June 26, 1920 – Oct. 12, 2007
“He fought the good fight.”
After nearly a two-year battle with cancer, Wilbur Bruce ‘Mac’ McPherson passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. A successful businessman, philanthropist, community leader, author, poet, devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and beloved friend and sweetheart, he will be missed by many. A self-made man, who never forgot his roots, Mac was born in Toppenish, Wash. to Anna Rose and Robert Ross McPherson. The family settled in Oroville in 1927, when as a result of the depression and hard times, they did not have the $500 necessary to immigrate into Canada. Mac always, “considered that to have been an extreme blessing.” In an excerpt from his book, “Mac’s Book”, he wrote, “Oroville was a great place for a poor family. There was fruit picking work even during hard times. There were rivers and lakes to swim in or skate on as per season. There were mountains to climb and hunt on and a lot of very fine people.” Boxing was his favorite sport from an early age. To help earn extra money for the family, he participated in many boxing matches called “curtain raisers” (now called preliminary bouts) starting from the age of 10. The audience would throw money into the ring if he fought well and he would run around the ring gathering up all the coins. That was how he was compensated. On one such occasion, Mac fought in Yakima and won by knockout, in front of several thousand paid spectators, who came to witness the famed “Aberdeen Assassin”, Leo Lomski vs. James Anderson fight, in 1932 when he was only 12 years old. Between the war and the depression, times were tough, but Mac was never without a job. Ever the entrepreneur, he used to pick asparagus in the morning before school, bundle it and sell it door to door after school. He lied about his age when he was only 16 so that he could he help with the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1936, working in temperatures of up to 132 degrees down in the pit. A 1938 graduate of Oroville high school, he excelled in track and football, married his high school sweetheart, Verna Schultz, and their son, Warren was born in 1941. They divorced in 1948. Mac volunteered for the Army Air Force (AAF) in 1943 where he was accepted into the AAF Flight Program. Sadly, a minor medical problem prevented him from completing the flight program, a setback that he would later say, “was one of his greatest blessings.”
Subsequently, the Air Force sent him to several schools for training including the University of Missouri, where he excelled in communications and electronics. Mac went to sea as a Radio Operator and sailed for several years between Seattle and Japan as the Chief Communications Officer for MSTS. In 1950, Mac opened a fledgling electronic service and repair business in the basement of his home, which was to later become Radar Electric in 1959. In its early days, the company concentrated on repair, installation and service of marine electronics. Radar Electric was the largest seller and installer of Decca Marine Radar in the world for 10 years, with service shops in Juneau, Dutch Harbor, Valdez, Alaska, and San Diego, California. When F.B. Connolly Co., an electronics components distributor in Seattle, went out of business in 1964, Radar Electric purchased their remaining inventory and took over distribution of many of their product lines. This acquisition soon resulted in many locations making Radar Electric one of the largest distributors in the Pacific Northwest in industrial and retail electronic parts. He married Evelyn Johnson in 1950 who preceded him in death in 2005.
Mac leaves behind his only son Warren (Bellevue), sister Fern Davis (Wenatchee), sweetheart Bonnie Baines (Omak), five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.
A Memorial service for those wishing to celebrate Mac’s life will be held this summer on Saturday, July 26, 2008, the day before the Annual Oroville picnic, to be held at Radar Lake, located at 14204 232nd NE Woodinville, WA 98077 at 3 p.m. For details regarding the memorial please visit Mac’s website mac-mcpherson.com. Mac has requested any gifts or remembrances in his honor be sent to Swedish Cancer Institute – Dr. Philip Gold’s General Oncology Research Fund – 1221 Madison, suite 200 Seattle, Washington 98104 for the wonderful support that Dr. Gold and his staff gave him throughout the last two years of his life. We will miss Mac dearly and will forever cherish our memories and the inspiration he was to us all.