Cover photo for Edward G. Mcgrath's Obituary
Edward G. Mcgrath Profile Photo
1917 Edward 2019

Edward G. Mcgrath

December 13, 1917 — March 7, 2019

Dr. Edward G. McGrath world traveler, artist, and distinguished professor - passed away in Marysville on March 7, 2019, at the age of 101 years. Ed was born in Bakersfield in the bedroom of his great aunt's home on December 13, 1917. He was the eldest of three sons born to a Boston born Irishman, who came west to work as a manager for Standard Oil, and the daughter of a pioneer Alta California family living in the Central Valley long before statehood. Ed's childhood was spent in the southern Central Valley, Placerville, and Oroville, where he graduated from high school in 1935. Ed attended UC Berkeley where he lived in Barrington Hall as an early member of the Berkeley Student Housing cooperative. After earning a history degree in 1939, Ed began a 42 year career in education when he took a teaching job at Sacramento High School. He taught there for thirteen years and helped organize and lead the local teachers union, and also served on the Sacramento Central Labor Council. Ed left Sacramento in 1954 for a professorship at Syracuse University, where he earned his doctorate and was the Associate Director of the Public Affairs Program at the prestigious Maxwell Graduate School. Ed served briefly as the assistant to the president of Stanislaus State College before taking a position at Oregon State University in 1965. There he developed and was twice director of the University's American Studies Program, and authored the book "Is American Democracy Exportable?" 40 years prescient to the events of the current times. Ed retired from OSU in 1980 after a long and notable university career, and spent a year teaching in Taiwan under a Fulbright Award. Ed returned to Sacramento, where he had a home since 1948 in Curtis Park. In retirement, Ed cultivated his special interests in classical music, painting, and the genealogy of his Alta California family. Ed served on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Chamber Music Society and for many years sponsored a young artists piano competition through the CSU-Sacramento music department. He was an avid watercolorist, helped organize the early outdoor art shows at the Sierra 2 Center, and was a past president of the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. Ed spent years studying Spanish property and birth records to establish the generational history of his mother's family over three centuries, and was proud to have secured his membership in "Los Californianos", an organization preserving Alta California's heritage. Despite his advancing years, Ed remained very independent. He moved from Curtis Park to Eskaton Village in Carmichael in 2005, and last year moved to an assisted living facility in Marysville to be close to family. Ed McGrath is survived by his nephew, Patrick McGrath and his wife Evelyn of Browns Valley, California.

Friends are welcome to attend a graveside remembrance at St. Mary's Cemetery, 6509 Fruitridge Road, on Wednesday, March 27th, at 11:00 am.

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