Phillip Eugene MacLean, 91: Hard worker, devoted family man

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PORTLAND — Phillip Eugene MacLean, 91, died peacefully at home March 7 following a five-year battle with melanoma and prostate cancer.

MacLean was born April 27, 1921, in Lynn, Mass., the eldest child of Ethelreda Saunders MacLean and Arthur Flagg MacLean. 

He grew up in Swampscott, Mass., surviving a serious hernia and an episode of scarlet fever that caused him to lose a year of school.

MacLean graduated from Swampscott High School in 1940 and began his undergraduate university studies at the Lowell Textile Institute, now the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

He was a sophomore at Lowell when Pearl Harbor was attacked Dec. 7, 1941. The following day, his entire fraternity descended upon the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Office, hoping to serve. Although the recruiters were not prepared to process the large number of volunteers on that day, MacLean delayed his university studies to enter the U.S. Navy’s V-12 Officer Program during which time he trained at Columbia University and studied diesel engineering at North Carolina State University. Upon commissioning as a naval officer, he served in the Pacific Theater of World War II aboard Landing Craft Infantry #797 from 1942 to 1945.

Following the war, MacLean married and returned to Lowell and earned his bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry in 1946. He had two daughters from this first marriage and the family enjoyed postwar prosperity. MacLean worked for the Onyx Oil & Chemical Company as a technical salesperson, a role that required him to travel extensively throughout the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Although he enjoyed the work and excelled at sales, he yearned for a chance to be self-employed.

MacLean was married to Barbara Ann Bishop of Short Hills, N.J., on April 23, 1960 and they had two sons.

In 1961, MacLean pursued that dream of self-employment and moved with Barbara from Bergen County, N.J., to Cape Elizabeth. He became a principal in a research and development firm serving Maine’s robust paper industry called Gorham Research and Development Corporation (later Gorham International) in Gorham. In 1974, MacLean assumed responsibility for a new venture of Gorham International called the Institute for Graphic Communication, a business that specialized in educational programs on cutting edge communications technology in the early days of the personal computer age. He retired as president of Gorham International and IGC in 1987.

As with many men of his generation, MacLean’s life was heavily influenced by his experience as a child of the Great Depression and as a young man coming of age during World War II. His work ethic was the central element of his character and he worked very hard to provide a good living for his family. Beyond his career, he enjoyed watching his sons grow up swimming, water skiing, and boating on Moose Pond and Long Lake in the summers and skiing with his family at Shawnee Peak in the winters. He also made a point of attending every Lake Region High School football game during the years his sons were playing.

MacLean is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara Ann (Bishop) MacLean, of Bridgton and Portland; daughters Heather M. Styckiewicz, and her husband, Joseph, of Tolland, Conn., Holly M. Thomson, and husband, David Wilson, of Greensboro, N.C.; sons Andrew Bishop MacLean, and his wife, Michele, of Gardiner, and Scott Saunders MacLean, and his wife, Katherine Tsung-Yen Tuan-MacLean, of Winchester, Mass. He also is survived by grandchildren Caitlin Elizabeth Dunlap, Jonathan Calder Dunlap, and his wife, Carrie, Hannah Ryan Fossett, Abigail Chuan-Ling MacLean, Joelle Chuan-Kai MacLean, Collin Chuan-Ren MacLean and Cameron Burr MacLean. MacLean also is survived by great-grandchildren Nathan Joseph Dunlap, Charles James Dunlap and Theodore Calder Dunlap, as well as several nieces and nephews. MacLean was predeceased by his parents; his sister, Lois M. Thoumine; and his niece, Rosalyn Smith Merrifield.

MacLean’s burial ceremony with military honors will be at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mount Vernon Road, in Augusta.

In lieu of flowers, donations in MacLean’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.

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