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Arthur Wayne McClain1

b. 22 February 1923, d. 13 July 2007

Family Helen J. Sloan b. August 1926
Children  1. Margaret L. "Peggy" McClain b. Sep 1945
  2. Kelly W. McClain b. Mar 1949
  3. Scott D. McClain b. Jul 1957

Birth* 22 February 1923  NE2,3 
Marriage* 1947  Principal=Helen J. Sloan1,3 
Death* 13 July 2007  Sioux City, Minnehaha Co., SD2,3 
SSN* 13 July 2007  Arthur MCCLAIN
Birth Date: 22 Feb 1923
Death Date: 13 Jul 2007
Social Security Number: 508-20-1220
State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: Nebraska
Death Residence Localities
ZIP Code: 60098
Localities: Woodstock, Mc Henry, Illinois2 
Burial* after 13 July 2007  Oakland Cemetery, Woodstock, McHenry Co., IL3 
News/Obit* 26 July 2007  Arthur Wayne McClain: 1923 - 2007

Founded company specializing in coal

Arthur Wayne McClain recognized opportunity in the declining coal industry and started McClain Corp. in 1974.

"As middlemen, we were matching the need of the customer with where we could get the product," said his wife, Helen, who worked with her husband for nearly 30 years, reselling products bought from coal mines, graphite mines and oil refineries.

Mr. McClain, 84, died Friday, July 13, in Sioux City, Iowa, while on a family trip. He and his wife lived in Woodstock for about 50 years.

Mr. McClain was the grandson of Nebraska homesteaders and grew up Allen, Neb. After graduating from high school in 1940, he spent about a year at Wayne State Teachers College in Nebraska, before returning to help on the family farm.

He entered the Army in 1943, spending most of his time in Europe before continuing his education at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln on the GI Bill. There he met fellow student Helen Sloan and they married in 1947.

Mr. McClain graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1948 and took a job with Campbell Soup Co. in Chicago. His first assignment was as a buyer, and some of the people calling on him were selling coal, his wife said.

While coal was fading as home heating fuel, Mr. McClain became convinced that industrial customers would maintain a strong market for the carbon fuel.

"He really wanted to sell," his wife said, and around 1953 he began selling coal. "He took the plunge. It worked out."

During the next 20 years or so, Mr. McClain worked for such companies as Republic, AMAX and International Minerals & Chemical Corp., a company later known as IMC Global, family members said.

He sold graphite, carbon, coal and petroleum coke to customers from Norway to Japan to South America. In 1974, he opened his own company. "We mortgaged all our assets," his wife said.

The Woodstock-based company, with a processing plant in Cicero, sold a range of products to customers around the world.

"We never thought we'd care about the water level in the Rhine River around Rotterdam," Mrs. McClain said, but that changed when low-water levels could hold up barge loads of coal.

Mr. McClain found time to help children through the Shriners, said fellow Shriner Les Maraldi. "Art helped me to start a mini-clinic in Woodstock," an annual effort to determine eligibility of children for free health care at Shriners hospitals, Maraldi said.

Maraldi said Mr. McClain also helped raise money through sales of Vidalia onions and ads for the Shrine Circus.

Mr. McClain sold his business in 2003, but he never really retired, according to his wife. "He was a good salesman and he enjoyed the chase."

Survivors also include a daughter, Peggy; two sons, Kelly and Scott; a brother, James; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday in Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock. Services will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in Grace Lutheran Church, 1300 Kishwaukee Valley Rd., Woodstock.

Published in the Chicago Tribune, July 26, 2007

Last Edited 18 Dec 2011

  1. [S1166] SD, Northern Hills Funeral Home, online,
  2. [S129] SSDI Death Index,.
  3. [S1167] IL, Chicago Tribune, online

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