Loren R. “Mac” McQueen, 1925-2007

Mac was known locally as 'the Man of the Mountain.'.

Loren R. “Mac” McQueen, 81, died Jan. 20, 2007, of complications from a neck injury he suffered in a fall. He had been hospitalized for several weeks. Loren joined RCA in 1969 and became a Fellow in 1975. He was a member of the board of directors from 1979 to 1999. He received the Club’s Special Services Award in 2001. Mac was president of Communication & Control of Campbell, California, an antenna site developer and management company.

Mac started the company as Umunhum Development Corporation in January 1950. Umunhum provided communications sites and services to the rural area of Santa Clara Valley and the Monterey Bay from family-owned mountaintop property on Mount Umunhum near Almaden, California. The business grew steadily through the ’50s.

Mac’s son, Scott, told me: “He was in the Army Air Corps in Italy during World War II and was recalled for Korea. He spent his time during the Korean conflict at Half Moon Bay, California, at a radar facility that was looking for things coming in over the horizon. He sold cars on the side. Now that I look back on it, I wonder did he know about something about the mountain, Umunhum, that it would have a radar put in 10 years later?

“He bought the mountaintop about 50 years ago. There was a dirt road to it, no Air Force base, no power or anything. As time went on and communications decided it was the place to be, thatÂ’s where everything started. The Air Force put in a road. And power came close to the property, so he put in some poles and it became a communications site.

“He was selling used cars at that time. He sold first for a Ford dealership in Los Gatos and then on his own. In World War II he had been assigned to combat intelligence. He said he enjoyed it, and that it was different from what he was doing. He sent that in a letter to his mother,” Scott said.

The Allison Development Company was established in 1961 to create and manage a communications facility on a leased site on Mount Allison near Fremont, California. In 1965, the two companies were combined under the name Communication & Control Inc (CCI). In 1969, CCI purchased the 25-acre lease on Mount Allison, making it unique as the only site on private land on the Mission Ridge.

Various web pages I found contain colorful references to Mac patrolling his mountain property in a jeep with a racked gun to discourage hikers, bicyclists and motorcyclists from straying from narrowly defined public roads and trails onto his antenna sites. I had the pleasure of riding with Mac and Scott in a CCI vehicle to visit one or more sites sometime in the 1990s, as I recall. Mac was proud of the high-elevation site development work he and his family members completed, and I believe CCI also developed some low-elevation sites in the area. Sometime I may come across photos I took with a 35 mm camera during that visit. Some were published in a magazine.

On May 20, 1998, the Los Gatos Weekly-Times reported that Mac put land he owned on Mt. Umunhum in trust for the Boy Scouts. “The land is near the radar station on the Santa Cruz side, and you can spot it from Highway 17. The Scouts have used it for years for overnight wilderness hikes from Los Gatos to Umunhum and back. McQueen feels he’s gotten so much out of scouting that he wants to give something back–in perpetuity,” the story in the Weekly-Times reads.

My time on the RCA board of directors overlapped with some of Mac’s, and I always enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time with him on the phone and at Club meetings. I wish I could say there were more where Mac came from, but there aren’t.

In addition to his son Scott, Mac is survived by his wife Marge and daughters Randee and Lori McQueen.

The Campbell Reporter newspaper published an obituary on Feb. 9, 2007, that you might like to read.

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