Flowers of the Forest

Obituaries of Former Clan MacLaren Members
Shown in order of death date.

Donald, the MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine

Obituary from the London Times, July 31 2023:

A mermaid once lived in a loch in the heart of Alba. She watched the sun rise over the back of Ben Vorlich and saw it set behind the great hills that lie between Strathearn and Lorn. One day she fell in love with a mortal man and from their union sprang the progenitor of the MacLarens.

Donald, the MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine, stood by Loch Voil where the mermaid once lived, on the edge of the village of Balquhidder, reciting the legend from memory. It had been a comfort to the little boy who became 25th chief of Clan MacLaren at the age of only 11 and was a comfort again during a career in the diplomatic service, often living thousands of miles away.

Clan MacLaren (or Labhran) has occupied lands in Balquhidder and Strathearn since the 12th century. They fought at Flodden in 1513 and suffered with the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746. But MacLaren, who claimed to be a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth, saw the clan as a way to keep in touch with his kinsmen. "It's not about cattle raiding or turning out to die gloriously in a hopeless cause, but about a family network that stretches around the world," he said.

MacLaren represented his clan at gatherings worldwide. He was also a focal point for the diaspora's pilgrimages to their ancestral land, welcoming MacLarens who turned up at his farm gate from as far afield as Australia and America. "Total strangers," he said. "But it was as if we knew each other. We were meeting because we are family. There is a responsibility to be hospitable. It is my job to welcome them in because this is their place."

Donald MacLaren of MacLaren was born in 1954, the only child of Major Donald MacLaren of MacLaren, who studied to be a chartered accountant at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and his wife Margaret (nee Miller). He was descended from Lorn Mor, the 5th-century king of Dal Riata.

During the war his father served with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and was head of economic counterintelligence attached to General Eisenhower's staff. He started the Clan MacLaren Society, which has spawned societies in more than a dozen countries, in 1962 but died four years later aged 55.

Young Donald was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, and Trinity College, Glenalmond (now Glenalmond College), where he learnt to play the pipes. At 18 he was formally installed as 25th chief of the clan, its affairs having been administered during his minority by Janet MacLaren, a clan tutor.

Shortly afterwards he took a Greyhound bus tour through Canada and the US, staying with MacLaren families along the way. "It was quite heart-pounding," he recalled in a 2007 American gathering of the clans. "I was made so very aware how strong the feeling was among the family, how proud that they were MacLarens, and they were very hospitable to me as a young chief."

Returning to Scotland he read classics and English at the University of Edinburgh and played rugby for the combined Scottish Universities XV. In 1978 he joined the Foreign Office, serving with the British military government in Berlin. That same year he married Maida-Jane Aitchison. They had five children: Donald, who served with the British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; Florian, who becomes clan chief; Louis, who served in the Scots Guards; and Iona and Marina.

MacLaren had postings to Havana and Caracas before being appointed consul-general in Kyiv in 2000. Four years later he was sent to Tbilisi as ambassador to Georgia, accompanied as always by his bagpipes. He retired from the diplomatic service in 2007 and returned to Scotland where he helped to run Perfect Pitch, a partnership teaching people to speak persuasively.

MacLaren continued to reminisce about the mermaid watching the sun rise and set. "It is absolutely astonishing to think that 1,500 years ago, my family looked out on these hills," he told The Sun newspaper. "The trees have changed but those hills are the same. They saw them like we see them now and we are still here."

He died while attending the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Highland Games and Gathering.

Donald, the MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine, 25th chief of Clan MacLaren and diplomat, was born on August 22, 1954. He died unexpectedly on July 22, 2023, aged 68

Charles (Chuck) Glenn Lawson Sr.

Charles (Chuck) Glenn Lawson, Sr. of Tullahoma passed from this life July 4, 2023, at the age of 83. Chuck was born to Edward Charles and Eura Mary Martin Lawson on March 23, 1940. He was a native of Tullahoma and a 1958 graduate of Tullahoma High School. Chuck was a member of Highland Hills Church of Christ in Tullahoma, where he frequently led Bible studies. In 1966, he became a brother of the Masonic Lodge in Decatur, Alabama. Chuck rose in rank and became a Master Mason and Shriner at the age of 26. He remained a member of the Tullahoma Masonic Lodge until his passing.

In his late teens, Chuck began his career as a machinist at Bedford Machine in Shelbyville, TN. His career advanced from machinist at Arnold Engineering Development Center, Lockheed Martin and Micro Craft, Inc. to manufacturing engineer at Cleveland Pneumatic. Chuck retired in 2000, from Schmiede Corporation as a project engineer. For a few years in the late 1970's, he took a hiatus from machining and taught Machine Shop and coached baseball at Coffee County High School. For decades, Chuck was involved in mentoring youth through coaching Little League and Babe Ruth baseball. His passion for teaching and mentoring lasted long after retirement as he continued to teach machinist apprenticeship classes at Schmiede Corporation.

