At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight
Montford Point Marine Association
Life Story / Obituary
Willie McLain, age 96 years, 11 months, and 5 days, passed away peacefully on November 17, 2022, at the Southern Wisconsin Veteran’s Home in Union Grove. Willie and his late identical twin brother, Willis, were born in Enterprise, Mississippi, on December 12, 1925, sons of the late John and Minnie (nee: Smith) McLain.
Willie was among the first African Americans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He proudly served his country during World War II including heroic combat at the battle and capture of Iwo Jima. As a Montford Point Marine, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. He was also presented with the 2017 Lance P. Sijan award for distinguished service, by the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee.
On May 23, 1946, Willie married the love of his life, Mary Alice Lott, in Enterprise. They raised seven children and shared 76 beautiful years together.
In his younger years, Willie worked on the railroad in Enterprise. In 1959, Willie moved his family to Racine, Wisconsin, where he was employed with J. I. Case Company for 25 years before retiring in 1985. For many years, Willie simultaneously worked full-time at J. I. Case Company and Webster Electric, while working part-time at St. Luke’s Hospital. In later years, Willie came out of retirement to work part-time at The Council House at Wingspread for 5 years. When he wasn’t working, Willie enjoyed hunting and fishing in Mississippi, and tending to his vegetable and flower gardens in Wisconsin. He was a founder and longtime dedicated member and Deacon of United Faith Missionary Baptist Church. Willie also passionately served as president of the Kiwanis Club Racine Golden K Chapter, where he received an award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in 2008.
To cherish his memory, Willie leaves his loving wife, Mary; children, Willis McLain, Elaine (Cleveland) Bowman, Charles (Dennell) McLain, Levon McLain, Carol McLain, Beth Love, and Johnnie McLean; daughter-in-law, Juanita Mata; 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild; nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents and twin brother, Willis, Willie was also preceded in death by his siblings, Mose McLain, Beatrice (George) Haynes, Bernice (Emmitt) Leneair, Ernest (Louise) McLain; and his son, Lonnie McLain.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Monday, December 5, 2022, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. with a service celebrating and honoring Willie’s life to begin at 11:30 a.m. Interment with Full Military Honors will follow at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, or to the Montford Point Marine Association. To view the service online, please visit Willie’s page on the funeral home website, www.meredithfuneralhome, select visitation/services and then Live Stream.
The family extends a special thank you to the entire staff at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans’ Home for their outstanding, loving, and compassionate care. We will always remember your kindness.