ALPHARETTA, Georgia — John Stuart MacLaren, 93, of Alpharetta, Georgia, passed away at home on April 19, 2018.
He was born on Sept. 9, 1924, in Nome, Territory of Alaska, to Joseph and Kathryn McLaren. An early life in a U.S. western outpost gave him an adventurous spirit which he carried with him throughout his life. He was 4-months-old when the serum run from Anchorage to Nome was rushed by dog sled to save children’s lives from the diphtheria outbreak (honored today as the Iditarod Race). When he was “a little guy, oh six or seven” his family moved to Granite County where they lived in Maxville then later moved to Hall, where he graduated from Drummond High School in 1942. During this time, he welcomed an older sister when his parents adopted a young girl, Madeline. Many fond memories of this time in his life he shared with his family and he returned here many times, always bringing a smile to his face. The stories of him as a young boy attending the one-room school house in Maxville, fishing in Flint Creek, hunting in the foothills of the Rockies, working on area cattle ranches, and just the mischievous explorations of a young boy growing up in Montana where Lewis and Clark once traveled, will be one of his many cherished legacies.
In 1942 his family moved to Seattle, Washington, where he enlisted in the Navy entering officers training school at the University of Washington, Notre Dame University, and Harvard University receiving a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering. As a WWII commissioned officer on board the USS Aldebaran, he sailed the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Mediterranean Sea, and passed through the Panama Canal. He was a recipient of the Victory and the American Area Medals; honorably discharged in 1946.
In 1948 he hired on with The American Can Company, quickly earning a reputation as a problem solver. He retired in 1983 after 35 years. In 1986 he worked at Pike’s Nursery of Atlanta, Georgia until 2000.
In 1947 he met his wife of 68 years, Patty, and they married on Aug. 20, 1949, in Seattle, Washington. They immediately moved to California and laughed at following the dreams of earlier gold rush prospectors and becoming California Forty-niners too.
An optimist, he demonstrated the skills of an engineer had no boundaries as long as Murphy’s Law is calculated into the equation. He loved the outdoors, watching the sunrise, camping, and working in the yard with his fruit trees and roses. He was a devout Catholic throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife, his four children, his three grandchildren, and his two nieces.
Under military honors, along with the solemn piping of Scottish slow airs, he was brought to peaceful rest at The Georgia National Cemetery.