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On February 10, 1937, God sent a ray of light from-heaven-to-earth when Dieanna Delores “Deli” McLaren was born to Olivia Bowen at Harlem Hospital in Manhattan, NY. Deli was first raised by her loving great-grandmother, Elgiva Bowen, alongside her aunt Marietta Mason (who was more like a sister), until Elgiva’s death. Thereafter, Deli's aunt, also Marietta’s sister (Ruth E. Brown) picked up the torch. In January of 1947, Deli’s mother married her loving dad, Louis Baker. She then went to live with them in Brooklyn, NY. Deli grew up in a home that was filled with a love for God, music, and the arts. Her family also imparted upon her the importance of service to others, which she carried with her into adulthood. Growing up, Deli was quite athletic. She enjoyed attending Christian summer camps, swimming, and loved roller skating! After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, Deli briefly dabbled in modeling. However, she eventually became employed with Metropolitan Insurance Company as a Bookkeeper. While socializing and playing cards with friends in December of 1957, Deli met the love of her life, Richard Lee McLaren. After dating for only 5 months, the couple wed on May 3, 1958. To that loving union 3 children were born, Richard, Jr., Donna, and Rod. In September of 1961, the family relocated to Long Island where they settled in Roosevelt, NY. Soon after, they joined Memorial Presbyterian Church where Aunt Ruth served as the organist. As Aunt Ruth desperately needed a strong alto voice, Deli heeded the call for her to join the choir and never looked back! Blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom, Deli always made time for serving her church family. Whether sewing curtains or robes, serving as a hostess, Youth Group Advisor, Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, Deaconess, or beautifying the sanctuary; Deli served with a heart of gold. After her children entered elementary school, Deli resumed her education when she matriculated at Nassau Community College. Later, Deli enrolled in Adelphi University where she earned a Master of Social Work in 1992. Deli somehow managed to accomplish all of this, while also assisting her husband with managing their business, Thomas Pharmacy in Freeport. In 1998, when her mother’s health began to fail, Deli and Richard welcomed Olivia into their loving home. Later, the trio welcomed Aunt Ruth, in 2009, and finally, Aunt Mari joined the bunch in 2011. Admirably, no act of love or service to family was too great for Deli to perform. Following the loss of her mother in 2010 and her husband in 2014, Deli continued to manage the pharmacy while diligently caring for her aunts (Ruth & Mary) until God called them home. What a phenomenal woman she was. Finding herself no longer a caretaker, Deli spent many days swimming and playing bridge at the Freeport Recreation Center. Likewise, Deli continued her life-long goal of personal growth when she enrolled in classes to improve her computer skills. Deli also remained a faithful participant in the 55+ Club, Women’s League, Sunday School and Bible Study until her health prevented her from doing so. She also thoroughly enjoyed fellowshipping with her Sisters in Prayer. Deli’s spirit lives on through an enormous legacy that she leaves to cherish her memories, including her Children - Richard W. McLaren, Sr. (Rosilda), Donna Rogers, Rod McLaren (Sheila), Andrew Neal (Lissa); Brothers - Darren Baker (Katie) and Ronald Baker (Sondra); loving Grandchildren: Richard W. McLaren, Jr. (Taisha), Selena A. Washington (Justin), Sandilia S. Day (Nigel), Gabriel M. McLaren (Nathalie), Rod “Scottie” McLaren, Carlton Rogers (Anika), Candace Rogers, Andrea Neal, Brandon McLaren, Ashley Neal, Trenton McLaren; adoring Great-grandchildren: Genesis, Sariah, Mia, Gabriella, Richard (RJ), Naomi, Nya, Amina, Shiloh, Nigel, Jr., Londyn and Thalia; special “nieces and nephews'': Dawn, Bonnie, Belinda, Susan, Glenn, and Stacey and a host of family, loved ones, and friends. Additionally, Deli was beyond grateful that AncestryDNA united her with her biological father’s family after 81 years of life. Resultingly, Deli gained 2 loving nieces, Stacey and Rachel and a delightful nephew, Harris. Early on Thursday, December 16, 2021, after a long and valiant fight with leukemia, Deli peacefully danced away with God’s angels. Along the journey, Deli fought with dignity, grace, and every fiber of her being. If love could have kept her here, she would have surely never reached her demise. Deli was truly exceptional; devoted, loving, and one of the most selfless examples of Christ’s love that a family could have ever asked for. Through her example, we are blessed with a rich and endless legacy of faith, love, and service. To God be all the glory for this victorious disciple who taught us how to live meaningful lives and love beyond measure.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
P.O. Box 5028, Hagerstown MD 21741-5028