James M. McGrath died peacefully on Monday, March 17, 2014, at Huger Mercy Living Center in Phoenix where he had resided for the last six years. Jim was born November 15, 1924, in Muskogee, Oklahoma to James Perry McGrath and Selma Going.
Jim was a B24 Pilot for the Army Air Corp and was very proud of his service as a 1st Lieutenant. He had a love of flying that continued throughout his life. He was a long-time private pilot and passed that love on to his son Tom. Besides his love for his family and flying, Jim also loved fishing and made many trips to Mexico in the very early days before Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan were “discovered” . . . there were many tales of landing on roads after chasing off the chickens, meeting the guys who drove down with the boat and lots of “fish” stories. Jim was a well-known custom home designer/builder in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley and was in business from 1949 thru 1984. One of his proudest achievements was the development of the lots and homes on Sage Drive in Paradise Valley. He also built a number of custom homes for prominent Phoenix people over the years. He always felt fortunate to be able to make a living doing what he loved. He always said he built for the best people in the world and felt privileged to have worked at what he loved all his life. Jim is survived by Gean McGrath or as he called her “Geanie”, his wife of 66 years, his two sons Tom McGrath (Marianne Bertoldo) and Tim McGrath ( Bev McGrath), as well as his daughter Barbara McGrath Calder (Stuart Calder) He is also survived by his only granddaughter, January McGrath and January’s daughter Nova Maria, Jim’s great granddaughter. Jim was predeceased by his two sisters Genevieve Tye and Kathleen Rawls and by his parents.
Private services have been held. Jim’s family would like to extend a special thank you to Huger Mercy Living Center for their care during his last years. There really couldn’t have been a better place for him. His wife Gean would also like to say a special thank you to Posey Moore Nash of Post Scripts by Posey for her assistance with handling arrangements. Arrangements were also entrusted to Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, if you would like to remember Jim, donations in his name James M. McGrath to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1028 E McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006 would be most appreciated.