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Gavin Alan Charles McClain

Obituary for Gavin Alan Charles McClain

May 13, 2002 - July 18, 2021
Holland, Michigan | Age 19


Gavin McClain passed away on Sunday, July 18, 2021, following a nearly two-year battle with osteosarcoma. He was 19 years old. He was recently preceded in death by his great-grandmother, Donna Walworth, and his uncle, David Beckman. He is survived by his mother and step-father, Nicole and Ben Klok; his father and step-mother, Ryan and Elizabeth McClain; his brothers, Andrew, Marshall, and Clark; his girlfriend, Riley Carlton-Evans; his grandparents, Ron and Vicki McClain, Charles and Jo Ella Beckman, Ken and Diane Lowry, and Kevin and Suzanne Klok; as well as many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is also survived by his two furry best friends – Tox and Maggie.

Gavin leaves us far too soon. A 2021 graduate of Hudsonville High School and recipient of the David Johnson Memorial Scholarship, Gavin was preparing to attend the University of Northwestern Ohio. There he was planning to obtain an associate degree in Diesel Mechanics and a bachelor's degree in Business Management.

Gavin was born on May 13, 2002 in Hillsdale, MI and grew up in Hudsonville, MI. He had what his family lovingly called an "old soul," not too terribly concerned with the technology and trends of his peers. Instead he had a quiet wisdom and found passions that went well beyond his years: he cared deeply for others, he loved to work, and he was a true outdoorsman.

Gavin was loyal to his family and friends with a keen awareness of the needs of others. He has always watched over his younger brothers and created strong bonds with his closest friends. He cared deeply for those around him and even as his body weakened he still found opportunities, both big and small, to give to others. Even recently, he began packing an extra lunch for a fellow student who otherwise would have gone without. For Gavin, these acts of kindness were done without fanfare. They were simply part of who he was and for him what it meant to be a person in this world.

Never one to sit still, Gavin loved to work and, especially, to work with his hands, to create, build, and repair. As soon as he could walk Gavin followed after the men in his life, learning from them an appreciation for a job done with care. He was willing to help with even the most mundane household jobs, like standing beside his Grandpa Chuck to wash and dry dishes. He always had a love for trucks, tractors, or any big machines that did work. At a young age, he would ride along in the tractor of a farmer friend, sitting for hours, and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the soil turn. His first "real" job was at 14 when he began working at a local lumber yard. After this he worked a variety of jobs: plowing/shoveling snow, at a diesel shop, and for an excavating company. Work that was physical and strenuous, but from this he could feel that acute sense of satisfaction from a job well done. During this time Gavin also took on woodworking as a hobby and by-hand fashioned many things including end tables, a plaque for deer antlers, and a beautiful dining room table, which still stands at the center of his mother's home. One can imagine the quiet joy he found in this focused work. And, of course, Gavin was always working and tinkering on his own trucks, especially his Chevy diesel, a cherished gift from his grandfather.

Finally, for all of his life Gavin has had a strong connection to the outdoors. Unlike many, his first word was not "mom" or "mama." Instead, it was "deer." By 16 months he was already spending time in the woods hunting with his father. He loved everything about hunting, fishing, and camping. Not just bagging a buck, but the camaraderie that comes with the hunt. Not just bringing in the big fish, but also the quiet contemplation from time spent near the water with rod and reel. And in this way, even as the surgeries and treatments took their toll, he continued to seek solace in nature, as the poet Wendell Berry wrote:

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Funeral services are planned for 12:00pm Friday, July, 23 at Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, 315 E 16th St., Holland. Pastor Jeff Henderson will officiate. Burial will be in Pilgrim Home Cemetery. Visitation is scheduled for 4:00-7:00pm on Thursday, also at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Lakeshore Quest Ministries (5351 133rd Ave, Hamilton, MI 49419) and the Osteosarcoma Institute ( Condolences may be left online at

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Lakeshore Quest Ministries
    5351 133rd Ave
    Hamilton, MI 49419

Arrangements By

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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