her stepfather, Howard Martin, and three younger siblings, Howard Lee, Gene Bruce, and Judy. She first worked as a taster for Seagram's Distillery. At the start of World War II she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. She was one of the first women Marines assigned to Camp Pendleton. She was honorably discharged in 1945 and moved to San Francisco to work for United Airlines where she met Franklin McClain. They were married in 1948 and moved to Mill Valley where they raised their children. Aline loved Mill Valley and Marin and spent much of her life working to protect open space. She launched the first successful recall of a county supervisor in California and helped elect Peter Behr to the Board of Supervisors. She worked on the "Save Our Seashore" campaign to preserve Point Reyes, fought against the Marincello development on what is now the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and worked on the "Save Horse Hill" committee to protect 34 acres of open space in the Alto Bowl. She worked on numerous supervisorial campaigns. She also served on the Marin County Parks and Recreation Commission and was a member of the Marin Council for Civic Affairs, the Marin Conservation League, and a lifetime member of the San Francisco Marines Memorial Club and the mill Valley Outdoor Art Club. She could be a kind and generous friend and a fierce opponent. Her final battle with dementia ended on March 1, 2013, in Novato, California. It was one of the few battles she lost. At her death she had outlived most of her contemporaries, her parents, her husband, and her three younger siblings. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy Blue of Cerulean, Kentucky and her son Tim McClain of Mill Valley. A memorial will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 PM Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club. No donations are requested. However to celebrate her life all you need to do is every now and then appreciate the beauty of Marin. That is her true and lasting legacy.

Published in Marin Independent Journal from Mar. 14 to Mar. 20, 2013