Erland Charles Leslie McLetchie ("Erl") lived life surrounded by family and friends that he loved and that loved him. He died that way too on May 1, 2016.
Erl was born on his mother Ann's birthday on Nov. 14, 1949, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Erl's parents were extraordinary people that loved Erl and that he loved dearly. Erl's parents met in His Majesty's Royal Air Force and were the first people married in liberated France under a field order from General Montgomery shortly after the D-Day Invasion.
His two elder brothers, Olaf, who preceded him in death, and Magnus, of Ellsworth, Maine, were born across the pond in the United Kingdom where there were still war rations. Erl's father, Norman, flew across the Atlantic in a bomber with its doors welded shut to find a better life for his family first in Canada and later in New Hampshire.
Erl grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire with his lifelong best friend and future business partner, Jay "Guppy" Clough. Erl was one of the greatest backup defensive tackles in New Hampshire high school football history for the Laconia High School Sachems, who were state champions Erl's senior year.
After graduating from Laconia High School, Erl matriculated at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where he met his wife, love of his life, and best friend, Janet Veasey of Warwick, R.I. Erl graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1972.
After graduating from college, Erl and Janet married on June 30, 1973. Following graduation, Janet taught at a Catholic school in the Boston area while Erl attended law school at Suffolk University. After graduating from law school, Erl and Janet returned to New Hampshire where Erl began practicing law in Ossipee as the Atticus Finch of Carroll County.
Erl practiced law for 40 years in New Hampshire. Erl was widely regarded by the community as the greatest advocate in the North Country. Erl's clients, colleagues, and even his adversaries, loved him like family and he loved them, too. Erl frequently represented people that could not afford representation on a pro bono basis and provided the same zealous representation to them that he did to all of his other clients.
On several occasions, he received the New Hampshire Bar Association President's Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service in recognition of his "willingness to accept pro bono cases and significant contribution of time in direct legal service to the poor."
Erl's greatest love and accomplishment in his eyes, were his three sons Andrew (Andy of Golden, Colorado), Douglas (Doug of Portsmouth), and Charles (Chip of Charlestown, Mass.). Erl was a hero to each of his sons, and all three grew up trying to be just like Erl in their own ways. Andy, Doug and Chip have yet to succeed in that endeavor, but will continue to strive to do so.
Later in life, Erl took great pride and joy in his grandchildren, Cameron and Graham of Golden, Colorado, and Cecelia of Charlestown, Mass. Erl's favorite thing to do was to regale anyone he met with tales of his grandchildren whether they wanted to hear the tales or not.
The greatest testament to Erl is the fact that he is survived by his wife, Janet; his sons, Andy, Doug, and Chip, their spouses Lyndall (Schuster), Mike Kierstead, and Julia (Monack); his three grandchildren; and far too many friends and extended family to list.
In lieu of flowers, do two things. First, live life the way Erl did: surrounded by people that he loved and that loved him. If you are half as good as it he was, you will have lived a full life. Second, consider making a donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 1 p.m. at First Christian Church at 83 North Main St. in Wolfeboro to be followed by a luncheon at the Wolfeboro Inn.