Donald Graeme MacLaren, Jr., age 79, of Alford, Florida, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, July 8, 2023, just five days short of his 80th birthday.
Don was born on July 13, 1943, to Donald G. MacLaren, Sr. and Edith Vickers MacLaren in Bay County, Florida. He grew up in Panama City, Florida, and was a member of the Bay High Class of 1961.
He then served in the U. S. Army, after which he worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C. for a year before beginning his career with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco which brought him to Marianna where he retired as a “revenuer” after 30 years of service. After his retirement, Don worked part-time as a deputy sheriff for Sheriff John McDaniel. He loved law enforcement, and his dedication was evident as he was instrumental in forming the Tri-State Law Enforcement organization bringing together agencies in Florida, Georgia and Alabama to solve major crimes in all three states. Don was a long time member of Jackson County Crimestoppers, and also taught as an adjunct instructor in the Law Enforcement Program at Chipola College. For several years, he volunteered with Boy Scouts of America and was the Chief of the Compass Lake in the Hills Volunteer Fire Department station 45.
Don attended First United Methodist Church of Marianna for over 20 years where he was active as an usher and as a leader of their Youth Group. He was a talented musician who could play any instrument with strings from piano to guitar and was an original member of the local Second Time Around Band. In his later years, he became an avid animal lover, along with his wife Nancy, at their farm in Alford. He enjoyed spring and summer vacations at the family lake house on White Western Lake and fall and winter vacations in the mountains of North Georgia.
He was preceded in death by his parents; father Donald MacLaren, Sr.; mother, Edith Vickers MacLaren Rhyne, and her husband, John Bertram Rhyne.
Don is survived by his wife of 22 years, Nancy Jones of Alford, Florida; his daughters, Ali MacLaren Wiggins and husband, Gavin, of Vian, Oklahoma; Leslie MacLaren of Greenwood, Florida; his grandchildren, Tucker Jackson of Greenwood, Florida; SSgt. Cade Wiggins, USAF, of Bellevue, Nebraska; and Mary Margaret (Maggie) Ham of Panama City Beach, Florida; his sisters, Dottie Rhyne Arthur (Malcolm) of Panama City, Florida; Kay Rhyne Cowherd (Dean) of Arnold, Maryland; along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends and his therapy dog, Dillon.
No services are planned. Memorialization will be by cremation with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to Marianna Partners for Pets at https://www.partnersforpetsmarianna.com/donate or by mail to PO Box 315 Marianna, FL 32447.
Expressions of sympathy may be made at www.jamesandsikesfuneralhomes.com