Robert N. “Bob” McGrath, Sr., 85, of Penn Hills, PA passed away peacefully at his home with his family by his side on May 19, 2021. Bob is survived by his wife of 61 years, Brenda Kapp McGrath.
Born in Denver Colorado on August 13, 1935, he was the son of the late Patricia (Noel) McGrath McGinley and Robert D. McGrath. He lost his father at an early age and was raised by his mother and beloved grandparents, L. Clifford and Nettie E (Burch) Noel.
Bob cherished his boyhood memories of spending time fishing with his grandparents, attending rodeos, and summers in the Colorado mountains at his grandparents’ cabin.
Bob attended St. Vincent Preparatory School in Latrobe, PA prior to moving to Penn Hills in 1953 with his mother, brother, and stepfather, Frank McGinley. Bob played on the Penn High football team and graduated in 1954.
He attended the University of Tampa where he was a member of the intercollegiate crew team. During one summer while studying in Florida, Bob worked as a camp counselor with a young Burt Reynolds, who was a Golden Gloves Boxing champion – Bob remembered fondly losing an exhibition boxing match with Reynolds who later confided in Bob his dream to be a Hollywood actor.
Bob transferred to Ohio Northern University where he was a pre-law major and a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, receiving a B.A. degree in 1959. On a trip home in 1958, he met his wife, Brenda Kapp, and they were married at St. Joseph’s Church in Verona, Pa. in September of 1959.
After student teaching in the Lima, Ohio schools, Bob began a career in education at Franklin Regional School District. He joined the Penn Hills Senior High faculty in 1965 and spent the next three decades teaching American History to a generation of Penn Hills High students.
In addition to teaching, Bob held a variety of positions for the Penn Hills Municipality for more than two decades, one of them being interim Director of Code Enforcement.
Bob was elected and served on Council for the Municipality of Penn Hills from 1988-1990 and 1992-2000, including one year as Deputy Mayor. On Council, he was concerned with homeowners’ tax burdens and sustainable business development. His votes were bipartisan and committed to what was best for the community. While on Council, Bob was instrumental in efforts to raise money for the “Hands Across Penn Hills” project for the Vietnam Monument on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
Bob led a life of commitment to his family, students, community and country. He enlisted and served from 1959 – 1965 with the Army National Guard.
Among many cherished memories of their father, his children recalled a few special moments: watching the Pittsburgh Steelers’ games with him; grading student papers and exams; his wonderful sense of humor and ability to laugh with them and at himself – including annual “Happy Anniversary” calls; his drive to always work hard; his love of all sports and local sports teams – Pitt, Steelers, Penguins & Pirates; how proud he was of all of his grandchildren; visits to Kennywood, the Strip District, Donut Shack and Mohan’s; always being there to console or provide support to his sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A special memory is son Bobby’s 1991 trip with his father to the Berlin Wall, a U.N. Conference in Prague, and driving through the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. His brother, Pat, remembers a lifetime of adventures with Bob and a lifetime of love and support from their mom, who always was referring to him as “My Bob.”
He is survived by his brother Patrick C. McGinley (Suzanne) of Morgantown, WV; and sister-in-law Karen Kapp Koger (Donald) of Harmony, PA.
Bob is further survived by his children, Robert “Bobby” N. McGrath, Jr. (Mary) of North Kingstown, RI; Michael P. McGrath (Theresa) of New Kensington, PA; Julie L. Scott (Charles “Erik”) of Nashville, AR, ; Jill McGrath Keebler, of Penn Hills, PA; James C. McGrath (Natalie) of Arnold, MD; grandchildren, Patrick K. Alexander (Krystal) of Groton, CT; Crystal M. Alexander-Schreiner (Lt. Colonel Michael Schreiner, USAF) of Colorado Springs, CO; Brenda F. Evenson (Dr. Samuel Evenson) of Burlington, VT; Robert J. McGrath of New Kensington, PA; SSGT Blaize E. Scott, USAF (Marcie) of Valparaiso, IN; Kody H. Scott (Jessica) of Parkersburg, WV; Trey C. Keebler of Penn Hills, PA; Hunter N. Keebler of Penn Hills, PA; Haley E. J. McGrath of Arnold, MD; Abigail J. H. McGrath of Arnold, MD; great grandchildren, PV2 Andrew J. Alexander, US Army, of Fort Stewart, GA; Peyton Alexander of Groton, CT; Zachary L. Schreiner of Colorado Springs, CO; Charlotte G. and Garrett L. Scott of Valparaiso, IN; Adalynn R. Scott of Parkersburg, WV; included in Bob’s extended family are Teresita Suarez of N. Apollo, PA; Gloriarose Suarez of New Kensington, PA; Angel and Steven Vucho of N. Apollo, PA, along with many nieces and nephews.
Donations may be made to the Penn Hills Service Association in Bob’s memory, located at 2519 Main Street, Penn Hills, PA 15235 or online at:
Arrangements by Ball Funeral Chapel, Inc.
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