Justus Logan McClurkin, Jr., age 91, passed away peacefully on Friday February 9, 2018 with the support of his daughter Suzanne at his residence in MorningStar Senior Living Community. Justus, known to all as Mac, was born in Morning Sun, Iowa on August 11, 1926 to a farming family. He was the third McClurkin born in Morning Sun (his grandfather Edward Logan McClurkin was born there in 1857), having been among the first settlers in the area when the territories west of the Mississippi opened up and Mac's great grandfather Henry McClurkin took his bride there. Henry McClurkin had a brick factory on his farm and later owned a general store, but was also Mayor, Sheriff, Postmaster, and Justice of the Peace. Mac's great, great, great grandfather Mathew McClurkin migrated to Ohio from Ireland in 1772, and their son Jos McClurkin (Henry's father) was born there in 1792. The McClurkin line, of Scot/Irish descent, has a long background in farming, but also of community service: lawyers, legislators, a State senator, and even a run at the US Vice-presidency in the late 1800's. Mac's parents relocated their own family to southern California around 1943, and he met his future wife, Violet, at Venice High School. Mac graduated from Venice High in 1945, later earning a degree in engineering from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1949. Earlier that same year, Mac and Violet were married, and had been together for over 68 years when Violet passed away September 24, 2017 and Mac lost his lifelong love.
Following graduation from UCLA., Mac worked as an engineer for Shell oil Company in San Pedro California. After 7 years of marriage, Mac and Vi adopted Scott Allen McClurkin, and a year later (in 1957) they adopted Susan Anne McClurkin. Mac relocated with his family in 1961 to Carmichael, California to work for Aerojet, Aerospace Division, where he worked on the Apollo 11 project. In the early 1970s, he relocated his family to Idaho Falls, Idaho to work for Argonne through the University of Chicago, where he remained until his retirement.
Mac and his family loved outdoor activities, including swimming, boating, camping, riding motorcycles, and panning for gold. He also had many interests and hobbies that he continued to enjoy after retirement, including golfing, ham radio, collecting beer cans, wood carving, building remote control planes, and flying. He even played washtub bass on occasion. Mac was a ham radio operator from roughly 1950 until his passing (call signs K6DAH and W7KDZ), and built many ham radios from scratch, even designing his own schematics. He was always communicating with other hams, even on family camping trips.
Mac's biggest passion was planes. Through Vi's work at Hughes Aircraft, he had photos of the assembly and maiden flight of the famous Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules plane known as the Spruce Goose. He built and flew scores of remote control airplanes throughout his life, and became co-owner of a Cessna 140 after earning his pilots' license.
After retirement, Mac and Vi enjoyed life to the fullest. They regularly went trailer camping to fly-in's with other model plane hobbyists, and Mac also flew to some cross-country fly-ins for the full-size versions. They would sometimes winter with their trailer in Arizona.
Mac is survived by his son Scott McClurkin and daughter Suzanne McClurkin-Nelson, as well as grandchildren Alexandra Nelson-Ponce, Jesse Nelson, Willis Norton III, Karli Green, Amanda McClurkin, Ariann McClurkin, and his great grandson Levi Green. He was preceded in death by his wife Violet McClurkin, his Father Justus Logan McClurkin, Sr., his Mother Mary Alice Knox, his brother Edward McClurkin and sister, Mary Alice Slavik.
The McClurkin's would like to extend their most sincere gratitude to the caregivers at Fairwinds; Mac and Vi enjoyed their stay. They would also like to express their heartfelt connection and true appreciation to the incredible MorningStar staff. They are a thoughtful, considerate group and the level of integrity and care they give at their facility is truly a blessing. A memorial will be held at the Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home in Idaho Falls on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 2:00 PM, and all friends, neighbors and colleagues are invited to attend to share remembrances with Mac's family.
Saturday, March 24th, 2018