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1922 Robert 2016

Robert Mcclanahan

October 25, 1922 — May 12, 2016

Robert (Bob) McClanahan, 93, passed from this life on Thursday, May 12, 2016. He resided in Grand Marais since 1957, and lived there until this past winter when he and Hazel moved to their daughter’s home in Woodbury.

Bob was born in Armstrong, Iowa, on October 25, 1922, to John Newton McClanahan II and Maude Hester (Miles) McClanahan. At age five, Bob, his four older siblings and their parents moved to Des Moines which is where he grew up.

The McClanahan family attended Calvary Baptist Church in Des Moines, and Bob asked Jesus to be his savior when he was around five years old. He faithfully served his commitment to Christ for the remainder of his life. He often spoke that it isn’t what church you attend, nor the family you are a part of that assures an eternal life in heaven. “You can’t get to heaven on the family plan,” he would say, “You must ask Jesus into your heart, for Jesus is the only one way to everlasting life with God.”

Bob’s interest in aviation started in his mid-teens and remained a constant throughout his lifetime. He joined the Naval Air Corps which was eventually combined with the Army Air Corps and renamed the United States Air Force.

He started in the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp) while still a teenager. All five of the McClanahan siblings joined the military – 4 in the Navy, and 1 in the Army. He trained at Chicago’s Navy Pier where he also swam competitive breast stroke on the Navy swim team.

He served in both World War II (South Pacific, Raciffe, Brazil) and Korea (Tague, Korea) and after a 24-year military career, he retired as a U.S.A.F. Captain. He maintained his private pilot’s license until he was 85 years old.

After returning from WWII, Bob moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota’s engineering program. Before he could finish his U of M degree, his reserve unit was called up to active service in Korea. He wore “many hats” during his time in Korea.

While in Korea, Bob often thought about where he’d want to live if he managed to survive Korea. He recalled going on downhill ski trips with U of M college friends to Lutsen, and thought the North Shore to be the most beautiful place on earth. He made up his mind that that was where he wanted to live.

The North Shore economy allowed him to continue working in construction, but soon Bob was hired by Erie Mining Company as a machinist. He worked there until his retirement in 1984.

After moving to Grand Marais, Bob recognized a need in the community to have a place for family entertainment, so he built a bowling alley and dedicated the business to be a place where families could spend time together. It opened on his birthday, October 25, 1969.

When Bob moved to Grand Marais he attended the First Baptist Church. He met Hazel, the younger sister of his co-worker Alton Berglund, at the Baptist Church. Bob and Hazel were engaged at Christmas, 1962, and married June 15, 1963, in the Baptist Church where they had met.

Several of the families at the local Baptist Church met regularly for Bible study, and as time progressed, God revealed to them that they were to plant a new church in Grand Marais. They purchased property and began a building project for the original Evangelical Free Church. Bob was one of the church charter members and has remained an important part of the church all of these years since.

Bob and Hazel added two children to their family; daughter, Colleen, in 1965, and son, Robert, in 1967. Both kids grew up helping with the bowling alley.

In order to serve the community, Bob ran for office and was elected as a county commissioner for two terms. He actively tried to improve infrastructure to grow the local economy through Highway 61 improvements and local airport improvements.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, John Newton McClanahan II and Maude Hester (Miles) McClanahan; brother, John (Mary) Newton McClanahan III (aka Newt), California; brother, Elton (Alene) Avris McClanahan (aka Mick), Texas; brother, Eldon McClanahan (infant); sister, Kathryn (Gerald) Elizabeth Best, Iowa; Richard (Marianne) Phineas McClanahan (aka Dick), Illinois.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 53 years, Hazel Agnes (Berglund) McClanahan, Grand Marais; Daughter, Colleen Hazel McClanahan Burrs, Woodbury, Minnesota; Son, Robert (Anna Mae) Alfred McClanahan, West Palm Beach, Florida; Grandsons, Mark Robert, Joshua Daniel, Jonathan Matthew, and Michael Christopher Burrs; Granddaughters, Cassandra Joy, and Alexis Ann McClanahan; one great-granddaughter, and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral Service Information:

Visitation – Saturday, May 21, 2016 | Noon – 1:30 p.m. | Evangelical Free Church, Grand Marais, Minnesota

Funeral - Saturday, May 21, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. | Evangelical Free Church, Grand Marais, Minnesota

Interment – Following the funeral services | Maple Hill Cemetery

Luncheon – Following the graveside service and military honor guard | Evangelical Free Church, Fellowship Room, Grand Marais, Minnesota

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Bob’s memory be made to the Free Church Helping Hand Fund.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Mcclanahan, please visit our flower store.


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