Last weekend, friends and family gathered at The Ebell of Los Angeles to celebrate the lives of Lewis “Sandy” McLean and Florann “Fluff” McLean. Sandy passed away October 3, 2021. Almost exactly one year later, Fluff passed away on September 29, 2022. The husband/wife team were inseparable in their devotion to neighborhood preservation and civic leadership, and it was Fluff’s desire to celebrate their lives together in a joint memorial ceremony at one of their favorite places, The Ebell of Los Angeles, where Fluff spent many years as a dedicated volunteer leader and led the organization as President from 2004-2006.
Fluff joined The Ebell in 1994 and served the organization in many ways. Her background in finance and banking came in handy when she became president and began the practice of setting funds aside for the preservation and restoration of the Ebell campus. Fluff and her husband Sandy were enthusiastic attendees at Ebell events throughout the years. Sandy was a jolly Santa Claus at many Christmas events. Fluff was an active member of the Assistance League and the 9 O’clock Players. She also served on the board of the Hollywood-Wilshire YMCA. Fluff and Sandy were also active members of the Wilshire Rotary Club of Los Angeles, which met weekly at The Ebell until the pandemic. (The Wilshire Rotary still gathers weekly, with monthly luncheons at The Ebell.) Sandy served as president of the Wilshire Rotary.
In an oral history for the Historical Society, Fluff explained she got her name after she was born. Apparent her parents expected a boy and had selected the name Frederick Leonard, but when she was born, they decided to call her “Fluff” because she looked just like a ball of fluff. Fluff has always loved the neighborhood, touring as a child with her parents visiting friends, she recalled telling her mother that one day that she wanted to live in one of those houses. She did, when she married Sandy McLean and moved into his childhood home on Plymouth Blvd. in Windsor Square in 1974.
Sandy McLean was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was a twin, in fact – five minutes older than his brother William McLean. Sandy attended Los Angeles High School and USC – a classic Angeleno. He left his hometown to serve in the army and then moved to the upper Midwest to study dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Though he decided not to practice dentistry, he found his passion putting his scientific background to work in a career in pharmaceuticals, with the corporation that is now Bristol Meyers Squibb. In Sandy’s expansive personal life, he was a swimmer, a tennis player, a bike rider, a camper, a USC football fan, a reader, a theatre fan, a traveler and an opera lover, who was, his wife wrote, “ always on the move.”
Though they had no children, the McLeans opened their home to their nieces and nephews as well as foster children whom they mentored, teaching them life skills and helping prepare them for a brighter future. Fluff also taught piano to students in the neighborhood.
During Fluff’s tenure as the 56th Ebell President, Sandy became ill with encephalitis. Despite a significant health crisis to Fluff herself she was a steadfast caregiver for Sandy, who made a near miraculous recovery though the effects of the disease would linger the rest of his life. Ebell leaders recalled that Fluff never faltered in her presidency or her commitment to The Ebell.
From their home on Plymouth, Fluff and Sandy dedicated countless hours to the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society where Fluff served as president for many years as well as treasurer. Sandy was always at her side, a cheerful helpmate following her directions like so many of us who had the pleasure of working with the two of them on Historical Society events including the annual homes tour and garden tour. Proceeds from the tour have been given away to support numerous beatification projects in the neighborhood. The WSHPS continues that tradition. Last year’s homes tour was dedicated to Fluff and Sandy.
Their work with the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society lives on through the historic research of hundreds of homes that celebrate our neighborhood’s unique architecture. In the oral history interview Fluff credits the dedicated residents of Hancock Park and Windsor Square who worked to save the neighborhood from destruction as developers began purchasing lots for development along Wilshire similar to Westwood.
“HOA banded together to save the neighborhood from developers who wanted to build condos like on Wilshire Blvd.,” Fluff said. Fortunately, the oil crisis of the 1970s altered the financial markets allowing residents time to build support for neighborhood preservation. “It would have been a real loss to the city if we had not saved these homes.” she added. “This is a great place to live, the houses all have good bones and there’s a lot to longevity in the neighborhood too, many residents live into their nineties!”