Wilson Houston “Sonny” McClain, III 

Published 10:47 am Monday, June 12, 2023

Wilson Houston “Sonny” McClain, III was born on Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas on May 15, 1952, and died in Houston, Texas on June 2, 2023. Wilson grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi and on his grandparents’ farm in Edwards. He graduated from H.V. Cooper High School and was a member of First Presbyterian Church. Wilson developed his love of music through singing in the choir, playing trombone in the band, and working on musical productions. “The Music Man” always had a special place in his heart. He spent his free time playing in local bands through college and after, including Peepul’s Choyz, and Fat Back. He also played Farm Aid concerts in Texas and occasionally with The Chill. Wilson’s long and diverse career began at Grogan’s Texaco Station, McClain Gas Company, and on the initial construction of I-20 through Vicksburg. During these years he acquired his nickname of “Moose.” A third-generation Bulldog at Mississippi State University, Wilson studied Music and Landscape Construction. He played in the MSU Marching Band and the Jazz Band and was a founding member of the MSU Landscape Contracting Club. He participated in the Mississippi State Co-Op program in Texas and Oklahoma, working for Landscape Design and Construction (LDC). Upon obtaining his landscape architectural registration, he worked with The SWA Group in Houston, Texas where he became a principal. He started his own company, Wilson McClain Landscape Architect, Inc. Throughout his career he worked on many renowned projects. Some of his Texas favorites included Burnett Park (Ft. Worth), the Mustangs of Los Colinas (Irving), Jesse Jones Park (Houston), Sand Hill Farms and Skeet Range (Waller), and Kings Crossing (Katy). Other significant projects included the FedEx World Headquarters (Memphis) and FedEx World Technology Center (Collierville) in Tennessee. Wilson was an artist and a perfectionist. He spent the last 40 years living on beautiful Lake Livingston north of Houston where his design handprint is evident throughout the lake community. He grew up hunting with his father and told many stories of deer hunting on Davis Island and dove hunting at Inverness in the Mississippi Delta. They also both loved boats and fishing. Wilson was a long-time member of the Tennessee Bar Hunting Club in Issaquena County, Mississippi. He was a devoted son and ensured that his father enjoyed time in his beloved “woods” until the day he died. Following his father’s love for aviation, he also received his pilot’s license at an early age. Wilson was a history enthusiast who began his study of history, the Mississippi River, and the Civil War right in his backyard. His true gift in life was acquiring, encouraging, and supporting his lifelong, devoted friends. Wilson is survived by his wife, Lee McElvogue McClain; his mother-in-law, Jeanne McElvogue; his sisters, Kathleen “Kathy” McClain Bond (Ed) of Natchez, Mississippi and Marcia McClain McKinzie (Lee) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and nephews Wilson “Buck” Jenkins (Kim) of Monument, Colorado and Scott McKinzie (Caroline) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Wilson and Maxyne Mauldin McClain, and Edwin “Buck” and Anna Robbins Ragan; parents, Wilson Houston McClain, Jr. and Jo Ruth Ragan McClain; infant sister, Anna Marie McClain; and aunts, Ann Ragan Duncan and Marcia McClain. There will be a Memorial Service on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church Chapel in Vicksburg, followed by a reception at Duff Green Mansion. All friends and family are invited to attend. There will also be a Celebration of Life in Texas at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Wagin Tails Dog Rescue of San Jacinto County, (6301 FM 945 South, Cleveland, TX, 77328), Trees for Houston, (P.O. Box 270477, Houston, TX 77277) or a charity meaningful to you.

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