Mary McClain

Godfrey | Friday, March 25 2022 |

Mary Lou McClain, 97, entered her heavenly home to the greeting, “well done, good and faithful servant” on March 25, 2022.

She was born on May 22, 1924, in Mayfield, Kentucky, the only child of James Edwin and Lula Wilson Davis. During junior high, she met the love of her life Ralph Franklin McClain. At Mayfield High, Ralph was a football star, and she was a majorette. Together, they turned more than a few heads. On February 7, 1943, while still in high school and on the verge of Ralph joining the war effort as a Marine, they eloped to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. That secret, youthful marriage lasted 72 years. Their greatest legacy is their example of a Christ-centered, loving, and faithful marriage. Ralph preceded Mary Lou in death on September 11, 2015, but now they are reunited for eternity.

A member of Calvary Baptist Church for decades, Mary Lou served in the nursery and established many life-long friendships.  As a homemaker, she was known for her tuna fish (before it was ever called tuna salad), pimento cheese, and her legendary banana pudding. Mary Lou was quick to deliver a meal to a friend in need. She worked in the hardware department of Sears Roebuck. Always opinionated, she never passed an opportunity to point out the superiority of Craftsman tools though no one can recall her ever using one.

The wife of a football coach, Mary Lou was an avid sports fan. And, because her grandchildren went there, she rooted for the Georgia Bulldogs, Fighting Illini, Missouri Tigers, and Baylor Bears.

In retirement, Mary Lou and Ralph enjoyed traveling, cruising, visiting friends and family, and attending their grandchildren’s many activities.  She always ended her visits and phone calls with, “love you more!”

Mary Lou was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who took great joy in being with and helping her family. When she could no longer help physically, she devoted herself to being a prayer warrior. She was wise, resilient, and feisty (a trait that was equal parts cringeworthy and remarkable.)

 Surviving are two daughters, Pam Youngblood (Jim) of Godfrey, IL, and Tanya Collins (Greg) of Springfield, IL, a son, Bart McClain (Louetta) of Cockeysville, MD, and a daughter-in-law, Sally McClain of St. Louis. Also surviving are nine grandchildren, Mary Ann Vahl (Mike), Chris Youngblood, Sara Sitz (Rich), Hunter McClain (Trey), McClain Thompson (Elizabeth), Samuel Thompson (Liza), Hadley Murphy (Ian), Morgan Chappell (Cameron), and Anna Caraffa (Dominic) and 17 great-grandchildren, Marni, Carson, and Lucy Vahl, Will and Joe Youngblood, Andrew, Emma, and Nora Sitz, Sophie Thompson, Andrew, and Jo Thompson, Jackson, Ellason, Greyson, and Crimson Chappell, and Hannady and Larkin Caraffa.

Along with her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by two sons, Ralph Franklin McClain ll “Frankie” and Jed Franklin McClain, and a grandson Andrew Thompson.  

Mary Lou will be forever missed, but her family celebrates the incredible blessing of her legacy and long life.

The family thanks the staff at Cedarhurst of Godfrey who cared for her patiently and lovingly over the past five years and especially during the isolation of the pandemic.

Per her wish, a private memorial service and burial will be held on April 16, 2022, with Reverend Andre’ Dobson officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Gideons International Alton Camp (PO Box 682 Alton, IL 62002), Kids Across America (, or Calvary Baptist Church of Alton.  Online guestbook may be found at   

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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