Amherst Magazine

Robert G McGrath '52

Robert G. McGrath '52 died August 21, 2009.

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 IN MEMORIAM

           Greg McGrath died at his home in Fairlee, Vermont on August 2nd, from a sudden and unexpected heart attack. He was 78. His daughter Peggy, speaking at his memorial service in Hanover, said:

“It was a terrible shock to lose Dad so suddenly. One moment he was with us at our Blanton family reunion, swimming in the lake, taking photos of his grandson setting off on a bicycle ride to New York City, checking on the latest chemical analysis of LakeMorey’s water. The next moment he was gone. We remember him the way he was, just a moment ago.”

Greg grew up on Long Island, in Freeport, N.Y., graduating from BaldwinHigh School. He loved the water, and sailed with his brother John (“Moose” ’51) along the barrier islands of Long Island, with his family on LakeOntario, and at his home on LakeMorey.

At Amherst he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in football, wrestling – he was Captain his senior year – and track. He was a Chemistry major, a member of both Sphinx and Scarab, and PsiU. After graduation he spent a year in the graduate chemical engineering program at MIT, rooming with Jack Vernon and Win Hindle.

Greg married Betsy Blanton of Danville, Indiana (Smith ’54, daughter of Forest Blanton, Amherst ’21), and attended Navy OCS, serving in WashingtonD.C. and California. They then moved to Irondequoit, New York, and Greg began a career of thirty years with Eastman Kodak.

Betsy and Greg have three children: Peggy and Cathy, both Dartmouth graduates, and Rob, Amherst ’85; and six grandchildren.

During his years in Irondequoit Greg was an active volunteer, in particular with the public schools, serving on various committees and as an elected board member for ten years, and President for several. His children remember with pride that he presented each of them with their high school diplomas at graduation. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment was his leadership in establishing and maintaining an urban-suburban Interdistrict Transfer program which, he once recalled, “had no shortage of controversy”.

His volunteer activities made a deep impression on his children. They recall his calm responses at town meetings and over the telephone with strong citizen concerns, their own surprise that he was a nervous speaker on Candidates night, and how proud they were of their “McGRATH” campaign buttons.

After retirement Greg continued his community service in Fairlee, including becoming President of the Lake Morey Protective Association. He remained physically active, running several times a week, walking in later years, sailing, woodworking, snowshoeing and gardening. Betsy and his family continued to be, as he wrote for our 50th, “the focus of my life and they are my greatest gift.”

Greg was a faithful attendee at Class dinners and reunions, and home football games. We will miss this modest, friendly, athletic, exceptionally kind and decent classmate and loyal son of Amherst.

 

-Ted Phillips

 

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