Joseph Upton McGrath died peacefully at 1:20 AM on June 13, 2012 in University Place, WA, succumbing to Alzheimer's disease and dementia after more than three years of a graceful yet determined struggle. He was born on March 31,1925 in New Haven, CT to Joseph Alyosius McGrath, DDS and Anna Moran McGrath. After graduating from West Haven High School and Cheshire Academy, Joe served in the Navy from 1943 to 1945. He graduated from Yale University in 1948. On December 26, 1949, he married Antoinette M. Marchese, daughter of Custode and Maria Marchese at St Paul's Catholic Church in West Haven.
After they married, Joe began teaching in Connecticut and attended Columbia University, where he earned a master's degree in American History in 1951 that included studying under Lincoln scholar David Herbert Donald. Soon after graduating, Joe and Ann moved to Long Island where he taught at Massapequa High School. In 1960, he helped open Locust Valley High School and taught there until he retired in 1987. During his tenure, he taught social studies, government, economics and psychology. In addition to chairing the social studies department for many years, he supported students involved in student government and publishing yearbooks. He also took students to compete in the NBC-gameshow, It's Academic. After 35 years of teaching, Joe and his wife moved from their home in Huntington, NY to Tucson, AZ, where, for more than 20 years, he walked regularly in Sabino Canyon, loved music, and learned about the role that Spain and Mexico played in the development of Arizona and California, something that fascinated him because, he admitted, he did not learn about it in the Anglo-focused history classes at Yale and Columbia.
Joe is proceeded in death by his parents, two brother-in-laws Vincent Marchese of West Haven, and Sebastian " Mark" Machese of Miami, FL, a sister-in-law Nancy Raffile McGrath of Orange, CT, and a nephew, Paul Marchese of West Haven. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, his sons, Lee U. McGrath of Edina, MN and Paul R. McGrath of Tacoma, WA, his daughter-in-law, Bonnie Speer McGrath, son-in-law David W. Beland, four grandchildren, Jenya, Michael, Jack, and Sheila Ann McGrath, brother, Robert McGrath, sister-in-law, Marjorie Marchese, six nieces and a nephew and their familes, and countless appreciative students.
A service will be held later this year. Donations can be made to the two non-profit organizations he cared deeply about: San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson that was founded in 1692 and dates its church back to 1797 www.sanxaviermission.org and the Institute for Justice, a civil rights organization that defends constituitonal rights and for which his son Lee works. www.ij.org