Gertrude E. McClelland, 85, runner was matriarch to lacrosse dynasty

June 17, 1996|By Jim Haner | Jim Haner,SUN STAFF

Gertrude E. McClelland, a Severna Park homemaker who was a speedster on the 1925 Forest Park High School track team, died of pneumonia Thursday at Chesapeake Healthcare Center in Arnold. She was 85.

She was the matriarch of a lacrosse dynasty as grandmother of Loyola College All-America goalie Tom McClelland, Severn School lacrosse standout Ben Marchant and Johns Hopkins University star midfielder Milford Marchant.

"Mom was such a speedy runner when she was young -- the fastest girl at her high school -- that we always said that's where the boys got it," said her daughter, Marjorie M. Marchant of Severna Park.

Mrs. McClelland's athletic career was cut short when she was forced to drop out of high school to help in her father's Baltimore tailor shop during the Depression.

The former Gertrude Thompson met her future husband -- William R. McClelland, then a dairy salesman for Purity Creamery -- at a crab feast at the home of Babe Ruth's family. "Mom was friends with Babe Ruth's sister, and dad had some sort of tie there, too," said their son Richard W. McClelland Sr. of Severna Park.

They were married in July 1932, and later opened an Esso gas station on Erdman Avenue.

In 1960, they moved to Severna Park, buying a house overlooking the Magothy River. There they raised three children and Mrs. McClelland perfected the art of trolling for crabs from a dinghy on excursions that invariably led to crab feasts.

Mr. McClelland died in 1981.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Barranco & Sons Severna Park Funeral Home, Ritchie Highway at Robinson Road.

Other survivors include another son, C. Thompson McClelland of Annapolis; a sister, Reita T. Avery of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 6/17/96

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