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Jean MacLachlan

August 18, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Jean Gross MacLachlan, 93, died Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in Traverse City, Mich.

She was born Dec. 13, 1919, at Elkins.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Clifford A. Gross and Winifred Talbot; by her husband of 68 years, William Malcolm MacLachlan Jr.; and by her brother, Robert A. Gross of Colfax, N.C.

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Although she lived most of her life in Michigan, Jean remained ever attached to her childhood home of Elkins where she liked to ski down the hill on barrel staves and was valedictorian of her high school class.

She attended Davis & Elkins College before transferring to Duke University, where she was an outstanding scholastic achiever, inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, but also participated in many social activities including the school choir for her three years at Duke. Jean joined the sorority Delta Delta Delta at Duke and kept in contact with Tridelt sisters all her life.

It was at Duke that she met her husband, William M. "Bill" MacLachlan, a civil engineer. They married in November 1942.

Their early married life was spent in Benton, Ky., where Bill worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority before joining the Navy. As a Seabee, he served on Guam, returning in 1946. After the war, Bill took a job with the general contractor Barton-Malow Co. in his native Detroit.

Jean quickly adapted to a mountainless environment and also to her husband's penchant for Irish Setters, a lifelong passion. Over the years, she "mothered" an unbroken series of "The Irish" including helping produce eight puppies in the basement. Her home was peppered with Irish Setter regalia and pictures of her favorite dogs.

She also was an enthusiastic correspondent - especially with her nieces and nephews - and always remembered everyone's birthday.

Another mainstay of her adult life was curling. At the Detroit Curling Club, she and Bill enjoyed the old Scottish game, won a few "bonspiels" and made lifelong friends.

They also were lifelong members of the Presbyterian Church, most recently of Northbrook Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills, the Detroit suburb to which they had moved in 1959.

Jean loved the trips to Europe or beautiful places in North America that the couple took in their later years, a welcome break from the duties of a homemaker.

Meticulous and a perfectionist, Jean was known to her friends and acquaintances above all for her keen sense of humor.

In 2005, she and Bill moved to Fox Run Village in Novi, Mich., where they made many new friends. They lived there together until Bill died in 2010. Jean moved in 2011 to The Village at Bay Ridge in Traverse City.

She is survived by her children, William M. MacLachlan III of Glen Arbor, Mich., and Ann Downing MacLachlan-Zaleski of Jouy-en-Josas, France; as well as by her nieces and nephews, Catherine Gross Hendren of Winston-Salem, N.C., Robert D. Gross of Lexington, N.C., Jill Gross Soderberg of Lake Forest, Ill., and William T. Gross of High Point, N.C.

Jean is interned in Northbrook Presbyterian Church, Beverly Hills, Mich. (the Rev. Marjorie Wilhelmi, Pastor). A memorial service will be conducted on Monday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Chapel at Old Settlers Park, just north of Burdickville, Mich., on the shore of Big Glen Lake. Refreshments will be served after the memorial service.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Duke University, Northbrook Presbyterian Church or the Humane Society of Michigan.

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay, Mich.



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