John Blair McLeod, 86, of Newtown Square, longtime insurance-company executive and active hobbyist, died Sunday, Nov. 25, of heart disease at Broomall Presbyterian Village.
Born in Tulsa, Okla., to Lorne McLean and Mary Blair McLeod, he graduated from Tulsa Central High School and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in insurance from Oklahoma State University in 1957. He earned graduate degrees from Temple Law School in 1972 and Harvard Business School in 1978, the latter in advanced management.
Starting in 1957, Mr. McLeod was a senior vice president of claims and technical operations for the Insurance Co. of North America in Philadelphia. In 1988, he joined the Glatfelter Insurance Group in York, Pa., as a senior vice president of sales. He retired from Glatfelter in 1996.
Military service was an important element of Mr. McLeod’s life. He served in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1955 with the rank of corporal. He never lost touch with his Marine friends and served as junior vice commandant of Gen. Smedley D. Butler Detachment, Marine Corps League No. 74, in Newtown Square.
His family said he was a “fund-raiser extraordinaire” for the detachment, which conducts an annual charity drive called Help Us Help Others from March to November. According to the detachment’s November 2016 newsletter, many of the donors are local merchants.
“Junior Vice Commandant Jack McLeod reported that the results of the Help Us Help Others (HUHO) Campaign amounted to collections of $4,243.00 in the past weekend,” the newsletter wrote in 2016. “The year-to-date total now stands at $153,000 compared to a year-to-date total of $139,000 in 2015.”
“He was very gracious. He sent thank-you notes and flowers to the merchants,” said his daughter, Jeanne C. McCook.
Mr. McLeod enjoyed reading, woodworking, and listening to jazz. He built a stereo from a kit and rebuilt a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS muscle car, his family said. He played golf and tennis. He built model ships, wove artistic tapestries, kept an aquarium, and was a gourmet cook. “He was insanely passionate about his popovers,” his daughter said.
He had a lifelong love of photography and went on seven African safaris. He explored Europe and the Arizona highways in search of interesting images.
“He loved nature and animals,” his daughter said. “He just loved life and the world.”
In 1959, he married Carole Williams. The couple had three children, whom they raised in Broomall and then Newtown Square. His wife died Sept. 24.
In addition to his daughter, Jeanne, Mr. McLeod is survived by a son, John B. McLeod II; three nieces; and a nephew. A son, Lorne M. McLeod, died earlier.
A visitation starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, will be followed by a 7 p.m. memorial service at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2220 S. Sproul Rd., Broomall, where Mr. McLeod was a longtime member. Interment will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.