Fred C. McClanahan

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Fred Charles McClanahan, Jr.

(Businessman and
political activist)

Born July 13, 1918
Little Rock, Arkansas
Died July 21, 2007
Shreveport, Louisiana
Political Party Republican
Spouse Mary Virginia Simpson McClanahan (married c. 1943-2007, his death)
Religion United Methodist

Fred Charles McClanahan, Jr. (July 13, 1918 – July 21, 2007), was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force, a decorated World War II veteran, insurance executive, and a former candidate for the United States House of Representatives from his adopted city of Shreveport, Louisiana.


McClanahan was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, to the senior Fred and Elsie B. McClanahan and reared in Homer in Claiborne Parish in North Louisiana. He graduated from United Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Shreveport. In early 1941, he volunteered for the United States Army Air Corps and flew fighter missions in P-38s and P-51s in the European Theater of World War II. McClanahan received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Clusters, and the Purple Heart. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement. In 2000, McClanahan hosted a reunion of the 364th Fighter Group in Shreveport. Many of the men in attendance came together for one last time. After his military years, McClanahan worked as a general contractor and also in the insurance industry as a Certified Life Underwriter. [1]

In 1960, McClanahan was the Republican nominee for Congress from Louisiana's 4th congressional district,  which then covered seven northwestern Louisiana parishes: Caddo (Shreveport), Bossier (Bossier City), Webster (Minden), Claiborne, De Soto (Mansfield), Bienville (Arcadia), and Red River (Coushatta). McClanahan was the second and last Republican to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative Thomas Overton Brooks (1897-1961), who had served since 1937. Four years earlier, Brooks had defeated Republican Calhoun Allen, later the Democratic mayor of Shreveport. McClanahan fared poorly in his race even though presidential candidate John F. Kennedy failed to win the majority of the vote in the seven parishes. Brooks prevailed with 48,286 votes (74.2 percent) to McClanahan's 16,827 (25.8 percent). McClanahan's strongest parish was Caddo, but he garnered only 29.1 percent of the ballots there. Brooks died a year after the election.[2]  In a special election, Democrat Joe Waggonner, of Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish won the position over the Republican choice, Charlton Lyons, and held the seat for seventeen years.

Through the years, McClanahan was the president and a Melvin Jones Fellow in the South Shreveport Lions International. He was also active in the Broadmoor United Methodist Church and was a tutor for the Literacy Volunteers of America.At the time of his passing, McClanahan had been married for sixty-four years to the former Mary Virginia Simpson (1923-2014), whom he met in her hometown of Ballinger in Runnels County, Texas, where he was training as a fighter pilot. She was subsequently an English and psychology  teacher at C. E. Byrd High School in Shreveport.[3] The McClanahans had a son, Fred McClanahan, III (born c. 1946), a business consultant in Shreveport, and his wife, Lydia Lee McClanahan; a daughter, Elizabeth M. Waldmann (born c 1950) and her husband, attorney Lester J. Waldmann (born ca. 1948), of Kenner in Jefferson Parish near New Orleans,. There were eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.[1]

Services were held on July 25, 2007, at Broadmoor Methodist Church. Interment was in Forest Park West Cemetery in Shreveport. McClanahan's obituary begins "Another member of the 'Great Generation' is gone. "[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fred C. McClanahan, Sr.. The Shreveport Times (July 24, 2007). Retrieved on May 22, 2017.
  2. Louisiana Election Statistics, 1960 (Baton Rouge: Secretary of State).
  3. Mary Virginia Simpson McClanahan. Retrieved on May 22, 2017.