Vincent P. McLaren

 

Born in Fargo, North Dakota on June 29, 1939 to Leo & Pauline Drayton McLaren in the family home built by his parents from a Montgomery Ward catalogue kit, Vincent Perry McLaren was the youngest of four children – Ruth, Jay, and Jean.  There was quite an age gap between the first and last child and Vince remembered his sister Ruth going to college when he was in the 3rd grade.

 

He loved recounting that his first solid food was a doughnut, which explained much about his fondness for pastries and sweets later in life.  Vince’s penchant for “mischief,” as he called it, began early in life.  He relayed some of his favorite childhood memories which included crawling through the neighbor’s tomato vines on his elbows with a salt shaker in his back pocket.  Near the 4th of July one year, he thought it would be fun to take some Lady Finger fire crackers, put them under an open tin can, and watch the can go up and over the telephone lines.  After watching this several times, he wondered how much higher it would go if he put 3 fire crackers into the can, but was surprised when the it vaporized and his fingers were all intact.  Another often repeated story concerned a widow lady on the block that would watch for children stepping foot on her lawn to then race out and shout and wag a finger at them to get off of her grass.  Vince would walk along the sidewalk and edge one foot onto the grass and back onto the sidewalk again quickly just to get a reaction (which he never failed to get).  It was also in childhood that Vince developed his signature whistle, guaranteed to get quick attention and clear out ear wax!  In later life it served him well, whether calling children in to dinner, signaling others to an emergency, or imitating a “piccolo Pete” on the 4th of July.

 

Vince, or “Pat” as he was known until college, was musically inclined from an early age and was hand selected to be part of the Bishop’s choir at church.  In his later school years, he was faced with the dilemma whether to choose football or be in the concert band.  His music teacher challenged him to think about how he could play football for a couple of years, or play trumpet for the rest of his life – he went with music, playing trumpet and singing in Glee Club.  While in Shanley High School, Vince was invited by the police department to participate in local gun safety and he became a charter member of the Fargo Junior Rifle Club.  He taught many of his peers how to target shoot, and inspired an incoming class of women to hone their target skills as well.

 

When he was at college learning accounting, he did surprisingly well in his courses given that, as once called out by a professor, he never read the assigned texts.  During this time, he and several of his friends were turned down for dates on Friday and Saturday nights simply because they weren’t part of a fraternity.  To solve this, they created their own fraternal order, complete with t-shirts with the blazing insignia of GDI, known to themselves as the “Gosh Darned Independents,” (which they may have phrased slightly differently).  Not only did they begin getting dates reliably, upon visiting the campus some years later, they were surprised to find that the GDIs were the largest social club on campus. It was at about this time that he began a job that started his life-long love of driving, but also put his accounting skills to use.  He worked delivering school busses throughout the mid-west region, learning invaluable defensive and inclement weather driving skills, but also made extra money by purchasing margarine on his outbound trips, and delivering and upselling the product where it was unavailable and in high demand on his route in Minnesota.

 

Vince married Beverly Dura in 1960 and they started their family of five children.  Kevin, followed by Kent, and Kimberly were born in Fargo-Moorhead, North Dakota.  While working as an accountant for the State Highway department in Bismarck, he was offered more lucrative employment working at Chelan Box & Manufacturing where he and his family soon relocated and enjoyed spending time with his sister Jean, her husband Don, and their children.  Vince’s 4th child, Drayton, was born during this period in Chelan, Washington.  When the sawmill was bought by another owner, Vince found employment at the Boeing plant in Auburn, Washington as an Overhead Cost Accountant.  For a period of time during the Boeing downturn in the 70’s, Vince was laid off and found employment in various industries such as silver plating, and home remodeling and refurbishing, gaining many handy skills that served him well in future years.  It was during this period that his 5th child, Stephanie, was born in Tacoma, Washington.  Vince was a strict but loving father, and he fondly recounted one of his tricks for raising five kids at once that involved announcing “pockets!” while in public, so that everyone would take a hold of one of his pants pockets to make sure all were safe and accounted for. Vince was soon recalled to work for the Boeing Company.  To earn extra cash, Vince put his bartending skills to use at Shakey’s pizza where he developed a life-long love of thin crust pizza and he & his kids coined an off-menu item at the Puyallup store called the McLaren Special (pepperoni, beef, and onion).  When computers were introduced into the workforce, he discovered an affinity for computer programming and was offered a job in Boeing’s CTS Consultation group where he remained for many years.

