Ronald Michael McLean (Race Car Ronnie), 73, passed away at home under the care of hospice. He was born in South Bend, Indiana to the late Robert McLean Sr. and Margaret (Sauers) McLean. He was preceded in death by his parents a brother, Robert McLean Jr.; Sister Margaret Ann Freeman; and grandson,Caden Jamesen. On July 26, 2010, in South Bend, he married the former Christine "Tina" Bush. She survives along with his daughter, Misty (David) Jamesen; step-son, Jerrold Nierzwicki; step-daughters, Lisa (Eric) Wiegand and Elizabeth Nierzwicki; grandchildren, Macy & Zarin Jamesen; step-grandchildren, Gage (Peyton) Nierzwicki, Vincent Nierzwicki-Trifiletti, Gunner, Lucas and Grace Nierzwicki; great-granddaughter, Blakely Nierzwicki. His grandchildren lovingly called him Papa Hot Rod. He is also survived by his brother, Lester (Gwen) McLean
He was a Penn High School graduate in 1966. After high school went into the U.S. Army and became a Sergeant. Returning home from the Army he became a lifetime member of the Local 150 Operating Engineers Union as a crane operator until retiring in 2007.
He loved driving around his street rods and going to cruise in's and car shows. Racing was also a 51-year passion, from Midgets, Sprints, Street Stock, Hornet, Sportsmen, Late Models, and Modified. His most favorite where Sprint Cars on dirt, he liked to get sideways in the turns. He was inducted into 3 halls of fame: Cavalcade of Wheels, Auto fest, and Michiana Racing.
He was kind, loving, a great friend, father, husband, and grandfather. He loved his family, friends and race fans. He always had a smile or laugh to share.
He had his man's best friend dog, Buddy, who was right by his side at home. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local animal shelter.
Visitation will be held at Michiana Christian Embassy 1922 E Main St, Niles, MI on Thursday, April 29th from 3-8 pm. Services will be on Friday at 11 am at church with Faster Pastor Jeff Whitaker officiating. With visitation one hour prior to service followed by precession to St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park Cemetery where military rites by VFW and American Legion burial squad. Due to current public health and safety standards, social distancing will be enforced and masks required
Everyone drive your street rods and show cars to his visitation and service to give him one last car show and one beautiful precession.
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