Colonel (Retired) McLain Garfield Garrett, Jr. peacefully transitioned from earth to glory at home on March 31, 2020, with family by his side. Known as Mac to all, he was a loving and much-loved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and mentor to many.One of four children, Mac was born on August 29, 1934 to the Late Reverend McLain Garrett and wife, Everlena Meachum, in Birmingham Alabama. He attended Florida A&M University where he participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Beta Nu), and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine. He received his Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Baylor University. He was commissioned in the United States Army in 1956 and served for 30 years. During his distinguished career, he was among the Army’s first African American helicopter pilots in the Medical Service Corps. He was a Dust- off helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, flying over 606 hours and evacuating over 1235 patients. He later became a Health Care Administrator and was a Commander or Deputy Commander of five hospitals with duty assignments to include Belgium and Germany (Nuremberg and Mannheim), as well as Fort Jackson, South Carolina. His many military awards and decorations include: the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 bronze service stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm, Senior Army Aviator Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Medical Badge.
Following military retirement, Mac accepted a position at Howard University in Washington D.C. as Director of the Student Health Center. Never one for down time, he was a Surveyor for the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO) for over 30 years. He was also a Fellow of the American College of Health Executives (FACHE).Mac was a faithful member of the Gift Chapel on For Sam Houston. He was a lifelong avid golfer (who honed a deadly short game in order to avoid the humiliation of buying hot dogs and beer).He is survived by his children Craig Smith, Carl Smith (Erika), Rhonda Greene, McLain Garrett III (Germaine), Dr. Janice Miller, and Mark Garrett (Lynn); grandchildren: Cameron Smith, Colin and Corbin Smith, Evan, Travis and Jacob Miller, Emerald Brewer Murray (Sean), Trinity Garrett, McLain Garrett IV, Kieran and Quinn Garrett. He leaves one brother Emmanuel G. Garrett and wife Dr. Glenda Garrett and devoted partner, Ms. Carolyn Foster, as well as cousins, nieces, nephews and loving friends. In addition to his parents, Mac was preceded in death by his loving wife, Jean (Richardson) Garrett in 2006, his sisters Audrey Jewel Garrett-Jones and Patsy Marie Garrett Sissle, and grandson Carson Smith.