By Alexander Lawrie
A SCOTS evangelist who won a top American military honour for bravery during WWII has left over £1 million in his will.
Adam McLean passed away in April, aged 92, and his recently published estate has revealed the true extent of the retired car mechanic’s wealth.
Mr McLean was born in 1916 and was a respected member of the community in Edinburgh, Fife and also in Macduff where he and his second wife had retired to in 2001.
Included in his legacy is the family home valued at an estimated £200,000, cash and savings worth just over £900,000, along with £3000 worth of furniture and personal effects.
The devout Christian was known for his ability to turn his hand to almost any project and in his spare time he built himself a small cinema, a darkroom, telescopes, gyroscopes and even a large boat.
And McLean’s bravery was rewarded in 1942 when he was awarded a Purple Heart by the American government.
Born in Musselburgh in 1916, Adam McLean was the son of a coal miner and his wife, who were both devout Christians.
He soon became an expert mechanic, and it was during this time he began to devote his life to Christianity after developing a friendship with his boss, Sam Reid.
The former US infantryman also penned a book about his conversion to Christianity called ‘Whatever Next?’.
Mr McLean’s daughter Elisabeth said: “My father had left school at 14 and started first of all as an apprentice in a drawing office but that soon fell through. He really wanted to be an engineer and was lucky enough to land a job with Sam Reid, who was a bit of a local hero.
“Mr Reid introduced dad to Christianity, and it had such an effect on him that after helping himself to some oil from the garage for his motorbike a few months earlier, he confessed all to his boss. It was a big turning point in his life.”
In April 1939, McLean was part of a group of a dozen Scots who travelled to Canada after an invitation from a group of provincial and city leaders who had asked for a team of Moral Re-Armament (MRA) from Scotland.
In 2001, the MRA changed its name to Initiatives of Change.
During his spell as a US infantryman, Mr McLean was badly wounded by a German mortar bomb as he took part in the battle for Italy.
When he woke in a Florence hospital the following day, he found a copy of the New Testament on his bedside with a small box placed on top.
He opened the box to find a Purple Heart – America’s decoration for bravery – displayed neatly inside.
Elisabeth said: “He didn’t really want to talk about his efforts during the war, but I feel he was secretly quite proud about being honoured with the Purple Heart. He always played his role down and never glorified it at all.
“He wasn’t a pacifist, but he knew war is an evil thing. But he always said sometimes the other option to war is worse.”
During his time in Italy he fell in love with Swiss law graduate Elsbeth Spoerry, and the couple married in Caux, Switzerland in 1952.
After Elsbeth passed away from ovarian cancer in 1999, McLean, aged 85, married Toni Millar, an old family friend, and moved to Macduff, Aberdeenshire.
Elisabeth added: “After my mother died he contracted pneumonia and was told by the doctor that he could either go into a home or get himself remarried. Fortunately, he chose the latter.
“So in 2001 he married Toni, an old friend of the family, and they settled up in Macduff. It was quite an event as both of them were in their 80’s at the time.
“He contracted skin and bladder cancer, and although he fought against them valiantly he eventually succumbed. He was incredibly brave about things and never complained.”
Mr Mclean who left an impressive total of £1,172,728.19 in his will, passed away at Aberdeen’s Royal Infirmary on April 23 2008 after a short illness.
He is survived by wife Toni, his daughter Elisabeth, three grandchildren and one great grandchild.