MELROSE – Minor McLain, a veteran of World War II, was heading to a weekly gathering at the VFW post here when he was struck and killed by an MBTA bus Tuesday, according to friends who were mourning the 88-year-old man today.

“He was a wonderful guy,’’ said Stephen C. Limone, a friend of some 20 years. “And an all-around family man.’’

McLain, according to friends, was the father of two adult children. He once taught history at Salem State University.

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McLain lived at the Melrose Towers on Melrose Street and was walking, with a cane, to the Sgt. Harold O. Young Post 2394 on Chipman Avenue when he was struck, said John Pike, a retired Melrose police officer and long time friend.

Pike said he saw McLain walking towards the post, stopped and offered to give him a ride, but McLain declined.

According to the MBTA, McLain was struck by a Route 131 bus around 7 p.m. near the intersection of Franklin and Pratt streets. McLain was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The crash is under investigation by the Middlesex district attorney’s office.