GANSEVOORT - Mildred (Howard) McLean, of Palmer Ridge Road passed away at the age of 91 on Monday, January 23, 2012 at the Stanton Nursing Home in Glens Falls.
Born on September 17, 1920, in Jay, NY, she was the daughter of the late William and Nellie (Wood) Howard. Growing up on a farm, Mildred gained a strong work ethic from both her parents. From a young age, she worked with her mother, cooking and baking, and learned all there was to know about how to "put by" the produce from the farm. She also worked with her father doing outdoor chores, including manning the hay wagon!
Mildred's earliest school years were spent in a very small primary schoolhouse in Jay, and she completed her education in the Ausable Forks Central School, graduating from high school at the age of 16. She had a particularly strong affinity for numbers, which served her well in later years.
After her mother died in 1941, Mildred moved with her father to Lake Placid, caring for him until he passed away in 1957. Shortly afterward, she began a new chapter in her life, when she became involved in raising her great-niece Lesley and great-nephew, Steven.
Millie began a career with the Bell Telephone Company in Lake Placid as a switchboard operator around 1950. Additionally, in the early 60's she demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit by launching a bakeshop in Lake Placid called "The Spice Box." It got its start at the foot of Saranac Avenue, and built some momentum in the "little log cabin" building currently located across from Ben & Jerry's. In 1966, she decided to leave "Chocolate-Fudge Chewies" behind, in favor of continuing with the telephone company, transferring her service to the Glens Falls area.
She was lucky to find an apartment in Glens Falls directly across the street from the "Ma Bell" office. Her good fortune continued when her neighbor set her up on a blind date with Bill McLean in early 1967. Even though that was the first time they met, they discovered that they had lived most of their lives within a 20 mile radius of one other. They were married in November of 1968. They truly were exceptionally well matched, and she missed him deeply after he passed away in 1993.
In addition to her parents and husband, she is predeceased by 2 brothers, Clarence "Ben" (and Lillian) Howard and Clark W. (and Alice) Howard; a nephew, Clark A. Howard, a niece, Maryetta (and Ralph) Bristol; a cousin, Cora Woodward, and a great-great nephew, Gareth Howard.
Mil enjoyed a deep closeness with an extended family. Surviving her are: Lesley (Howard) Packard and her husband Brian of Gansevoort; Steve Howard of Middle Grove; Jessica and Derek Shaw of Fort Edward; Jaime Packard and Paul Shaw of Watervliet; Donald McLean and Barbara Woodes of South Glens Falls; William and Dorothy Howard of Oxnard, CA; Marge Williams of Clifton Park; Joanne Bristol of Chicago, IL; Harold and Mary Bristol of Worcester; Gretchen Silberberg of Rock City Falls; Elizabeth and Jonathan Litts of Stillwater; and Shannon and Scott VanKuren of Middleburgh. Very special friends Scott Avery and Nancy LeBlanc, Theresa Matteson and Mary Pelkey, all of Wilmington, also survive her.
Millie was a devout member of Christ Church in Glens Falls for over 40 years, and of the Adirondack Community Church in Lake Placid for 30 years before that. While taking a retirement trip across country, she and Bill managed to attend services at the Crystal Cathedral in California, which was a tremendous thrill for her.
More than anything else, Millie enjoyed being with family. She was at the center of every holiday gathering, making preparations for the biggest family dinners look almost effortless. She was a wonderful cook, carrying on her mother's culinary traditions, including her doughnuts and apple pie, which were known and enjoyed by everyone who knew her. She may have been the "chief cook and bottle washer", but what she did best was making everyone feel appreciated and loved. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
The family suggests that any memorial donations in Millie's memory be made to the Moreau Emergency Squad, Inc, 1583 Route 9, Fort Edward, NY 12828 or to the Recreation Department at The Stanton Nursing Home, 152 Sherman Ave., Glens Falls, NY 12801.
Calling hours will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Carleton Funeral Home in Hudson Falls. Services, officiated by Pastor Phil Richards, will follow at 11 a.m. Additionally, on a date to be determined, a Spring memorial service will be held at the Whiteface United Methodist Church, in Wilmington, followed by interment at the Central Cemetery in the town of Jay.