Lt. Col (Ret) Thomas Sopwith McLean, Sr. peacefully entered eternal rest on November 4, 2020, with family by his side, after receiving brief care at Covenant Hospice. Mr. McLean, son of Violet Grubb McLean (deceased) and James Imbrie, Jr. (deceased), lived 90 extraordinary years, which included 22 years of exemplary and courageous service to his country in the United States Army. During his service, he earned 2 Bronze Stars, a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, nominations for the Medal of Honor, and numerous other decorations and commendations for actions above and beyond. His military career began with basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ, and his subsequent assignment with the Military Police Detachment at West Point, NY. He was a Rifle Platoon Commander in the Korean conflict; a Special Forces member on a mission to Ethiopia; a Rifle Company Commander, Brigade S1 and S3 with the 24th Infantry Division in Munich, Germany; an Operations Plans Officer under General Westmoreland in Vietnam; and Senior Infantry/Airborne Plans Officer in the Military Directorate of CINC South in the Panama Canal Zone. Mr. McLean earned his undergraduate degree from Park College, MO, graduating Magna Cum Laude with honors in History, after attending Army Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He also attended the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, and was awarded a Master's Degree in Economics. He then attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. Retiring after his tour in Panama, he joined Southern Heat Exchanger in Tuscaloosa, where he rose to become General Manager and part-owner. After 13 years there, he moved to Pensacola, FL, joining Merrill Lynch as a Financial Consultant and became a Senior Financial Consultant/ Assistant Vice-President before retiring in 1999. In addition to his parents, Mr. McLean is predeceased by his wife of 33 years, Lorraine Noyes McLean, his wife of 30 years, Cindy Chesnutt McLean, his son, Thomas S. McLean, Jr. (Debra) and daughters, Tracy McLean and Leslie Davis Clark (Sidney). He is survived by his loving wife and companion, Meta Seltzer McLean (Col. (Ret.)) of Navarre; his brothers, Peter G. McLean (Jan) and James McLean (Mary) of Maryland; and beloved sons and daughters, Charles McLean (Margaret) of Maryland, Brian McLean (Carol) of Georgia, Michael McLean (Maria) of Germany, Jamie McLean of Pensacola, and Terry McLean (James) of Maryland and Deborah Schneider (Peter) of Texas; along with his step-sons, Curt Chesnutt (Sara) of Gulf Breeze and Randall Seltzer, Sr. of Navarre. Tom was also the proud grandfather of 19 grandchildren, along with 13 great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved dearly; in addition to numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. In addition to enjoying boating, tennis, snow skiing, travel, reading, and chess, he was involved in his community and supported the mission and ministries of his church, Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church. Tom was an accomplished, self-taught musician and he especially loved expressing and sharing his faith by singing in the choir at his church. He also valued education and was previously involved in The Mentoring Program at local schools. Thomas Sopwith McLean will be remembered for his courageous service and commitment to his country, his unwavering faith, and his love for family and friends. He exemplified truth, honor, and integrity in all areas of his life and those values will live on in his descendants. A Memorial Service and Celebration of his life, with Military Honors, will take place at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church on Saturday, November 14, 2020: Viewing at 10:00 am and Memorial Service at 11:00 am.
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