Obituary of Hugh G. McGuinness
Hugh Gerard McGuinness ,(Nov 9, 1926 – Oct 4, 2020) was the third of five children born to Agnes (nee McBride) and Michael McGuinness. Hughie spent his early years in St Teresa’s Parish in Brooklyn, NY, selling newspapers at Ebbets Field and working as a dockhand in Redhook. Also, he attended seminary for a time.
After convincing his mother to sign him up prior to his 18th birthday, Hughie enlisted as a US Marine. Stationed at Camp Pendleton, jaunts to catch the sunset behind Victor Hugo’s in Laguna launched a lifelong affection for California.
After a stint in banking, Hughie spent his career in construction. An iron worker during the 1960s, he assisted in building the structure of the ‘New” Madison Square Garden. He also worked as a sandhog and supervisor with Local 147. Reconstruction of the massive NYC water tunnel as well as various subway digs were among his jobs.
His affection for the love of his life, Catherine, was captured forever on the inside walls of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, a job he worked during their courtship. Hughie and Catherine married in 1959, raising five children in Brooklyn and, later, New Milford, CT.
Hughie said that the best laughs he ever had were with his children. Be it piling neighborhood kids in the stationwagon with Cathy, Susan and Maura for trips to Riis Park, Coney Island, the parades or the circus, attending HS football games where Kerry cheered or coaching John’s soccer team, Hughie had fun with his kids. Upon relocating to New Milford, Hughie drove 90 miles twice a day to work to provide for his family.
Hughie had a gifted ability, earned through inherent honesty, to have people believe whatever he said - even when he was playfully joking. He convinced his young daughters that they were Irish princesses, each with their own castle in the old country. And, he persuaded many that he was younger brother to his baby brother Vince, a line that he worked for years.
An avid handicapper, he would say “horseplayer”, Hughie enjoyed seeing the game of kings being contested from the early days of Aqueduct, mornings at Yonkers, Father’s Day at Belmont, day trips to Saratoga, and a cross-country excursion to the Kentucky Derby (where he won the big race in 1999).
Undaunted by age (“It’s only a number”), well into his 70s Hughie completed a novel (The Return of Alberto) and was awarded a patent for his work on an invention to excavate workers in the case of a tunnel implosion.
A reverent man and devout Catholic, he shared the gift of his faith with his wife and, together, they passed this gift to their children.
Hugh is predeceased by his wife Catherine, son Patrick, parents, siblings (Michael, Edward and Alice Jordan), son-in-law Scott Getzinger and several grandchildren whom he will finally have the chance to meet. He is survived by five children (Cathy, Susan McGuinness Getzinger, Maura Gallagher, Kerry Garratt, John), three sons-in-law (Bill Gallagher, Don Neville, Jim Garratt), one daughter-in-law (Bernadette), eight grandchildren (Michael, Kelly and Meagan Gallagher; Emilia, Kyle and Seamus Getzinger; Maeve Neville; Patrick Hugh McGuinness), his brother Vincent as well as sisters-in-law Joy, Ann Santi, Virginia McCafferty, Ronnie Gray, Nora Gray and brother-in-law Michael Gray – not to mention many loving cousins, nieces and nephews. His friends are too numerous to mention as Hughie made friends everywhere he went….and, as soon as they came to know him, they wondered what they missed.
His family will receive friends and family at Clark Associates Funeral Home in Katonah, NY on Thursday from 3-8 pm.