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Former Oyster Bay schools chief C. Clifford McLean dies

When he was superintendent of schools in Orchard Park, outside Buffalo, C. Clifford McLean would rise early on snowy winter mornings and drive around to see whether the roads were passable. "If he and the bus driver could get through all these roads on a snow day, then the schools stayed open," said his daughter, Heather McLean, of Huntington. McLean, of Mount Sinai, a former Oyster Bay-East Norwich schools superintendent, died of lung cancer Thursday at Stony Brook University Medical Center. He was 77. During a long teaching career that began after he served in the Army in the 1950s, McLean taught fifth grade, coached basketball and tennis, and worked as a guidance counselor in more than a half-dozen districts. Early in his career, he taught special education classes in Southampton, Heather McLean said. After serving as superintendent in upstate Ellicottville and Orchard Park, he came to Oyster Bay and often visited classrooms as part of his daily routine. "It was one of the things he always did," she said. "When he was in Ellicottville and Orchard Park, all the kids knew who he was." Charles Clifford McLean was born on April 19, 1932, in Binghamton. He received a degree in elementary education from Cortland State University before serving in the Army at Fort Dix, N.J., and upstate Fort Drum. He began his teaching career in Nanuet, in Rockland County, then worked in Southampton before moving on to small upstate communities such as Endwell and Mohegan Lake. During his tenure in Ellicottville, south of Buffalo, he taught school law and business at nearby St. Bonaventure University. He worked in Oyster Bay from 1983 to 1988 before retiring, then came out of retirement to serve as director of guidance at Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Brookville. He retired for good in 1996, his daughter said. Wherever he went, McLean was active in the Episcopal Church, serving as a reader and eucharistic minister, his daughter said. He was a delegate to the national Episcopal convention that changed church liturgy in the 1970s, she said. McLean was a member of the Oyster Bay and Rocky Point Rotary clubs and was the group's district governor for Nassau County. He celebrated his 77th birthday in his hospital room on April 19, Heather McLean said. Several days later, he passed away while listening to opera on his iPod, she said. Besides his daughter, McLean is survived by his wife, Carol, of Mount Sinai; a son, Mark, of Huntington; a sister, Josephine Masters, of Fort Myers, Fla.; and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Anselm's Episcopal Church in Shoreham. McLean's body was cremated.


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