In Memory of Steve McClellan

By Mary Parker Janoush | December 7, 2020 | Memorials

Steven J. (Steve) McClellan, 64, of Little Rock, Arkansas, died Saturday, December 5, in his beloved Delta hunting grounds near Gunnison, Mississippi.

A lifelong son of the Delta, Steve’s beloved parents, Albert Polk McClellan and Gloria Jean Guerieri McClellan, both of Cleveland, preceded him in death and were there to welcome him to heaven, along with Steve’s dear nephew, Matt Gregory.

He began his educational journey at Bayou Academy and then earned degrees from Mississippi Delta Community College and Delta State University (BA and MBA). He also attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. At the time of his passing, Steve was serving as the Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Prior to that position, he held the positions of Vice President for Finance and Administration / CFO at Delta State University and Vice President for Fiscal Affairs at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He was a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers, serving as the Vice Chair of Comprehensive College Committee. The Community Colleges Business Officers organization, representing the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana selected Steve as “Most Outstanding Business Officer” from this region.

While Steve’s excellence as a finance officer was widely recognized and honored by his peers, he had a committed realization that the purpose of his job was far beyond just the competent management of millions of dollars. He believed that his main purpose was to assure a proper learning environment so that students would succeed. He was particularly interested in the classroom and encouraged the higher learning institutions at which he worked to invest in the latest technology that instructors requested. He fostered appropriate compensation in order to hire well-educated and highly experienced teachers. He promoted fine arts and athletics, and he supported the fundraising efforts of the respective foundations where he worked. It was known but never revealed by Steve himself that he would personally help both students and employees who needed encouragement and financial assistance.

The professional excellence of Steve, as significant as it was, did not compare to Steve as a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. In those areas, he left no stone unturned to demonstrate his love and devotion to every member of his family, especially, his wife, Ladye Ann, and his children, Annie and Steven. Whether it was to ride a bicycle across the state of Iowa with Annie, ride horses with Steven, or sitting by the fire with Ladye Ann, he did everything in his power to bring love, security, and happiness to his family. He was incredibly proud of both Annie and Steven.

That love extended to his father and mother and his brothers and sisters, Connie Hegwood (Pat) of Olive Branch, Valerie McClellan (David Johnston) of Madison, Bruce McClellan (Dianne) of Deville, Louisiana, Jimmy McClellan (Connie) of Cleveland, and Aimee Coleman of Leland, along with a host of nieces and nephews. The younger years with his siblings were joyfully spent in Cleveland, and their tales of adventure are worthy of a book.

When it came to energy and adventure, there truly was no limit to what Steve would attempt. He decided to travel the Mississippi River from Memphis to New Orleans in a one-man kayak, and he did. He enjoyed a skydiving adventure with Annie, and he loved every minute of combing the Delta woods for deer.

While his sense of humor and smile were contagious, it was Steve McClellan’s heart that made him so very beloved. He loved his Lord, and he loved his church. His compassion for his family, friends, students, co-workers knew no bounds. He loved giving, and he gave of his time, talent and treasures to help others. He was a man of integrity, honesty, decency, and, above all, kindness. The world was a better place because of Steve McClellan, and even without his physical presence, his legacy will live forever in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. The highest compliment Southerners can give a man is to say these words: “He was a good man.” Those words fit the beautiful character of Steve McClellan — truly a good man. Pallbearers for the Celebration of Steve’s life will be Steven McClellan, Bruce McClellan, Jimmy McClellan, Blane McClellan, Jimmy McClellan Jr., Joe Smith, David Johnston, Pat Hegwood, Joe Moore, and Matt Gregory (posthumously).

A family mass will be held Tuesday at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers the family wishes donations to be made to Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church (215 Bishop Road, Cleveland, MS 38732) or Miracle League of Arkansas (P.O. Box 7372 Little Rock, AR 72217).