E. Paul McClain



Ernest Paul McClain, 91, of Spotsylvania passed away on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at his home on Fawn Lake.

Born in Columbus, OH on January 11, 1926, Paul was the son of the late Ernest Roy and Mary Elizabeth (Cavitt) McClain. Survivors include his beloved wife of 66 years, Janice Ruth (Voelzke) McClain; their four children, Beth Bauman (Bruce) of Morris Plains, N.J., Tim McClain (Ellen) of Silver Spring, MD, Mary Sue McClain (Emory Ehrenfeld) of Mechanicsburg, PA, and Amy Carder (Gary) of Barrington, IL; and seven grandchildren. Paul was preceded in death by his sister, Phyllis J. Basil.

In Paul’s own words: “God has given me a truly full life---nine decades of memorable experiences. “ At age 16, he learned to fly a small plane, going to the airfield by bicycle! He was a veteran who served in the U.S. Army in France and Austria during and after World War II, narrowly escaping death while crossing the English Channel, yet learning to ski during the occupation. After discharge, he resumed his dream of becoming a meteorologist, first studying at Ohio University and Ohio State. In 1950, he received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago where he met Jan during a friendly snowball fight. They married in 1951 in Milwaukee, WI. He went on to teach and do research at University of Washington and Florida State University where he received his PhD in 1958. A faculty position at the University of Chicago came next, followed by a research position in the newly formed Meteorological Satellite Laboratory (MSL) of NOAA, outside of Washington, D.C. His efforts over the next 30 years revolutionized long range weather forecasting with major scientific breakthroughs in satellite imaging and methods for determining ocean temperatures from space. After retirement and even into his 90th decade, he continued to play tennis and take photographs, both lifelong loves. He was an inspiration to many on how to live life to its fullest.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 5 at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fredericksburg United Methodist Church 308 Hanover St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, Corkran Memorial United Methodist Church 5200 Temple Hills Rd., Temple Hills, Md. 20748, or Heifer International (www.heifer.org).