PRINCEVILLE - John Walter McClain, 87, of Princeville, Ill., passed away peacefully at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 24, 2014, at Heddington Oaks Nursing Home in West Peoria.
John was born on March 4, 1927, in Thomasville, Ga., to Daniel and Jesse (Caison) McClain. He married Loretta Louise Collins in September of 1948, and to that union four children were born, Byron, Lamar, Yolanda and Jocelyn.
John was a Navy veteran, serving during World War II.
John was an architect by profession. He laid the groundwork for the urban renewal which the District of Columbia is currently experiencing. Specifically, he was responsible for the location of subway stops which ultimately led to a dramatic increase in urban revitalization.
John was an avid golfer. He sustained an injury while working at 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. This injury left him unable to swing a golf club with his right hand. He taught himself to golf left-handed and excelled.
John always had a book in his hand. Other hobbies included archery, bridge, bowling and piloting a plane.
Beyond his family, his true passion was the 19th Street Baptist Church, where he served as a trustee for 48 years. He used his architectural skills to renovate the church. His stunning design of three crosses placed behind the pulpit was one of his most cherished contributions to the church.
John leaves to cherish his precious memories his devoted and loving wife of 65 years, Loretta McClain; his son, Lamar (and Kimberly) McClain of New Carrolton, Md.; his daughters, Yolanda (and Glennwood) Branche of Washington, D.C., and Jocelyn (and Dexter) McClain Hazlewood, M.D., of Princeville, Ill.; six grandchildren, Erin, Natalie, Lauren, Kyle, Cameo and Hudson; and two sisters, Audrey Brown and Ophelia Shelton.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Byron LaNear McClain; and one sister, Urnestine.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Simons Mortuary, with a visitation beginning at 10 a.m. The Rev. Eddie Jackson will officiate. John will be laid to rest in Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Ill., on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of John McClain may be given to the
, 4234 N. Knoxville Ave., Peoria, IL 61614-7435 or at www.cancer.org/donate.
Simons Mortuary has been entrusted with arrangements.
Online condolences may be made to simonsmortuary.com.