For many years, Chuck and his wife Fran participated in annual overnight hikes with friends to the top of Mt. LeConte. Chuck remained an avid hiker, hiking with his sons, grandsons and friends. Beginning in his early seventies, Chuck section-hiked several hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Chuck and Fran were enthusiastic members of Clan MacLaren Scottish Society of North America and conveners at numerous Scottish Highland Games. In 2013, Chuck was elected president of the Clan MacLaren Society of North America, honorably serving two consecutive terms from 2014 to 2017. Chuck was an FSA Scot.

Chuck loved his clan, his church family, and his lodge brothers. He always had a smile for everyone he met. Chuck was a sincere and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a devout patriot and a dear and dependable friend to many. His contagious laugh will be greatly missed.

He is proceeded in death by his wife, Frances Alsup Lawson, and survived by his four children, Michele Lawson Hardin, Charles G. Lawson Jr. (Teresa), James Edward Lawson (Kelly), and Jon Marlin Lawson (Trish). He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Lindsay Lawson Young (Steve), Charles G. Lawson, III (Laura), Tess Rolman Godwin (Kevin), Tollie Rolman, Macy, Maleah and Mason Gann, and four great-grandchildren, Parker, Paxton and Maddux McCallon and Finn Godwin.

Chuck is survived by sister Mary Frances Lawson McCullough of Manchester, brother Robert Clyde Choate of Jefferson City, sister Mary Choate Snyder (Scott) of Jefferson City and many nieces and nephews that adored him. Chuck is preceded in death by sister Barbara Jean Lawson Sullivan and brother Mack Sanford Lawson.

Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely and well.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 4:30 PM at Highland Hills Church of Christ, 720 Kings Lane, Tullahoma, TN. with burial to follow at Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at the Church.

Online condolences may be made at www.davesculbertsonfuneralhome.com. Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Claude S. ("Chuck") Farmer, Jr.

Chuck was born in Portsmith, VA on May 13, 1942. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1964, and married Laura Lyell on October 30, 1965. Chuck was sworn into the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1959 by his father, Captain Claude Farmer, USN. He served in the amphibious Navy until 1970, when he accepted orders as executive officer at Naval Base Barbado before fleeting up to become commanding officer. His graduate degree is in Public Administration from the Univeristy of West Florida, which preceded his work as a defense investigator at Patric Air Force Base, before recall to active duty to serve at Naval Reserve Center, Naval Air Station Memphis. His last assignment was in St. Marys, Georgia, before retiring in 1997.

Laura joined CMSNA October 2006, and was eventually appointed CMSNA Southeast Commissioner, and Chuck hauled all the necessary clan equipment for many games. Chuck was a scout master and proud Wood Badge member of CMSNA. He was always helpful and knowledgeable at the tent, and was always corralling the Boy Scouts to participate at the games. Chuck's wish was that his three MacLaren kilts be donated to new Wood Badge recipients in the North Florida Council's Wood Badge group who may need a kilt.

Chuck passed away in Fernandina Beach, FL on August 22, 2022. A memorial service will be held on October 1, 2022 at Trinity Anglican Church, Fernandina Beach, FL.

Bob McLaren
April 24, 1938 - March 17, 2020

CMSNA Life member and longtime clan genealogist, Bob McLaren, passed away on March 17, 2020.

Bob was very accomplished academically with a Bachelors degree in engineering from what is now the NYU Tandon School of Engineering , and a Master's from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

He served in the Air Force for 23 years as a Chemical and Nuclear Engineer, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. Afterwards he was either employed or consulted with various government agencies or companies such as ITT Industries and Kaman Sciences.

Genealogy and Scottish history were Bob's passions to the extent he established a business helping people discover their roots.

In addition to his many years and contributions as the CMSNA genealogist , he also held a similar role for the Clan Maclaren Society in Scotland. He was instrumental in setting up and managing the Society records currently archived in the Ellen Payne Odom genealogical library in Georgia. He also established MacLaren DNA Project at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) which has helped better understand aspects of the clan's ancestry.

Bob was well known and respected in the genealogy community. He attended and lectured at many conferences each year, always wearing his Maclaren kilt. He was always generous with his time and willing to answer questions. He was an early adopter of DNA testing and recognized its value in genealogical research. He served on the user advisory board for FTDNA.

He will be deeply missed by all of those who knew him personally or professionally.

CMSNA sends its heartfelt condolences to his wife Bonnie, children Sean, Mary and Kathleen, as well as the entire family.

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