Charlottesville, VA – Stephen Thomas McLean, a beloved figure in Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away peacefully at his home on September 1, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. Born on October 26, 1950, in Charlottesville, he was the third of seven children born to Dr. Walter Copley and Margaret Kleppinger McLean.
Steve’s journey through life was marked by a profound commitment to his community, a deep passion for real estate, and an unwavering dedication to his family and friends. His impact on central Virginia and the people he touched was immeasurable.
Steve’s educational journey began in the Charlottesville public school system, and he proudly graduated from Lane High School. He continued his academic pursuits at Princeton University, where he experienced four unforgettable years. At Princeton, he excelled not only academically but also athletically, playing varsity baseball. Steve was a member of The Cap and Gown Club and formed lifelong friendships that remained dear to him throughout his life. After graduating, he embarked on a year-long adventure across Europe and Asia, an experience he cherished as one of the most transformative periods of his life.
Returning to his beloved Charlottesville in 1973, Steve discovered his lifelong passion for real estate. In 1980, he co-founded McLean Faulconer Inc., a real estate firm that would become a central pillar of the community. Steve’s dedication to serving his clients was unparalleled, and he built deep, personal relationships with many of them.
Steve was actively involved in various organizations, demonstrating his commitment to the betterment of the community he loved. He served on the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Board of Realtors, taking on roles such as treasurer, vice president, and president. He chaired the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Chamber of Commerce for an impressive 10 years. At the state level, Governor Allen appointed Steve to the Virginia Real Estate Board, where he served for four years. He was also a valuable member of the Acquisition of Conservation Easements Committee, appointed by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
Steve’s philanthropic efforts extended to renowned institutions such as Monticello and James Madison’s Montpelier, where he served on the Monticello Cabinet and the board, respectively. He was a founding member of Charlottesville Tomorrow, a visionary organization dedicated to enhancing the community’s well-being. Steve played a pivotal role in founding and chairing the Board of the YMCA, recognizing it as a critical necessity for Charlottesville.
At Farmington Country Club, Steve held the positions of treasurer and president and served on the Board of Directors for two terms. He also chaired the University of Virginia Physicians Group and accepted tenure as a member of the Board of Directors of the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont just before his passing.
While his professional achievements were notable, Steve will be remembered most for his charming personality, boundless optimism, keen sense of humor, remarkable intelligence, unmatched work ethic, athletic prowess, and his genuine desire to help others.
Above all, Steve cherished his family and friends. His greatest joy came from spending time with his wife of 44 years, Caroline, his children, and his grandchildren. Steve embraced the magic of grandparenthood three years ago and welcomed his namesake, Poppy McLean Hughes, shortly before his passing. He was eagerly anticipating the arrival of his sixth grandchild in December. Steve found immense pleasure in spending time at his family farm in Greene County, especially when it involved operating machinery.
Steve was predeceased by his father and older sister, Patricia Ann McLean. He is survived by his wife, Caroline Wilson McLean, and their three children and their families: Wilson Copley McLean; Margaret (Meg) McLean Dagenhart (James) and their children, Coco and Henry; Elizabeth McLean Hughes (Reagen) and their children, Harrison, Wilson, and Poppy; his mother, Peggy; and his siblings, Dr. W. Copley McLean Jr. (Merri), Mark Andrew McLean (Ann), Peter Kleppinger McLean (Carol Ann), Martha McLean Rodgers (Brad), Christopher Laubach McLean (Ashley), along with 25 nieces and nephews.
A private burial will be held, and a celebration of Steve’s remarkable life will take place on Saturday, September 30th, at 4 p.m. at the family’s home. The family kindly requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Walter Copley and Margaret Kleppinger McLean Scholarship Fund, which recognizes medical students exhibiting compassionate, patient-centered care. Contributions can be sent to c/o UVA Medical School Foundation, P.O. Box 37963, Boone, IA 50037.
The passing of Stephen Thomas McLean leaves a void in the hearts of all.