Joseph A. McGee, Jr. of Howland passed away on March 1, 2021 at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Warren. Born December 11, 1937 in Derby, Connecticut, he was a graduate of Ansonia high school in 1955, Fairfield University in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and earned a secondary science teaching certificate from Youngstown State University College of Education in 2000.
Above all else, Joseph was a committed father and husband, viewing his professional life as a means to care for his family and do good in the world. In 1966 he married his wife of 54 years, Sondra Chadwick, and they started their family in Fairfield, Connecticut, while he worked for the Armstrong Rubber Company in West Haven, Connecticut. In the years that followed, he made successive career moves to Dupont Chemical, Dart Industries, Seamless Rubber, General Tire and General Motors as a chemist and materials engineer. During these years, he relocated his family to Greensburg, Pennsylvania and then Howland, Ohio. Despite the moves he never lost connection with his Connecticut family, returning nearly every Christmas and many summers taking his family back home for extended beach vacations in a cottage in Old Saybrook. In 1976, he joined Packard Electric General Motors in Warren, Ohio, from which he would eventually retire in 1991. During this time, he found professional career success, inventing numerous products and processes for General Motors, and received multiple patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 1984, Joseph was recognized as one of General Motors’ top innovators receiving the prestigious Charles ’Boss’ Kettering award for bold new ideas.
As a youth he was known as a talented baseball player notably pitching a no-hitter in Derby’s little league and was a member of the Derby boy scout troop, being elected as an honored camper in the Order of the Arrow. Later in life, he never missed an opportunity to serve as a baseball coach for his sons and grandchildren in the Howland Athletic Club or take them camping as an assistant scoutmaster in Howland Troops 28 and 126. It was also in his youth that he began his spiritual journey and strong faith life as a Roman Catholic. This unflappable faith would become a hallmark of his life, to be shared with his family, his faith community and would guide his tireless advocacy for social justice by living the teachings of Christ.
Despite suffering from dyslexia, undiagnosed in his youth, Joseph highly valued education and demonstrated tenacity to overcome this challenge, even crediting his disability as a source of insatiable curiosity and creativity. As a life-long learner he attended a post-secondary prep-school, prior to college, and an undergraduate degree in Chemistry. Following his initial retirement from General Motors, and after securing a teaching certificate from the State of Ohio in 2000, he taught science at Grand Valley High School in Orwell, Ohio. He also cherished the opportunity to teach religion and share his faith with elementary students of the Blessed Sacrament parish school of religion.
Joseph was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish in Warren Ohio for over 40 years. He was a member of two Catholic faith fraternities, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Sean McBride Division, and the Knights of Columbus Bishop McFadden Assembly 819.
Joseph loved to talk about his interests including the advance of technology and computers, the space exploration and “Star Trek”. He enjoyed spending time with his family. He was always ready with wise advice and solutions to problems. He was an attentive husband and father and will be missed by all.
He is preceded in death by his parents Joseph A. McGee Sr. and Evelyn McGee (Rooney). Survivors include his wife of 54 years Sondra E. McGee (Chadwick), sister Evelyn Herman, sons Michael J. McGee (Vanessa), Kevin V. McGee (Dara), and Peter C. McGee (Karin), grandchildren Niall McGee (Hannah), Brianna McGee, Liam McGee, Aidan McGee, and Reagan McGee.
Suffering from Alzheimer’s in his final years, Joseph had a strong quality of life, living in his home despite significant medical challenges thanks to the efforts of those who provided extraordinary daily care including his wife Sondra, home health aide Lathea Parthemer, and numerous neighbors, family friends, the volunteers of Trumbull Mobile Meals and staff of St. Joseph Hospital.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel.
A Funeral Mass will be held at Blessed Sacrament Parish with Rev. Christopher Cicero presiding on Saturday March 6, 2021 at 11:30 a.m., followed by interment at Howland Township Cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be mandated.
Contributions in memory of Joseph A. McGee, Jr. may be made to Blessed Sacrament Parish.
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