MacLean served in public office for 24 years after which he returned to private
practice opening a Cleburne law office with fellow attorney and friend Dan
Boulware, a successful practice that continued until Boulware’s death in 2016.
In addition to his public and private practice duties, MacLean served as
chairman of Johnson County United Way and in various capacities at Cleburne’s
United Methodist Church. A pilot and avid outdoorsman, MacLean, on his 60th
birthday, learned to snowboard in order to surprise his children. He and his
wife, Carol Jean MacLean, were married for 58 years.
“John was a great
lawyer, great brother-in-law,” Cleburne attorney Dick Turner said. “My dad loved
him and, after they practiced law together for awhile, encouraged him to get
into public office. We lived close together and talked all the time. John was
one of those guys who had all the answers and you could always go to. Mainly
I’ll remember all the great Christmases and Thanksgivings we all had as a
Current Johnson County Attorney Bill Moore echoed Wolley and
Harmon’s sentiments in remembering MacLean.
“John was a true gentleman
and a legal scholar,” Moore said. “You always knew he was going to be fair in
his decisions as district judge and respected his rulings. Judge MacLean
impacted the lives of many people and the citizens of Johnson County truly
benefitted from his public service. He will be missed.”
District Attorney Dale Hanna agreed.
“He and I tried many cases
together,” Hanna said. “John was a great lawyer and an even better person. I
don’t know of anyone who influenced my career and life as he did and you’ll hear
a lot of people say that. John had the utmost respect for everybody, just one of
the finest people you’ll ever know.”
Former Sheriff Bob Alford said he
began working the Johnson County area as a Texas Department of Public Safety
agent when MacLean was district attorney.
“Dale Hanna was county
attorney by then and Dan Boulware was assistant DA,” Alford said. “I’d take
cases to them and always got a kick out of hearing John saying, ‘Well Danny boy,
I believe he’s got it.’ That was his standard line when you in a case that had
evidence to support going forward. We tried one of the first organized crime
cases in this area.”
More than that, Alford said, MacLean was a man of
“Well, he was my personal attorney,” Alford said. “John was
definitely a Christian and lived his life from a Christian perspective. Everyone
was equal and everyone got a fair shot in his eyes. Always had a smile, always
upbeat with a kind word for everybody. Certainly one of the pillars of our
community and he served our county well.”
413th District Judge Bill
Bosworth recalled attending youth group meetings at MacLean’s house during
Bosworth’s middle and high school days.
“I started mowing his lawn when I
was in seventh grade,” Bosworth said. “Once, when I was home from college, he
saw me at a stop light by the courthouse and called me inside. He told me some
things going on in a current court trial and explained the procedure of a court
case and exposed me to the law, which I found pretty fascinating.”
Bosworth said, was MacLean’s way.
“He always took time to talk with, not
to, people,” Bosworth said. “With him it wasn’t just a cursory stop, but taking
time to really talk and listen to others. That man truly did not believe in
having a bad day and every single person in that courthouse or out on the street
was the same to him.”
Current 249th District Judge Wayne Bridewell ran
for the district judge seat after MacLean decided not to seek reelection.
“I’ve known John for many years,” Bridewell said. “He was county attorney
when I came on as an assistant prosecutor in 1974. It was an honor to have
worked for John. He was a man of high integrity as a judge and attorney who was
highly respected by many throughout Texas as well as a very beloved public
official in Johnson County and friend to many.”
Harmon remembers MacLean
as a friend and a mentor.
“When I was a new county judge I frequently
turned to John knowing that he knew the ins and outs of the county,” Harmon
said. “He always exhibited integrity and helped with any questions I had, and he
always steered me straight. I’m going to miss him. We need more people like him
today in our county and country.”
In lieu of flowers, family members
suggest donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, North Texas Food Bank or the
Pastor’s Emergency Fund of First United Methodist Church of Cleburne.
light of COVID-19, family members will hold a private grave side service at the
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery officiated by Dr. Keith Whitworth, with
Rosser Funeral Home of Cleburne providing funeral services.
By Matt Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 14, 2020
John R. MacLean, Jr. died peacefully at home in Ft. Worth on November 8, 2020,
after suffering with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), similar to
Parkinson’s Disease. He was born in Pueblo, Colorado, in January 1938, to Mary
Victoria Curlin MacLean and John R. (Scotty) MacLean.
