Leonard Hugh McCain died from complications of COVID-19 Oct. 12 in Brighton. He was born Oct. 20, 1928, in Longmont, the fourth of seven children born to James and Lucy McCain. His mother was a poet and his father a farmer before becoming a barber during the Great Depression. Leonard fondly remembered, as a small boy, being sent by his father to the five-and-dime store across the street from the barbershop to fetch him a cigar.
Those who knew Len describe him as a true legal scholar, a man of God, highly ethical, a benign jokester. He was a man on the go who climbed Longs Peak as a youth, yet also found peace in adulthood tending to baby pine saplings and devouring the daily newspaper.
He loved playing and watching sports. Listening to University of Colorado college football games on the radio planted a seed of interest in higher education. After his graduation from Lyons High School in 1946 as salutatorian, that seed sprouted when he hitch-hiked to the University of Colorado, where he received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1951 and a juris doctorate in 1956.
In between work on those degrees he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1954 and became an intelligence officer. On his flight transport to Korea from Guam, he often recounted, the pilot came on the intercom to announce that President Eisenhower had signed the armistice stopping the war. The soldiers let out a cheer. His plane was diverted to Japan, where Len spent a year manning the military pay run to Northern Japan. In Japan, aside from his official duties in the Counter Intelligence Corps, he learned to play golf and to snow ski, two activities he enjoyed after returning stateside.
Back in Colorado, he finished his law degree and joined his friend and classmate, Orrel Daniel, to practice law. With Edward Bown, they formed the law firm of Daniel, McCain, and Brown, which became a fixture for decades on the corner of Bridge Street and North First Avenue in Brighton.
Len’s law work included prosecution, family law, real estate and municipal practice. He served as assistant city attorney in Thornton and, later, as city attorney in both Brighton and Fort Lupton as both towns grew. His work included efforts in support of the creation of the Brighton Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant, one of the largest such facilities in the nation. Additionally, he served on the board of two local community banks.
In 1966, he married the love of his life, Eloise Randleman, a schoolteacher from Fort Collins. They moved to one of the first Brighton homes located east of Benedict Park on 20th Avenue, where he resided for nearly 50 years. In 1968, Len and Ellie celebrated the birth of their first son, Clark Alan. Two years later their second son, David Randal, was born.
Len loved to travel with his wife and family to locations near and far. He owned a mountain cabin outside of Estes Park, which became a family retreat during summer weekends. In the
1970s and 80s, the family belonged to the Ports of Call Travel Club, through which they took dozens of trips around the nation and the world.
Len retired in 1994 after more than 30 years in law. This opened the door for more golf, sporting events, visits to his sons, and travel with Ellie. They became part of the ElderHostel program (now Road Scholars), where they journeyed around the country and the world to attend educational seminars. Len fondly remembered an Elderhostel trip in the late 1990s to Australia and New Zealand.
After Ellie’s untimely death in 1999, Len continued to play golf and follow his favorite sports teams, which included the Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies and his beloved Colorado Buffaloes. He held season tickets to the latter for over 60 years and watched them win the national championship at the Orange Bowl in 1990.
Len was a member of the Brighton United Methodist Church for over 50 years, where he served on the board of trustees and in other roles. He was also a member of the Lions Club, first in Brighton and later, in Denver. He served on the board of directors of Rude Park Child Care Center, an early childhood education provider and club affiliate located in Denver. He proudly received his 60-year membership pin several years before he died.
He lived his final five years at Inglenook at Brighton, where he enjoyed the ease of having meals prepared for him, regular Bingo games and camaraderie with other residents. Betty Winfree became a beloved friend and constant companion.
Survivors include three brothers, Jim, Gene and Dean and his wife Mary; one sister, Margaret Billings; sons, Clark and his wife Mary (Donoghue), and their two children, Ellie and Patrick, and David and his wife, Katie Pierce, and their dog, Star. Both of his parents; two brothers, Richard and Merle; and wife Eloise, preceded him in death.
He will be remembered for his sense of humor, an abiding interest in politics, sports, and finances, his service to our community and loving devotion to his family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute or the University of Colorado Foundation.