Robert “Bob” Gerard McClain, age 91 of 34 Bayview Park in Middletown RI, died on Sunday, January 16, 2022 at John Clarke Nursing Center with family by his side. He was born December 4, 1930, son of the late John J. and Alice J. (McGann) McClain, in Newport on Burnside Avenue in the old Kerry Hill neighborhood. He lived at 108 Evarts Street in Newport for 48 years before moving to 34 Bayview Park in Middletown.

He attended Coggeshall and Mumford schools and graduated from Rogers High School in 1949. He joined the army a few months later and served in a heavy weapons infantry company known as The Wolfhounds 27th Infantry Regiment from June 1950 until July 1953. He returned to Newport and began his long career with the Newport Water Department as a plant operator at the filtration plant on Bliss Mine Road, until his retirement beginning January 1993.

Bob was the last of his immediate family having been predeceased by his brothers John McClain Jr. of Hawaii and Russell McClain of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and by his sisters Betsy Fitch of Newport, and Alice Muenchausen of Port Charlotte FL. He was also predeceased by his longtime companion, Lucylle B. Quinn and by two nephews, Howard Muenchausen and Colin Muenchausen.

He loved everything about Newport and Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island. He was a life member of Korean Vets of Rhode Island and of the National Rifle Association. He was also a member of Friends of the Waterfront, Gilbert Stewart Birthplace Museum, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, The National Railroad Foundation, and The Edward King Center of Newport. He was crazy about trains and collected books and watched documentaries about trains from all around the world. He was also a lifelong circus fan and once maintained a small collection of circus memorabilia.

Bob enjoyed the company of his family and friends. He spent hours as a boy, then as a young man, then as an adult with his many friends over the years. Among them were Jim Steele, Ray Corridon, Ed Coughlin, Joe Digott, and the Figueiredo brothers, Joe, John, and Tony. He speaks fondly of boyhood haunts like Miantonomi Tower, Devil’s Kitchen, Rabbit Hill, and Little Rabbit Hill. He remembered using BB guns to shoot rats at the city dump and hunting in Tiverton and in Lawton’s Valley as a young man (and later with his nephews). He remembers swimming with his mom at Coddington Cove alongside the Navy base fence.

He was never interested in driving – preferring to walk everywhere. And walk he did . . . along the railroad tracks out to Coddington Cove with Jim Steele, for example. He walked out to Middletown to visit friends, to his sister Betsy’s house on Gooseberry Road, and pretty much everywhere in Newport. He spent many happy hours with his sister, Betsy. The two would shop together, go out for ice cream, take rides to Tiverton and Little Compton, and go to dinner at McGovern’s in Fall River or to Flo’s for fried clams, and garden together in Betsy’s yard.

Uncle Bob was fond of all of his nephews and nieces as they grew up – they and their children considered him to be akin to a “bonus” grandfather. He enthusiastically participated in every family gathering, celebration, and holiday. In his later years, he met Lucylle Quinn while “hanging out” with the Battery Park crowd on the “blue rocks”. He embraced her children and grandchildren as his own as well. He was always quick to get down on the floor to play with the little ones – even into his late 80’s. He was especially enamored of the tiniest babies and was never happier than when he was holding an infant in his arms.

Uncle Bob was always his own man. He did not care if anyone thought it was odd that he never drove a car – or that he didn’t have a telephone in his house until he was in his 50’s (and then only at the insistence of family). However, his family agreed that it really didn’t matter, because he was never on time when someone was giving him a ride and he rarely answered the phone anyway. Bob lived his life on his own stubborn terms, in his own sweet time, and definitely at his own deliberate pace.

He was a genuinely kind man and a true gentleman who cared deeply for his family and friends. Most obituaries skip listing all of the nieces and nephews. But, as the “bonus” grandfather to two extended families, some of Bob’s nieces and nephews were as children to him – thus, many of their offspring were as grandchildren and great grandchildren. He specifically asked, however, that all of them be listed in his obituary for posterity. Therefore, let it be known that Bob was uncle to his sister Betsy Fitch’s children, William of Port Charlotte FL, Michael and Ralph both of Newport; to his sister, Alice Muenchausen’s son Ross of Los Alamos NM; and to his brother Russell’s children, Finn and Marc both of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Fianna McClain English of Shropshire, England. He also was uncle to Lucylle Quinn’s children, James of Clinton CT, and Susan Quinn of Middletown. He was uncle to the next generation of 15 great nieces and nephews: Matthew, Craig, and Will Fitch, Christina Fitch-LookFong, Benjamin and Nicholas English, Rachael Nunez, Rebecca, Melissa, and Noah Quinn, Monica Horan, Courtney Kuiee, and Isabella, Emma, and Anna Marshall. Finally, he was a great grand uncle to a third generation of ten more children: Samuel, Lauren, and Talia LookFong, Audrina and John Horan, Isla and Declan Kuiee, and Tierra, Luciana, and Sky Nunez all of whom Bob had the opportunity to meet and cuddle.

The family extends their deepest gratitude for the kind care provided by the staff at Blenheim-Newport, Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, Newport Hospital, and John Clarke Nursing Center.

Calling hours are omitted as per his wishes. A private family service with Military Honors will be held at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date. For more information and condolences, please visit www.memorialfuneralhome.com

In lieu of flowers or other memorials, please make a contribution to a charity of your choosing. (If you need suggestions, Bob’s favorite charities were Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, Child & Family Services, Wounded Warrior Project, Middletown Fire Department, and St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church.)

Memorial Funeral Home

This obituary was originally published by Memorial Funeral Home on www.memorialfuneralhome.com. It has been republished here with permission and at no cost.