Preston's Story

BANGOR - Preston "Prep" Arnold McLean left our sight but not our hearts on December 20, 2015, just two days after his 83rd birthday. His spirit is carried on by his wife of 63 years, Beverly (Silsby) McLean, three children, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, a large extended family and friends from every walk of life.

Dad was born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, on December 18, 1932, to Arnold Turner McLean and Olive Louise (Miller) McLean. His life was transformed forever when his father and grandfather (John McLean) were killed in a head-on motor vehicle accident when he was just five years old and his mother was left to raise two small children on her own. If it takes a village to raise a child, there were several families in Fort Fairfield whose love and attention helped shape the man he would become while Olive was often working two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Keith Mahaney and Glendon Wathan were like brothers to him. He often related how his older sister, Dorothy, assumed most of the household duties while he tormented her by consuming everything she baked in record time. Dad always said County people look out for each other and he had many fond memories of growing up there despite the economic hardship of his childhood.

He graduated from Fort Fairfield High School, Class of 1951, and from the University of Maine, Class of 1955. He married the love of his life while at UMO and they started a family. While raising three children together, he earned his Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery degree from McGill University, Class of 1959, and began a career spanning 35 years in obstetrics and gynecology. Dad loved his work. His patients meant a lot to him and he was very proud of the fact that he brought over 10,000 babies into the world, including all of his grandchildren. He was a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Maine Medical Association (MeMA). He served for 10 years in the 101st US Air National Guard, retiring as Major.

We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Dad over the years. He may not have had a role model for how to be a dad but he took on the role of father the same way he approached everything in his life; commitment and determination. Some of the things Dad taught us...Play as hard as you work. Dad didn't operate in the slow lane. Vacations were a frenzy of family activity that left everyone exhausted but him.

There is nothing that can't be achieved with hard work and determination. We were privileged to enjoy camp life, skiing, and sailing because Dad worked day and night to provide us with a standard of living he had not had growing up. We treasured our summers at Branch Lake the most.

Even if you have no athletic ability, you can learn to skate, ski, swim, play golf and basketball, drive a car, etc. Dad ended up with two children who shared his natural athleticism and one klutz who can't chew gum and walk at the same time, not that he gave up on that one. Dad didn't know how to quit.

A 3-course, home-cooked meal can be devoured in under five minutes with practice. No wonder we all have GERD. Being together at the dinner table, even for 10 minutes each evening, was important to him.

Dad wanted to thank the kind folks at New Hope Hospice who cared for him early in his illness: Stacy, Debbie, Felicia, and Dr. Claudia Picone. He was exceptionally grateful to his friend and colleague, Jean Lane of Beacon Hospice, whose care and renewed friendship brought him comfort during his last few months. Furthermore, he wanted to thank Dr. Jerry Mick for his friendship and solace before and during his illness.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers-in-law, Herbert T. Silsby II and Ronald Pelletier; and great-granddaughter, Vanessa McLean. Surviving in addition to his wife, Beverly Ann (Silsby) McLean, are his daughters, Cynthia (McLean) Peterson and her husband, Woodrow "Pete," Beth Marie McLean; son, Peter Silsby McLean and his wife, Victoria; five grandchildren, Joshua Peterson and his fiancée, Laura Lamoureux; Meghann Peterson, Erika McLean and her husband, David Farrar; Erin McLean and his wife, Beth; and Kade McLean-Young; six great-grandchildren, Mckenzie Peterson, Caelen Peterson, Deanna McLean, Gavin McLean, Preston McLean, and Maximus McLean; one sister, Dorothy Pelletier; brother-in-law, William Silsby, Jr., and his wife, Noreen; sister-in-law, Ruth Silsby; "adopted grandchild" Jaime Royer; and many nieces and nephews. He shared his life with several close friends (you know who you are).

Relatives and friends are welcome to call 5 to 7 pm Monday, December 28, 2015 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, where a memorial service will be held 12 noon Tuesday, December 29, 2015 with Rev. Dr. Jerry Mick officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center Street, Bangor following the services Tuesday. Those who wish to remember Prep in a special way may make gifts in his memory to Shepherd's Godparent Home, PO Box 616, Bangor, ME 04402, Beacon Hospice, 304 Hancock St., #3a, Bangor, ME, 04401 or to New Hope Hospice, P.O. Box 70, Eddington, ME 04428-0070. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.
Bangor Daily News
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