Anthony Burnell “Tony” McClenny Sr., N3ME, 70, of Bethany Beach, Del., died peacefully in his home on Aug. 25, 2014, after a long battle with brain cancer.
The oldest of three children, McClenny was born in 1943 in Washington, D.C., to Ernest and Anne McClenny. He grew up in a military family and attended numerous schools in the U.S. territory of Hawaii and four states before graduating from Lawton High School in Oklahoma. A dedicated Boy Scout, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 15 and remained active in the organization throughout his life.
He met his wife-to-be, Claudia Sien, at church when they were both 19 and eloped with her in 1963 to begin a marriage of 51 years. They had three children of their own and fostered numerous others. McClenny enjoyed time with his family and traveled extensively throughout the country with them and extended family.
He was a skilled Amateur Radio operator, deeply involved in the sport, including mentoring his oldest son toward professional status. He was an early computer enthusiast, had one of the first available for home use and eventually developed that interest into a business.
When he wasn’t with his family, he was busy providing for them. His first career, with the Hechinger Hardware chain, spanned 30 years from 1963 to 1993, moving from part-time employee to the company’s youngest store manager to district manager. His next endeavor was his own business, World Data Network, an Internet service provider — the essential tool for accessing the future of technology and communication.
He retired to Bethany Beach in 2000, but retire he could not. He loved the town and became involved with the town council. As he liked to say, his “third career” was serving on the town council for more than nine years and as mayor of Bethany Beach for more than five years. He stepped down from that position early in 2014, when cancer treatment claimed his energy and focus, but he continued to consult when needed.
Those who knew McClenny found him to be kind, serious, organized like no one else, focused on the best outcome but also on the needs of all involved, ready with a smile or a laugh and absolutely trustworthy. Most importantly, he was deeply rooted in his Christian faith and brought to life Christ’s bidding to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He is already missed by many.
McClenny was preceded in death by his father, Ernest McClenny, and a son, Kevin McClenny. He is survived by his mother, Anne McClenny; wife, Claudia McClenny; children, Bernie McClenny and his wife, Becky, Kristina Furey and her husband, Dan; many foster children; grandchildren Tim and Lucas Furey, and Christa and Kyle McClenny; and sisters Cindy Bowers and Bonnie Aubin.
The family will receive friends Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Melson’s Funeral Chapel, 38040 Muddy Neck Road, Ocean View, Del. A memorial service to celebrate McClenny’s life will follow at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to Swim Across America—Baltimore Open Swim for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (www.swimacrossamerica.org).