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McLain's contributions to NIC were numerous

by David Cole
| April 7, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Longtime North Idaho College educator Betty Jean McLain died Tuesday, and officials at the school acknowledged her numerous contributions there and said she will be dearly missed. She was 86.

She was married for 61 years to Charles "Mac" McLain, of Coeur d'Alene. At NIC, she was an instructor, dean, department chair and trustee, and was involved in a number of committees on campus.

"Betty McLain's involvement at North Idaho College spans more than 30 years, although her impact on the college dates back decades before that when her grandmother helped seek donations from community members to start our region's first and only community college," said NIC President Priscilla Bell.

McLain was born in Coeur d'Alene in 1923, and she began working at NIC as a part-time instructor in 1961. She went full time a year later in the business department and served as dean of women from 1968 to 1978, said NIC spokesman Stacy Hudson.

McLain was chair of the business department from 1974 to 1985, the year she retired, Hudson said. McLain returned to the college in 1988 as a member of the NIC board of trustees, and was a trustee from 1988 to 1997.

Hudson said McLain Hall on the college campus was dedicated in October 1994 to the McLain family and its impact on NIC. The family's connection to NIC included three generations, Hudson said.

McLain's maternal grandmother, Eva Beck Marshall, moved to Rathdrum from Michigan in 1889. In 1933, when the community decided to form a junior college, Marshall joined other women who sought donations door-to-door, Hudson said.

Marshall's daughter, Hazel Marshall Cardwell, was a teacher and principal at Huetter and Sherman elementary schools, which is currently the Sherman Administration Building on NIC's Coeur d'Alene campus. In 1926, she served on NIC's first board of trustees and was the first woman to hold that position, Hudson said.

Betty McLain also taught at Coeur d'Alene High School, before beginning her work at NIC.

She served on boards for Kootenai Medical Center, Museum of North Idaho, and North Idaho Home Health. She helped found the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy.

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