Mac McLendon was born April 16, 1888 in Jernigan, Russell County, Alabama to the farming family of William and Mary McLendon. A large, athletic young man, easily recognizable with his red hair, Mac enrolled in Birmingham Medical College, excelling in sports, playing baseball and football (fullback).1 Upon graduation in 1915 Mac continued his education, receiving a double residency in orthopedics and war surgery at Bellevue General Hospital in New York.
Mac moved to Marianna, AR to practice medicine, returning to Birmingham to marry Leila Evelyn Howell on January 27, 1917. Mac registered for the WWI draft on June 5, 1917 and enlisted in the Army on December 12, 1917. With Evelyn by his side, they traveled to Hoboken, New Jersey where he reported to duty at Fort Dix as a member of the medical corps.
Upon his discharge at the end of the war, the couple returned to Marianna where he resumed his medical practice. On July 9, 1919 Mac joined other Marianna veterans in becoming a charter member of the Marianna Post of the Arkansas American Legion. He served two terms as Post 5 Commander, stretching from 1940 through 1942. Always willing to participate in civic activities, Mac was at the front of Marianna’s 1940 Memorial Day parade, leading the way on horseback. In 1970, Dr. Mac McLendon was honored by the state medical association for having practiced fifty years. He was Marianna’s Citizen of the year in 1974, selected by the Marianna Chamber of Commerce.
Jenny Ann Boyer, a long time Marianna resident, recalls being taken as a child to see Dr. Mac following a bicycle spill on a gravel road. It being her first visit to see a doctor, she was apprehensive but has fond memories of how caring he was. She describes him as concerned for his patients, always approachable, a personal friend to all. She has never heard anyone say anything bad of Dr. Mac.
Christmas time was a special time for Dr. and Mrs. McLendon. While most homes had a Christmas tree visible through a front window, the exterior of Dr. Mac’s house was the only house in town ablaze with lights. At their annual Christmas party each child was presented with a gift. Mrs. Boyer recalls dolls for the girls, unsure what presents were given the boys.2
Dr. Mac passed away on November 26, 1980 at the age of 92. He had served as the public health officer for Lee county for 40 years and a general practitioner in Marianna for 62 years. He was laid to rest in Marianna Memorial Park Cemetery.
1Telephone interview, Tim L. Pennycuff, Associate Professor and University Archivist, University of Alabama at Birmingham
2Telephone Interview, Mrs. Jenny Boyer, Marianna, Arkansas
John T. Mitchell, BSBA
April 20, 2019