John J. McGrath Jr “Jack”, the Prince of Pierce Avenue, passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, February 25 in Everett where he resided for over 75 years. He is the brother of Mary McGillicuddy and her husband Bob of Winchester, Mass.; and the beloved uncle to: Michele Sanphy and her husband Matt of Reading, Mass.; Lori Coyne and her husband Peter of South Boston, Mass.; and Michael LaCourt and his wife Ellen of Weymouth, Mass (all formerly of Everett, Mass.); and John McGillicuddy of Revere, Mass.; Kathy Bell and her husband Chris of Quincy, Mass.; and Kara McGillicuddy of Winchester, Mass. as well as 13 grand nieces and nephews.
He was born in Malden, Mass. on January 6, 1933 to the now deceased Irish immigrants, Hannah (Daly) and John J. McGrath Sr., of Everett, Mass. He is predeceased by his sister Ann LaCourt of Dorchester, Mass., (formerly Everett, Mass.), niece Mary McGillicuddy of San Francisco, Calif., and nephew Bob McGillicuddy (wife Carla Angevine is living) of Hanover, Mass.
For 32 years, Jack was a probation officer in the Woburn District Court, 10 of those spent as the Assistant Chief P.O. But his true vocation in keeping with his Carpe Diem philosophy came in 50 years of involvement with Everett sports and civic engagement. The unsung mayor of Everett has worked in Everett television for a combined 30 years broadcasting Everett High School football and basketball games with co-host Bob Caramanica on local cable TV in addition to broadcasts of girls softball and basketball games, and interviewing student and adult athletes on a show which would become the “Sports Experience” on Channel 3.
Since 1979, Jack has been an associate member of the “E” Club which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the Everett tradition in sports also serving as historian for a stint. Jack was also helpful in the early years serving as a fundraiser for the Everett Youth Basketball team (aka The Rats) from 1981-87. For all of Jack’s influence, the Everett High School football Press Box at Memorial Stadium was dedicated to him in 2017 when he merited a key to the City; Jack was awarded the Irish Club “Man of the Year” in 2016, and honored with the Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade distinction in 2015, and finally privileged with an “Unsung Hero” annual award given in his name to an Everett athlete.
An accomplished athlete in his own right, Jack started three years (1952-54) for the Boston College Eagles baseball team in left field where he hit .325 and .340 in his sophomore and senior years, respectively. In his senior year, he earned Greater Boston Collegiate All-Star honors. Prior to that, he helped BC make its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament where he stole home in Omaha, Neb. In a 4-1 victory over Houston, June 11, 1953.
During his summer months at BC, Jack played semi-pro baseball in Canada for the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. Upon graduation, the cum laude distinguished, history and government major was offered a professional baseball contract that he declined in order to enter the Jesuit Seminary where he spent nine years.
As a youth, Jack played baseball for one of the best sandlot teams in the city, the Baldwin Avenue Aces then CYO baseball for the Immaculate Conception Church and American Legion. He graduated from Immaculate Conception High School (Revere) in 1951. As has been said, people will forget what you said or did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Jack, the brother/Uncle/friend/your biggest cheerleader made everyone feel: special, important, confident and most importantly, loved. “Woo, woo!!!”
Funeral from the Salvatore Rocco & Sons Funeral Home, 331 Main Street, Everett on Saturday, February 29 at 10:30. Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Everett at 11:30 am. Relatives and friends are invited. Visiting hours are Friday from 4 to 8 pm with complimentary valet parking. Interment will be at a later date in Glenwood Cemetery, Everett. The family asks that donations in lieu of flowers should be made to: E-Club of Everett Scholarship Fund, in Memory of Jack McGrath, PO Box 409135, Everett, MA, 02249. For more information: 1-877-71-ROCCO or roccofuneralhomes.com.