John Ervin McClain

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

John Ervin McClain, 90, passed away Sept. 13, 2013, after an illness of a few short months. He was born on March 11, 1923, to parents, John Elmer and Eathel Wilson McClain in Austin, Mo. John was raised on a farm where he was the youngest of five boys who learned to love hunting and fishing at a young age. He attended elementary school with seven other boys in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1942, he graduated from Garden City High School where he earned the nickname "Lightning."

Following high school, John was turned down from the Armed Services several times due to high blood pressure. Finally, in 1954, after working at the Harrisonville City Power Plant, he was accepted into the Army when a recruiter told him he looked like a "fighting SOB." He served on the border patrol in Texas and later was a motor technician mechanic at General MacArthur's Headquarter's (GHQ) serving in the occupation of Japan in Tokyo.

John moved to Harrisonville, Mo., where he worked for his brothers, Jack and Jim, in the McClain Brother's Electric Shop. He courted and later married Betty Ruth Davis on February 16, 1947. John and Betty were happily married for 63 years, and raised one son, Scott, and two daughters, Debby and Ginny.

In 1950, John and his brother A.D. moved to Appleton City and began McClain Brothers Electric. There they followed R.E.A. though the country bringing electricity to country homes. After seven years, they moved to Nevada where they found the quail hunting so good, that they decided to stay, and changed their name to Nevada Electric Company. They operated their business 35 years until retirement.

John was an avid outdoorsman and loved fishing, quail hunting, raising and training pointer bird dogs, field trialing, and Tennessee walking horses. After family, his greatest loves were, "a good bird dog pup and a good fishing rod." Over the years, John raised bird dogs and competed with them in field trials, filling one room of their Nevada home with trophies. One highlight came in 1982 when his pointer, McClain's Belle Star, won the National American Field Trial Futurity Championship.

He was a member of The United Methodist Church, 60-year member of the Masonic Osage Lodge No. 303 of Nevada, lifetime member of Nevada BPO Elks No. 564, retired member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 95, and an active member of three bridge clubs and an afternoon pitch group.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Eathel; his wife, Betty; and four brothers, A.D., Jim, Cliff, and Jack McClain. He is survived by his son, Scott and wife Barb of Nevada; two daughters, Debby Grizzle and husband Joe of Webb City, and Ginny Cline and husband Steve of Miami, Okla.; grandchildren, Brock McClain, Tegan Hawks, Tyler Cline, Emily Cline, and Breanna Hoppal; and one great-granddaughter, Campbell Hawks, who was born on John's 90th birthday.

John had many friends who will remember him for his honesty, good nature and kind heart. He lived a long and full life and will never be forgotten by those who loved him. John once spoke of the song, "I'll Meet You by the River," as a message of where we will all meet again one day. When that day comes, you can bet we will take our fishing poles.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. today at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with the Rev. Bill Smith officiating. Interment will follow in Newton Burial Park, Nevada. The family will receive friends from 1-2 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the service. Friends may call until the hour of service at the funeral home.

Those who wish may contribute in his memory to the Christmas Basket Fund in care of the Nevada Elks Lodge No. 564 or in care of Ferry Funeral Home.

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