 

After being divorced from his first wife, Bev, Vince began a new chapter of his life when he married Kimberly Gerard in 1990 and stepped into the role of father to her 3 year old daughter, Amanda.  During this time of his life, Vince enjoyed cultivating many hobbies including rebuilding his ’72 Monte Carlo, a ’70 Stingray Corvette, collecting and target shooting with various revolvers and long rifles, and traveling and ballroom dancing with his wife, Kim.  Over the years, this involved many trips to Leavenworth where the couple danced the polka, schottische, and waltz in organized events and even sometimes in the streets of the town.

Vince enjoyed attending car shows, gun shows, air shows, and regular target shooting with his kids.  He was a “Barnstormer”, a contributing member of the Museum of Flight, and delighted in taking family and friends there to see its many treasures.  His love of aviation also led to many road trips to Reno for the Air Races.

 

Vince had an infallible sense of humor and employed spoonerisms often.  Several favorites included “beeping slags” (sleeping bags) that his children received for Christmas one year, and he always enjoyed a good “stoff skitch” (stiff scotch).  He was an eager member of the Boeing Employees Concert Band and enjoyed attending classical concerts, his daughter’s violin recitals and orchestra concerts, and loved good pipe band music at the Scottish Highland Games.  To that end, he and Kim hosted annual St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage feeds at their home, including live bagpipe music, eventually including upwards of 90 family members and friends.

Vince loved to converse and socialize and enjoyed good drink and good food.  One of his favorite rituals was a family event his son started at his home in Tacoma on Thursday nights, called So Happy It’s Thursday (“SHIT Night” for short), where he and his kids would get together for good cocktails, storytelling, and catch-up.

 

More recently, Vince relished his newfound camaraderie with the Single Action Shooter Society (“SASS”), Renton United Cowboy Action Shooters chapter (“RUCAS”), where he competed under the pseudonym Dakota Dancing Devil.   Though his kidney failure and health challenges prevented being as social as he wished in the end, Vince found great pride in his large, boisterous family of four generations.  One of his favorite life lessons that he taught to his children by example through his ability to strike up conversation with nearly anyone, anywhere, was that “there are no strangers in life, only friends you haven’t met yet.”  Vince felt blessed by the friends and family who rallied by his side at the end of his life.  He passed away peacefully at the age of 79, surrounded with love and family in his home in Kent, Washington on Saturday, October 27th, 2018.

 

Vince is survived by his wife Kim, his former wife Bev, his children Kevin (wife Janeen), Kent (wife Deborah), Kimberly (husband Lynn), Drayton (wife Delci), Stephanie (husband David), and Amanda, his grandchildren Kory, Kristian (husband Tom), Caleb (wife Taylor), Lauren (husband Owen), Milena, Brian, Nicole, Gretchen, and Griffin, and greatgrandchildren, Aaliyah, Kole, Kevin, RyleeAnn, Greyson, Elizabeth, Teagan, and Aiden, as well as step-grandchildren Deana and Bailey (husband Cameron), and step-great grandchildren Tori, Lexi, Robby, and Mason.

 

Services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 15, 2018, at Hillcrest Burial Park in Kent, Washington.  A Celebration of Life gathering will be take place from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Thursday, November 15, 2018 at the nearby Mill Creek Estate in Kent, Washington.

 

In lieu of flowers, any desired donations could be made in Vince’s honor with the Northwest Kidney Center in Renton, Washington.

3 Responses to “Vincent P. McLaren”

  • Christine McCormick says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a life full of family and friends. Our family were neighbors to the McLarens in Puyallup back in the late 70’s and our daughter (Allison) and his (Stephanie) became best friends forever. The family was one of the nicest in our neighborhood – I can still hear “the Whistle” when dinner time came around.

  • Marian Dorothy Gerard says:

    Vince was the life of the party at our family gatherings, always ready with a story and, in my case, a huge bear hug. I miss his humor and his hugs and I can visualize him now entertaining a crowd in his heavenly home.

  • Clara Esquinazi, Germany says:

    My cordial condolence to his lovely wife Kim and my dear Friend Amanda whom I got to know with Vince in 2014. I should also like to convey my personal condolences to his entire family. I got to know Vince as a warm-hearted, cheerful and hospitable man who always greeted me with ” Was ist los?”- the German translation to “What`s up?”. I shall remember him in best memory. Sending you lots of love.

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