Joseph (Joe) S. McGrane

Joseph (Joe) S. McGrane

Joseph (Joe) S. McGrane

Cedar Rapids

Joseph (Joe) S. McGrane of Cedar Rapids, Iowa died peacefully on April 28 at home and surrounded by family.

Joe was born on December 19, 1937 in Elma, Iowa, the son of Joseph and Margaret (Pint) McGrane. He was the oldest of seven, a farm kid and big brother who drove tractors, helped babysit, and began making music with his dad and brother John at a young age. He attended a one-room country school where his Aunt Rose shared a quiet love of knowledge that Joe passed down to his children and grandchildren alike.

Joe graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Elma in 1956, then headed to telegraph school in Saint Paul, MN and worked on the railroad in Iowa and Illinois. From those first adventures across state lines, Joe began exploring the world, flying to California to serve in the U.S. Navy for four years, two of them based in Japan. After he returned to Iowa, he began a 37-year career at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids during which he also graduated from Mount Mercy College with a degree in Business.

Commitment to family, God, and friendship was Joe’s way, and that dedication found its life source in his marriage to Barb. Joe first met Barbara Schnurr when he was a senior in high school, but they did not start dating until he returned from the Navy, saw Barb’s picture in the paper, and immediately wrote her a letter. Their story blossomed from there, and they married on November 9, 1963 at Immaculate Conception Church in Elma, IA.

Joe and Barb raised six kids together, building a vibrant community with family and friends. As a dad, Joe was patient beyond measure, especially when teaching yet another child to drive or getting the full crew to church on time. Beyond faith and family, it was Joe’s love of music that sustained him. He could pick up any instrument and make it sing, and was especially masterful on piano, bass, harmonica, and hammered dulcimer.

As anyone who encountered him would confirm, service to others was important to Joe. He was a founding member of the Pick n’ Hammers band that entertained the elderly in care facilities throughout the city. He was an Associate of the Sisters of Mercy and served in board roles at the Catholic Worker House, the Catherine McAuley Center, and Saint Patrick’s Parish.

He was also a long-time volunteer for Meals on Wheels and Mercy Medical Center and in recent years a member of Saint John XXIII Parish.

When Joe retired in 1999, he and Barb headed out in their Roadtrek. From Oaxaca, Mexico through Alaska and parts of Canada; and from the East to the West Coast, the two of them shared nature, culture, and the simplicity of everyday life together. On one of their trips, they discovered Ramblers Rest RV Resort just outside of Venice, FL and enjoyed many winters there. As Joe said repeatedly in his final days, it was a good life, a full life, a life of faith, family and friends – and he would not have changed a thing.

Joe is survived by Barbara, his wife of 60 years; five children, Kathleen (Jon) of Bloomington, IL, Sister Colleen Maura OSB, Clyde, MO, Laura, Haverford, PA, Brian (Katy), Bloomington, MN, John (Jill), Richmond, VA; son-in-law, Camillo Jose Taylor, Philadelphia, PA; ten grandchildren, Peter, Molly, Joe, Nick, Madeleine, Colin, Nolan, Ben, Owen, and Henry; siblings, Jim (Tipp) McGrane, Catherine (Bill) Chihak, Dan (Betty) McGrane, Tom (Cyndy) McGrane, and Mary (Steve) Wieland; and sisters-in-law, Wilma McGrane and Sandy DeMeulenaere.

He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Patricia; parents, Joseph and Margaret McGrane; and his brother, John McGrane.

The family would like to thank the Hospice of Mercy, as well as the many doctors and nurses who provided loving care for Joe over the years. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Cedar Rapids, IA or Hospice of Mercy.

On Sunday, May 12, there will be a Prayer Service at 4 p.m. followed by Visitation at Teahen’s Funeral Home, Cedar Rapids. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, May 13 at St. John XXIII Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids. The family will greet friends one hour prior to Mass. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery near Fairfax, Iowa.

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