Merrill F. McLane
September 14, 2008
ROCKPORT — Merrill F. McLane, 91, a retired Central Intelligence
Officer who serve overseas and in Washington, died peacefully in his
boyhood home in Rockport, on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 surrounded by his
Mr. McLane, who lived in Bethesda, Md., was born in Rockport and
graduated from Rockport High School in 1934. McLane was a descendant of
Richard Tarr, first settler of Sandy Bay (Rockport).
McLane was an enlisted man in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1934 to
1938. In World War II as a Marine rifle platoon leader in the operation
to retake Guam from the Japanese he was awarded the Bronze Star. He
retired as colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.
He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1942 and was active in alumni
affairs. In 1976, he received a master's degree in cultural anthropology
from American University and went among the Gypsies in Spain. This
resulted in three books, the first of which was Proud Outcasts, the
Gypsies of Spain. He also attended the Naval War College in 1956-57.
A mountaineer, he was co-author of a climbing guide to the Grand
Tetons, and took part in the rescue of a parachutist on top of Devil's
Tower, Wyo. in 1941. He played ice hockey until he was 78, and continued
to skate with his grandchildren.
In Rockport he was a founder of the Rights-of-Way to the sea
Committee, designated by the State of Massachusetts as a model for its
other coastal communities to follow to protect access along the ocean
front. His writings on Rockport include: The Adventure of Blueberrying
on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, Place Names of Old Sandy Bay and A New
England Town at Dartmouth College, Rockport, Massachusetts.
He was a former member of the Alpine Club and a 50-year member of the
Thoreau Society. A long-time Unitarian, he supported the opening of its
first church in Honolulu. He was a member of the Universalist Church in
Survivors include his wife, Helene, a native of Louvain, Belgium, his
daughter Karen McLane of Kensington, Md. and his step daughter Natalia
DeWitt of Bethesda, and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by his
son, Bruce Merrill McLane, in 2005.
ARRANGEMENTS: A service to celebrate his life will be held at the
First Universalist Church of Rockport on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.
Funeral arrangements are being conducted by the Burgess & Mackey Funeral
Home, 201 Main St., Rockport.