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Thomas Sopwith McLean Jr., 60

Passed Away: 08/03/2012

Thomas Sopwith McLean Jr., 60, past-president of Cleveland Kiwanis Club and former Financial Director for White County Schools passed away Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, following a spirited fight against cancer.

The eldest of eight children, Mr. McLean was born in Columbus, GA, on Aug. 17, 1951 to Lt. Col. Thomas Sopwith McLean Sr. and Lorraine McLean. As part of a military family, Mr. McLean grew up overseas and had several fond memories of Germany and Panama, graduating from Balboa High School in the Panama Canal Zone in 1969. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army for several years, and then earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama.

A White County resident since 1998, Mr. McLean recently retired from the White County School System where he had worked as its Financial Director since 2000. Prior to his position with White County Schools, Mr. McLean had managed manufacturing proposal costing and project planning for Scientific Atlanta, a Fortune 500 satellite communications company. Active in the White County community, Mr. McLean also served as treasurer and president of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club, receiving two Call of Service Appreciation Certificates as well as recognition for his role as president with the Workhorse Award for going above and beyond his call of service. He also volunteered as a mentor to White County students through the White County Mentoring Program. A member of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Sautee, Mr. McLean served more than six years on its governing board, the Vestry, and, along with his wife Debbie, taught Sunday School.

An avid outdoorsman, Mr. McLean loved playing tennis with Debbie every Monday and Wednesday, running, hiking, and kayaking. The great-grandson of Sir Thomas Sopwith, whose company created the famous Sopwith Camel single-seat fighter for Great Britain during World War I, Mr. McLean loved to travel and spent time with Debbie in Jamaica, the Grand Caymans, the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Costa Rica, where the couple ziplined through the rainforest.

Mr. McLean is survived by his wife and best friend of 21 years, Debbie Mauldin McLean, Cleveland; daughter Michelle Leigh Kjellesvig, Gilroy, CA; parents Thomas S. McLean Sr., Gulf Breeze, FL and Lorraine McLean, Warner Robins; brothers and sisters Charly McLean, Stevensville, MD; Terry Rider, Annapolis, MD; Brian McLean, Macon; Leslie Clark, Ridgeville, SC: Debbie Schneider, Dallas, TX; Jamie McLean, St. Augustine, FL; Mike McLean, Germany; grandchildren Christian Kjellesvig, Braddock Kjellesvig, and Hazel Kjellesvig, all of Gilroy, CA; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial services are scheduled for 4:00 PM Tuesday, August 7, 2012 from the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. Father Scott Kidd will officiate.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 PM Monday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection Preschool, 1755 Duncan Bridge Road, Sautee, GA 30571-3611 or to Smithgall Humane Society, P.O. Box 2090, Cleveland, GA 30528

Online condolences can be made to the family at
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Gainesville, GA 30501
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