Jasper Ray McClellan passed away in Blanco, Texas, the morning of Monday, March 9 at age 98. He was the father of Blanco resident Keith J. McClellan who is married to Barbara Gail Moore McClellan. Jasper was born to Samuel Edwin McClellan and Bertha Maria Lewis in the little Mormon settlement of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, on January 19, 1911. He graduated from high school at the Juarez Stake Academy. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1930, one of the first in Mexico.
Jasper served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas, Arizona and California. Following his mission he went to Utah where he found employment during the Great Depression as a Spanish teacher and construction worker. He married Rula LaVina Price in 1937 in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. Five boys were born of that union: Boyd Ray, Keith John, Rulon Edwin, Jay R, and Dale Ronald. Jasper loved to play the carpenter saw with a violin bow and he sang bass and toured with an all-male chorus called the Swanee Singers. He enjoyed a successful business as a building contractor.
In 1957, he was called by his church to take his family and move to Monterrey, Mexico, to oversee the construction of churches and schools in the northern part of that country. He also supervised the construction of the first LDS meetinghouse in New Braunfels, Texas. In 1961, the family moved to Mexico City and his building efforts were expanded to include all of Mexico. He was responsible for building thirty churches, ten schools and refurbishing other existing buildings.
In 1965, Jasper was called by his church to serve as Mission President and to lead the missionary efforts of 250 missionaries in central Mexico. Following three years of service in that capacity, he was asked to work as the Church Real Estate Representative for Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. Jasper’s church property transactions included the purchase of over 300 properties as future sites for meetinghouses and schools in the rapidly growing church.
Upon his retirement in 1976, Jasper and Rula moved back to his beloved birthplace in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua. They built a home and planted 14,000 apple and pear trees. He was the first in the area to water his orchards with sprinkler irrigation. They both remained active in church and civic affairs.
Rula passed away in 2003 at age 93. Jasper later moved to Blanco to be with his son, Keith, and daughter-in-law, Gail. Because of failing eyesight, he lived the past year at Live Oak Medical Center in Blanco where he thrived under its excellent program of care.
As of this writing, Jasper and Rula have 77 descendants. A viewing was held at Crofts Funeral Home on Tuesday, March 10 from 5:00 to 7:00pm. A memorial service will be held at Crofts’ at 2:00pm on Wednesday, March 11. It is open to the public. Burial will be in the Colonia Juarez Cemetery in Mexico next to his beloved wife.
For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 2:5)