Colin MacLachlan dies at age 80

Former newspaperman who became PR executive

August 06, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Colin MacLachlan, a former newspaperman who became a corporate public relations executive, died July 30 from complications of Parkinson's disease at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville.

He was 80.

Mr. MacLachlan, the son of a newspaper editor and a homemaker, was born and raised in Oceanside, N.Y. After graduating in 1948 from Friends Academy in Locust Valley, N.Y., he began his college studies at Hamilton College.

He graduated in 1955 from Reed College in Portland, Ore., where he earned a bachelor's degree, and was drafted into the Army. He was a lieutenant at the time of his 1955 discharge.

He joined the promotional department of WMAR-TV in 1955, and then the staff of The Evening Sun, where one of his feats was scaling the steeple of the First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue, from which he photographed the city.

"This was 273 feet up," said a son, Colin Alastair MacLachlan of Columbia. "This was a feat that almost cost him his job but led to Baltimore City replanting trees along most of the streets and boulevards."

After leaving The Evening Sun in 1958, he became news editor of The Long-Islander, a weekly newspaper that had been founded in 1838 by poet Walt Whitman, which Mr. MacLachlan's father, C.H. MacLachlan, later owned and edited.

From 1968 until retiring in 1988, he worked in New York City as a corporate public relations executive with Hill & Knowlton.

His corporate clients included electric and gas utility companies, accounting firms and the motion picture industry. He also headed the committee that produced and aired the first television commercials for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Mr. MacLachlan was an avid hiker, fly fisherman and golfer. He was a member of the Salem Golf Club and the Sunningdale Country Club.

A resident of Broadmead for the last decade, Mr. MacLachlan edited the retirement community's newsletter, and enjoyed photography and poetry readings.

He was a communicant of Immanuel Episcopal Church in Glencoe.

His wife of 16 years, the former Jan Farland, died in 1980. He was married for 12 years to the former Mary Lehman, who died in 2001.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 18 at Broadmead, 13801 York Road.

Also surviving are another son, Charles Delafield MacLachlan of New York City; a daughter, Helen C. MacLachlan of Washington; and a granddaughter. Marriages to the former Helen Morison, Harriet "Happy" Delafield and Janet McNeill ended in divorce.

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