Mrs. McLean was born on April 3, 1914 in Mason City, Iowa, the daughter of Ernest and Olive (Hemm) Stoddard. All of her education was received in southern California, concluding with an associate degree from Citrus Junior College in Azusa, California.
Her first employment was with a firm of attorneys in Los Angeles, as receptionist, bookkeeper and librarian for two years, followed by a year with a small newspaper doing a little of everything with the possible exception of running the linotype. The she went to Boston and later to Seattle with a construction company as an office manager.
At the conclusion of those contracts, she went to work at the Olympic hotel in Seattle as a secretary to the front office manager. There she met her husband-to-be, James Murray McLean, who was an assistant manager. They were married in 1946 and the following spring moved to Nome where he had mining interests.
The McLeans have lived in Nome ever since and she worked at a variety of jobs, including deputy U.S. Marshal, office secretary and postal clerk. In 1957 they bought the Modern Dry Cleaners and Laundry business.
Governor William Egan appointed her to the Board of Regents to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Boyd Harwood
, a Nome pharmacist, on January 28, 1964. Edith Bullock
was appointed to take her place on the Board.
When Governor Egan returned to the governorship in 1970, he appointed her to the Alaska State Board of Education.
After 27 years of living in Nome, Alaska, the McLeans moved to Livermore, California. James McLean died in 1981. She moved to Castro Valley and then San Leandro. She was a member of St. Charles Borromeo Church. Before her illness she lived at Hillcrest Gardens, where she published a weekly newsletter. She enjoyed writing.
On April 6, 1997 Ruth McLean died. She was 83.