Inscribed in the front his Bible is the following quotation: “The task ahead of us is not greater than the power of God behind us.” This servant-centered heart of Dr. John J. McLario (March 2, 1925-January 11, 2017) will be missed at Maranatha Baptist University and Seminary.
McLario served on the board at Maranatha since the founding in 1968.
The impact a person has in the world is hard to gauge from our earthly perspective, but because of McLario many ministries have been launched and supported, including Maranatha. In fact, because of McLario and his assistance in negotiating, Maranatha was able to obtain the property for the university.
Dr. John McLario was Maranatha’s first attorney. His interest in Maranatha was foundational to our early years. He helped with the required paperwork to make Maranatha legal. He worked with local bankers for the financial needs of the college. -Dr. Larry Oats, Dean of Maranatha Baptist Seminary
Dr. Oats continued, “When I opened the Development Office at Maranatha, one of my first contacts was Dr. McLario. Dr. Weniger and I had no idea how to raise money, but Dr. McLario walked us through some of the beginning steps as we sought to present the needs of Maranatha to our constituency.”
Wherever McLario went he was sure to be found faithfully serving. Whether in the community, the church, or in his own home, he was dedicated to the task ahead because of the power of God in his life.
“John had outstanding training and experience, and his keen mind was coupled with a humble and gracious demeanor,” Dr. Marriott said. “Before I became president, Dr. McLario served on the board committee which I chaired. He was always a support and encouragement to me.”
Dedication and service was exemplified in McLario’s life even early on. After high school graduation, he went to basic training, and later trained at Syracuse University in Cadet pilot training, where he was a drill sergeant. Eventually, he was stationed in Saipan during World War II. He flew 25 combat missions over Japan aboard a B-29 Superfortress, “The Ancient Mariner,” as staff sergeant, right gunner and air mechanic. For their efforts, McLario and his nine-man flight crew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals. In 2012, McLario proudly participated in the Honor Flight trip for World War II veterans.
After World War II ended, McLario enrolled at Bob Jones University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech in 1950. While a student, he distinguished himself as a campus leader.
After graduating from BJU, he paused long enough to marry Lois Jean Kleist, love of his life of 66 years, before enrolling at Marquette University Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1953. That was the start of a successful law career, which featured many famous and high profile cases.
Although he was involved in many professional and civic leadership roles, McLario maintained a strong, lifelong balance of spiritual leadership and interest in churches, missions, and Christian ministries. McLario assisted in establishing several churches in the Milwaukee area, including Brookside Baptist Church, (Brookfield, WI), where he was a deacon and member for many years.
His funeral service was held Saturday, January 14, at 3 p.m. at Brookside Baptist Church.