DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Life Events > In memoriam: Leonard Hugh McCain, father-in-law of the Irish Studies Program’s Mary McCain

In memoriam: Leonard Hugh McCain, father-in-law of the Irish Studies Program’s Mary McCain


Stained glass

Leonard Hugh McCain, father-in-law of the Irish Studies Program's Mary McCain, died from complications of COVID-19 on Oct. 12 in Brighton, Colorado. He was 91.

He was born in Longmont, Colorado, the fourth of seven children born to James and Lucy McCain. His mother was a poet and his father a farmer before becoming a barber during the Great Depression.

Those who knew McCain describe him as a true legal scholar, a man of God, highly ethical, a benign jokester. He was a man on the go who climbed the 14,259-foot Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountains as a youth, yet also found peace in adulthood tending to baby pine saplings and devouring the daily newspaper. He loved playing and watching sports.

Listening to University of Colorado football games on the radio planted a seed of interest in higher education. After he graduated as salutatorian from Lyons High School in 1946, he hitch-hiked to the University of Colorado, where he received a bachelor's degree in history in 1951 and, later, his law degree in 1956.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 and became an intelligence officer. On his way to serve in Korea, his unit was diverted to Japan because the war ended while they were in transit. During free time while stationed in Japan, he learned to play golf and to snow ski, two activities he continued to enjoy back home.

After law school, McCain joined his friend and classmate Orrel Daniel to practice law. With Edward Brown they formed the firm Daniel, McCain, and Brown, which became a fixture for decades in Brighton. McCain served as Assistant City Attorney in Thornton and, later, as City Attorney in both Brighton and Ft. Lupton. His work included efforts in support of the creation of the Brighton Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant, one of the largest such facilities in the nation. He also served on the board of two local community banks.  

In 1966, he married Eloise Randleman, a schoolteacher from Fort Collins. They had two sons, Clark and David.

McCain retired in 1994 after more than 30 years practicing law. This opened the door for more golf, sporting events, visits to his sons, and travel with Ellie. He held season tickets for the University of Colorado Buffalo football team for more than 60 years.  

McCain was a member of the Brighton United Methodist Church, where he had served on the Board of Trustees and in other roles. He was also a member of the Lions Club. He served on the board of directors of Rude Park Child Care Center, an early childhood education provider and Club affiliate located in Denver. He proudly received his 60-year membership pin several years before he died.

He lived his final five years in an assisted-living facility in Brighton where he enjoyed the ease of having meals prepared for him, regular bingo games and camaraderie with other residents. Betty Winfree became a beloved friend and constant companion.

He is survived by three brothers, Jim, Gene, and Dean and his wife Mary; and one sister, Margaret Billings; his son, Clark, and his wife Mary (Donoghue) and their two children, Ellie and Patrick; and his son David and his wife Katie Pierce and their dog, Star. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Richard and Merle; and wife Eloise. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, an abiding interest in politics, sports, and finances, his service to our community and loving devotion to his family.

Graveside services were held Nov. 1 in Brighton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute or the University of Colorado Foundation.