Murray Lee Maclin, affectionately known as “Chick,” was born on March 10, 1930 in Brunswick County, Virginia to John H. Maclin Sr. and Laura Page. He departed this life peacefully on November 29, 2019 at his Teaneck, NJ home with family by his side.
A 1946 graduate of Saint Paul’s High School in Lawrenceville, Virginia, Murray earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Saint Paul’s Polytechnic Institute in 1950. The youngest of eight siblings, Murray grew up in Virginia working on his father’s farm. In his youth he enjoyed playing tennis and once considered pursuing a career as a professional baseball umpire.
Although his father was a successful farmer and landowner, Murray decided that once he fulfilled his obligations to the farm he would pursue a different path, one that would take him to New York. There he completed a technical job-training program and worked for a year for an electrical contracting company before enlisting in the Army in 1951.
Five years later he completed his service and was honorably discharged at the rank of Corporal First Class. During his Army enlistment he lived in New York City, and through his sister-in-law, was introduced to a Harlem Hospital nursing student named Gertrude (“Trudie”) Mable Blair. They were married on February 4, 1956, and from that union would have two sons, Tracey and Jeffrey. In 1963, Murray moved the family from an apartment in the Parkchester section of the Bronx into a house in Teaneck.
Around the same time, Murray transitioned from doing electrical contracting work to opening his own business, Maclin Electronics. A factor in the decision to start a business was the union’s refusal to admit him due to his race. He eventually moved the business to a storefront at 2009 Amsterdam Avenue in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem. In big letters on storefront window were the words, “Maclin’s TV.”
As owner and operator, Murray did large and small electrical contracting jobs, specializing in television, radio and stereo repairs. On any given day Maclin’s TV was the gathering place for an eclectic array of local personalities, rotating in and out, giving the place the feel of a social club. Behind a partition in the back, with small sections cut out to see who came in and out, was where Murray plied his trade.
Murray was a member of The Church on the Hill in Harlem, where he served as a trustee and sang in the choir. In his spare time he enjoyed playing cards and spending time with friends and family. Every summer he returned to Lawrenceville to visit and reunite with family. On June 7, 1991, his wife Trudie died after a courageous battle with cancer. Murray retired in 1993. On August 4, 1995 he married his high school sweetheart Flora Marguerite Boyd of New York.
Over their 24-year marriage, Murray and Flora enjoyed vacationing in Las Vegas, the Poconos, Atlantic City and being active in Saint Paul’s College local and national alumni activities. In 2011 they joined The Presbyterian Church of Teaneck, where they worshiped until Murray’s health took a turn. A master story-teller and jokester, who enjoyed bringing his subjects to life by imitating their voices and mannerisms, Murray embraced his life with integrity and was steadfast in his loyalty to his family.
In 2018 he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Murray confronted his illness grace and dignity, maintaining his famous wit and gentle spirit throughout. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Flora Boyd-Maclin of Teaneck; son M. Tracey Maclin of Boston; daughter-in-law Karen Tosh of Boston; son Jeffrey Neal Maclin of Freehold; daughter-in-law Jacqueline Polanco of Freehold; granddaughters Blair Simone Maclin and Micaela Victoria Maclin; sisters Bernice Sydnor and Jeanette Travis, and sister-in-law Jennie Maclin, all of Lawrenceville; and remembered in the hearts of his nieces, nephews, family and friends.
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