October 21, 2005

Barbara McLain Memorial Scholarship
will benefit Bishop Chatard

By Mary Ann Wyand

WRTV Channel 6 meteorologists in Indianapolis are forecasting a great night for a fundraising party on Nov. 3 when friends of retired meteorologist and St. Pius X parishioner Bob McLain sponsor a dinner and auction in his late wife’s memory at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis.

The Barbara McLain Memorial Scholarship fundraiser at the Indianapolis North Deanery interparochial high school, located at 5885 N. Crittenden Ave., will feature a chicken dinner provided by Jug’s Catering at 6 p.m. followed by both a live and silent auction with a variety of unique items as well as music by the Carl Storie Band.

Barbara McLain was a former elementary school teacher. She died of pancreatic cancer on July 11.

The fundraiser will be a celebration of her life, and is scheduled on Bob McLain’s birthday. Event organizers are hoping for a great turnout to help him celebrate his special day and pay tribute to his late wife.

He retired from WRTV Channel 6 in 2001, and still occasionally helps with weather reports.

St. Luke parishioner David James of Indianapolis, also a former meteorologist at the ABC affiliate station, said the event will raise scholarship money for students who want to attend Bishop Chatard High School, but whose parents cannot afford the full cost of the tuition.

The McLains’ three children—Kyle, Kent and Kelly—are Bishop Chatard graduates. Last spring, Bob and Barbara McLain were named Parents of the Year for their longtime support of the school.

He currently works at the school as the assistant librarian and a media center staff member.

James said the idea for the memorial scholarship started after her death in July.

“We knew they were so close and were such a happy family,” James said. “Even after their kids graduated a couple of years ago, they still were active at Chatard. Bob works there now and does a lot of volunteer things for Chatard. They really were embraced by the Chatard family.”

James said he hopes the fundraiser “will be able to help at least a handful of students pay for part of their tuition to go to Chatard.”

In addition to working as a meteorologist at Channel 6 for three decades, McLain also has presented educational programs about the weather at area schools for many years.

“In the probably 30 years that Bob was on the air,” James said, “he’s probably one of the most well-known people in Indiana besides the mayor and the governor. If all the people in Indianapolis who love Bob show up and all the people who loved Barbie show up, I don’t think there’s going to be anybody home that night to watch the evening news.”

James said auction items include sports memorabilia and the latest electronics items.

“We’re just trying to put together a good event that will raise some money for Chatard,” James said. “There’s been a good core group of current and former Channel 6 people that have been helping out, and all the different businesses and corporations that we’ve approached so far have been very receptive. It just seems that no matter where we look around the city, we find some connection with people who know Bob McLain.”

Holy Cross Brother Joseph Umile, Bishop Chatard’s president, said he appreciates this opportunity to remember Barbara McLain and also provide scholarship funds for students.

“We’re very grateful that Dave James and the people mostly from Bob’s contacts with the television profession decided that they wanted to do this and that a scholarship would be an appropriate use of the funds,” he said. “Barb was a great Chatard mom, and I think that she would be really happy that this is going to help in some way for some student to get an education at Bishop Chatard. We’re happy that we can host it and remember her and help people have a good time.”

McLain said he is pleased that his wife will be remembered in such a special way.

“This has been a wonderful experience for me and my family,” he said of his family’s longtime relationship with Bishop Chatard High School.

“They’ve been so nice and it has made it such a pleasure to be a volunteer and now to work here at the high school,” McLain said. “And, of course, the students are just fabulous. They’re all so good and so easy to work with, and it just makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.”

McLain said his wife “enjoyed volunteering here, working with the kids, and I’m sure that she will know that this will be a very wonderful thing in her memory here at Bishop Chatard. I can’t thank the people enough that have been working behind the scenes and putting this together. Hopefully, a lot of people will show up and make it a successful fundraiser because it will benefit some students here, and I know Barbie would like knowing that she is helping some students at the school.”

(Tickets to the Barbara McLain Memorial Scholarship fundraiser on Nov. 3 are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For reservations, e-mail Jim Spilman at jimspilman@lilly.com.) †


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