John graduated from Centennial High School
in Pueblo, where he was captain of the football team. After graduating from
Centennial, John received an appointment from Congressman J. Edgar Chenoweth to
the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned his B.S.
degree in 1961. While at West Point, he played “B” team football, basketball,
lacrosse, and was a member of the ski and skeet clubs. John was always proud of
the fact that Coach Hank Emerson would put him in a basketball game as the
“enforcer” where he usually fouled out in a matter of minutes.
Before John’s last year at West Point, he
met Carol Jean Turner from Cleburne, Texas, which started their New York/Texas
romance, and ultimate marriage in August of 1962. Upon graduation from West
Point, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, and he
and Carol Jean were stationed in Friedberg, Germany. There, he was a battery
commander for the 27th Artillery of the Third Armored Division, and their
daughter Leslie was born. After an honorable discharge from the Army, they
returned to the United States, to Nashville, Tennessee, where John attended
Vanderbilt Law School, serving as Vanderbilt Bar Association President.
Upon John’s graduation from Vanderbilt in
1967, they moved to Cleburne, Texas, and celebrated the birth of their son
Scotty. John started his law practice in Cleburne with his father-in-law, Gean
Turner, who quickly suggested that he seek public office. He served as County
and District Attorney for Johnson County before being appointed by Governor Mark
White in 1984 to serve as judge of the 249th District Court, a bench to which he
was elected two years later. He proudly served in public office for twenty-four
years. John was board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in
Criminal Law and Personal Injury Law and at the time of his certifications, was
one of only six Texas judges who was board certified in two specialties.
In 1990, after stepping down from the bench,
he opened a private law office in Cleburne with his close friend, Dan Boulware.
MacLean & Boulware enjoyed a successful plaintiff’s trial practice until Dan’s
death in 2016.
During his legal career, John was a National
Board Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); a member of the
Texas Trial Lawyers Association; American Trial Lawyers Association (now AAJ)
and a Texas Bar Fellow, and in 1990 was awarded the Gean B. Turner Memorial
Award for Outstanding Lawyer by the Johnson County Bar Association.
He was a member of the First United
Methodist Church in Cleburne, Texas, where he served in various capacities. John
also served as Chairman of the Johnson County United Way.
John and Carol Jean enjoyed fifty-eight
years together. As newlyweds while living in Germany they traveled all
throughout Europe. In their later years, their love of travel did not wane, and
they enjoyed many memorable family trips to destinations such as Scotland,
Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, Spain, and Russia. What John loved more than
travel, however, was the time spent in Vail Valley with Carol Jean and their
children, Leslie and Scotty, his daughter-in-law Pepper and his grandsons,
Turner and Mack. John and Carol also developed many lasting and cherished
friendships in Vail Valley.
An avid outdoorsman, John loved nothing more
than a blue-sky ski day; a day of fly fishing on any mountain stream; and any
day in a duck blind with a black lab by his side. He was also a private pilot
and enjoyed aviation for many years. John learned to snowboard on his 60th
birthday to surprise his children. He said he could die a happy man because his
grandsons enjoyed the same outdoor sports he so much enjoyed.
John was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-eight
years, Carol Jean MacLean, a son, John R. (Scotty) MacLean and his wife, Pepper,
of Fort Worth, and their children, Turner MacLean and Mack MacLean; a daughter,
Leslie MacLean of Dallas; brother-in-law, Dick Turner, wife Sydney, niece
Meridith Staton and her husband Charles and their children; nephew, Todd Turner
and his children, along with numerous Colorado, Kentucky and Tennessee cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a
donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, North Texas Food Bank, or the
Pastor’s Emergency Fund of First United Methodist Church of Cleburne, Texas.
The family is grateful to John’s dedicated
caregivers: Cutter Bryan, Tim McBrown, Andrea Thomas, Patty and Tony Robles, and
many others who showed such kindness and care during his illness.
In light of Covid-19, the family will hold a
private graveside service at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Grand
Prairie officiated by Dr. Keith Whitworth, of Cleburne, Texas. Funeral services
will be provided by Rosser Funeral Home in Cleburne, Texas.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Ronald MacLean, please visit our