Freda Alice <I>Root</I> McClean

Freda Alice Root McClean

Douglas, Calhoun County, West Virginia, USA
Death 17 Dec 2012 (aged 83)
Cypress, Harris County, Texas, USA
Burial Mary Esther, Okaloosa County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 141476706 · View Source
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Freda Alice (Root) McClean (1929 - 2012)

Mrs. Freda Alice (Root) McClean, 83, of Navarre, Fla., died Dec. 17, 2012, at The Grace Care Center in Cypress, Texas, after suffering a stroke. She was receiving cancer treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Freda was born on Oct. 28, 1929, in Douglas, W.V., the quintessential "Coal Miner's Daughter" of the late Julius and Lessie Root. Following her graduation from Thomas High School in 1947 and facing limited career prospects in a coal mining town, she packed her bags and rode the bus to Washington, D.C. After completing a secretarial course, Freda worked at the FBI for three years before transferring to the CIA for a small pay raise. An arranged blind date introduced her to the love of her life, Annapolis midshipman John Howard McClean, "Mac." Freda and Mac were married after his graduation on June 20, 1953, in the chapel at Annapolis. Mac accepted a commission into the U.S. Air Force, and the first few years of their young marriage were spent traveling to various air bases in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Georgia while Mac trained to be a pilot. Freda and Mac were thrilled to settle in California where Mac was invited by the Air Force to pursue a master's degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. This time was always remembered fondly by Freda, who pursued their three small boys and ran the household in order to allow Mac the time needed for studies and the usual U.S. Air Force temporary duty assignments. Although the boys outnumbered Freda, they never outlasted her patience or devotion.
After graduation, Freda and Mac received their new assignment to Mary Esther, Fla., where Mac continued his pilot training at Eglin. During these years, Mac was sent to Vietnam, but sadly, on a fateful day in August 1963, Mac's B-26 crashed due to wing failure. The tragedy devastated the family, but fortified by her tremendous inner strength, Freda bravely shouldered her new responsibilities as a single parent and entered the job market. Freda managed to provide a rich and interesting childhood for her sons, juggling work as a secretary with little league, basketball, swimming lessons, and school activities. She never knew what surprise might await her at the end of the workday; it could be a pot of live crabs scrabbling on the stove top or a broken arm needing to be set. Freda realized her secretarial career would not support much of a retirement, and so enrolled in college classes as soon as her boys were old enough to look after one another in the evening. Freda persevered through ten years of juggling work, her boys' own university educations, and eventually completed her Bachelor's of Science from Troy University. Soon after, she was promoted to a contract administrator for an Eglin weapons program. This prompted her proud grandchildren to tell their classmates "after beginning her career as a special agent for the FBI and CIA, my Grandmother is now an arms dealer." This was not far from the truth, since Freda made numerous trips to Israel, Germany, France and even Australia as a member of the negotiating teams who were charged with selling weapon technologies to America's allies. A pretty neat trick for a "coal miner's daughter!"
Freda retired after 20 years working in civil service, and embarked on one final adventure by leaving her home of 40 years in Mary Esther and moving to Navarre. She was delighted to find herself surrounded by friendly neighbors on a peaceful street within view of her beloved Gulf Coast waters. In this happy setting, she carved out a new life anchored by her neighbors and church. One of her favorite memories was surviving Hurricane Ivan and the gathering of neighbors who turned their rapidly melting freezers into a cook-out feast that lasted for days. Freda particularly looked forward to attending Sunday school and church each week, and took special joy in watching her good friends' triplets grow up.
Freda finally learned to relax in her new found leisure, and pursued her passions of Atlanta Braves baseball, gardening, and golf. Her home in Navarre was a popular destination for her families to visit, and she always had freshly baked cookies and her famous pound cake waiting for her beloved grandchildren, along with a list of the newest restaurants she wanted to try. When she wasn't hosting family, Freda made a point of traveling to Texas, Arizona and California to check up on her sons and their families. The highlights of Freda's retirement travels were her trip to Ireland with her grandson, David, and her excursion to the Master's Golf Tournament with her son, Jerry.
Freda is survived by her three sons, Donald (Delores), Bill (Kathleen) and Jerry (Tami); and six grandchildren, David, James, John, Jarrod (Anh), Jennifer (Bryan) and Shannon.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at United Methodist Church of Navarre, 9474 Navarre Parkway, Navarre, FL 32566. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the We Care Ministry, in care of the United Methodist Church of Navarre.

Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News from Feb. 7 to Feb. 10, 2013

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  • Created by: J. Smith
  • Added: 18 Jan 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 141476706
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Freda Alice Root McClean (28 Oct 1929–17 Dec 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 141476706, citing Jesse Rogers Memorial Cemetery, Mary Esther, Okaloosa County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by J. Smith (contributor 47617870) .