Darrell Gene McLain passed peacefully to his heavenly home, Jan. 28.
Darrell was an amazing man, a wonderful husband, father, granddad, son, brother, uncle, mentor and friend to many.
Darrell was born Nov. 21, 1937 in Waterford, California to Floyd and Ruby McLain. He grew up in an agricultural environment where a strong work ethic was instilled. He developed a love for his Lord early in his life and this relationship grew and was shared with many over his years of service. As a boy, he developed an interest in chemistry, exhibited by formulating rocket fuel that did not propel the rocket, but blew a hole in the roof of the chicken coop. These interests later guided him into his first career as a chemist for Shell Development.
Darrell married his childhood sweetheart and love of his life Helen Kathaleen Robertson on July 13, 1957. This marriage bore many fruits d— four children, fourteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren to date. As a young father, Darrell worked hard to provide for his family. Aside from his full time job, Darrell worked after hours doing pest control services, door-to-door sales of encyclopedias, and selling pots and pans (They were good pans, the family still uses them).
After Shell, Darrell began a career with Ralston Purina. Over the course of this career, he moved his family from California to Ohio to Georgia. In the early seventies this company diversified into the mushroom business. Darrell had the opportunity to move back to California to run one of these operations. He moved up the ladder in this division and moved his family to St. Louis, where he held divisional level responsibilities over the national business. Eventually, Darrell and a friend decided it was time to move away from the corporate life and umbrella. They went out on their own, invested everything they had and identified an underserved market for mushrooms in Oklahoma. Together, they built a mushroom business in Miami, Oklahoma. In the early eighties, Darrell sold his interest in this business. He knew Texas had market opportunity for mushrooms and he and his family moved to New Braunfels, Texas. For several years and what appeared to be multiple roadblocks, Darrell set his eyes on his goal and never gave up. (In hindsight, these early roadblocks were divine interventions, but at the time, most would have given up.) Darrell and his sons eventually located a site to build the next business in Gonzales, Texas. In 1987, they began construction of Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms and proudly picked their first mushroom in October 1988.
In the early 90s, Darrell developed congestive heart failure and was given only a few years to live, unless he received a heart transplant. Darrell overcame the prognosis and was fortunate to receive a heart transplant on Jan. 10, 1996. Through the gift of the donor, Darrell went on to have an additional 21 years of fruitful life. He was able to have very personal relationships with each of his grandchildren. He saw his business grow and prosper. He was always there to support his family and those that were in need.
Over Darrell’s life he volunteered and served in many areas, such as teaching Sunday school, helping with youth group trips, and serving on various church leadership boards. He was a member of Rotary clubs, he served several terms on the Mushroom Council, and most recently he served as a director for Guadalupe Basin River Authority.
Darrell loved spending time on his ranch, driving the tractor and watching over his cows. He also loved creating experiences for his family that will be cherished.
Darrell will be greatly missed by those that loved and knew him. His life was one of love, character, humility, and perseverance. He lived a life where his heavenly Father is sure to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Darrell is survived by his wife, Kathie, son, Greg and daughter-in-law Kris McLain, daughter, Gina St. John, daughter, Lori and son-in-law Dr. Ed Wuensch, daughter-in-law Piera McLain, grandchildren: Chelsi, Morgan and Ian McLain, Jillian (Daniel) and Mark St. John, Edward, Eric (Jessica), Andrew, Adam and Caroline Wuensch, Lauren, Megan, Matthew, Lexie McLain, great-grandchildren, Kyle McLain, Cole and Hallie Jane Coffey and Kinley Wuensch, and brother, Stephen McLain (Cathy). He is preceded in death by his parents, sister, Virginia Brewer and son, Philip McLain.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 in Two Rivers Bible Church with Pastor Jesse Elizondo officiating. Interment will follow in Gonzales Memorial Park Cemetery. Pallbearers: Mark St. John, Edward Wuensch, Ian McLain, Eric Wuensch, Andrew Wuensch, Adam Wuensch, and Matthew McLain. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers the family wishes donations be made to the Gonzales Youth Center, PO Box 13, Gonzales, TX 78629
Victoria College Foundation naming the Gonzales Campus, 2200 E. Red River Street Victoria, TX 77901or Nora’s Home, a wonderful home environment in Houston that provides temporary housing and supports for transplant patients and their families 8300 El Rio Houston, TX 77054.