137 E. Laketon Ave • Muskegon MI.
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Obituary for John Harold McGarry

Born: July 25th, 1952
Passed Away: May 12th, 2016


John Harold McGarry III, born July 25, 1952 died too soon on May 12, 2016. This very public figure was a very private man. He loved Susan, the out-of-doors, fishing, carrot cake, Teddy Roosevelt, his dogs, and being Uncle Big John was a most cherished role.

Born in West Virginia, he spent his formative years in Harrisburg, PA and after high school moved to Baltimore, MD. His education was completed there. He and Susan met there. His field was history and education, explaining why his life brought so many teachable moments to so many. John loved it when a school child would stop him in the museum and they would share some history. His favorite statistic was the number of school children who visited the museum.

His nieces and nephews believed he was indeed special. For starters, he had the keys to the Hackley and Hume homes and could open the magical world of the museum just for them. How many uncles have a mastadon?

Michigan came into his life when he married Susan Kay Elliott in 1975. With that union, John became part of the very big clan that is Susan’s family. In 1990, Muskegon welcomed the McGarrys warmly. This place and its people became his extended family. His career in Muskegon was well-told in the MLive article.

John requested no service be held. Truth is, when planning for eventualities, he said we didn’t need “one more event”. He donated his organs to others, a public servant to the end.

An outstanding moment for John happened almost exactly one year ago at the Community Foundation Annual Meeting, when he received the Patricia B Johnson Award for Community Service. With that honor came the opportunity to give to charities of his choice. True to the man, he was, he chose to help two local organizations whose missions he respected greatly. Those are the choices listed below where memorial gifts can be sent. Investing in this community would please John immensely.

The Arc Muskegon 601 Terrace Street Suite 101 Muskegon, MI 49440 or Dan White Scholarship Fund 156 E. Pontaluna Rd. Norton Shores, MI 49444

Job well done, John McGarry. May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind always be at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rain fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.