Cover photo for David Dempsey McLean's Obituary
David Dempsey McLean Profile Photo
1932 David 2024

David Dempsey McLean

August 3, 1932 — May 19, 2024


David Dempsey McLean, 91, of Frederick, Maryland, passed from this life on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at Kline Hospice House in Mount Airy, MD. He was the loving husband of Rose McLean for 55 years.

Born on August 3, 1932, in Norfolk, VA, he was the son of the late Alexander Pettit McLean and Ann Elizabeth (Jordan) McLean.

David was a graduate of Warwick High School in Newport News, VA, where he played football and ran track. After high school, he was drafted into the Army where he served as a Military Police Officer and later became an Army sign painter. After his military service, he attended Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University) and graduated with a degree in Commercial Art. 

He began his career as a designer, illustrator, and art director for six Washington, D.C. graphic art firms. David then became one of the founding members of the National Park Service Interpretive Design Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, as an exhibit designer. He spent more than 40 years helping to create hundreds of exhibits in the U.S. & many countries around the globe, including for the governments of Spain, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands. His enthusiasm and collaborative spirit was well known by many colleagues and friends, all the way to his retirement at age 77, as the Chief of Special Projects. 

Those who knew David, knew his passion for his career, but even more was his devout love for his family. David was also a man of great faith and was a member of the Church of the Brethren. 

Second to his family, his interests were many, including; riding bikes, kayaking, surfing, hangliding, windsurfing, rowing, running, reading, and drawing, but his greatest of all was his lifelong pursuit of sailing. Before starting a family, David’s love of racing sailboats earned him the role of Commodore of the Sailing Club at the Daingerfield Marina in Alexandria, VA.

In addition to his many passions and hobbies, David had an adventurous culinary side which fueled his insatiable love of international foods and cooking. 

In addition to his wife, Rose, he is survived by his children, Eric McLean (Mary), Ami Low (Chris), Nic McLean (Jessica) and grandchildren: Cassidy McLean, Dylan McLean, Alexander Low, Jordan Low, Canon McLean, Elizabeth Low, sister-in-law, Shirley Roman and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father; sister, Mary Etta Dozier (Percy); brother, Alexander "Mac" McLean (Ellen, Martha), and sister, Ann Elizabeth Chestnut.

A celebration of David's life journey will take place at 2pm on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at the Frederick Church of the Brethren, 201 Fairview Avenue, Frederick, MD 21701. Pastor Paul Mundey will officiate.

The family requests those who wish to express sympathy, to consider making a donation to Hospice of Frederick, MD, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the The Frederick Humane Society.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Dempsey McLean, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, June 22, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Frederick Church of the Brethren

201 Fairview Ave, Frederick, MD 21701

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