Skip to main content

John Leo McGuirk Jr., 89

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 12:35

John Leo McGuirk Jr. enjoyed a good party and "welcomed anybody and everybody" to his front porch on the corner of McGuirk Street and Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village, "especially on Friday nights," his children said.

Mr. McGuirk died of heart failure at home on July 2. He was 89 and had been in declining health.

The only child of Florence Raynor McGuirk and John Leo McGuirk Sr., he was born at Southampton Hospital on Oct. 22, 1930, and grew up in the house at Newtown Lane and McGuirk Street, where he spent most of his life.

Mr. McGuirk's history on the South Fork runs deep. He was an 11th-generation descendant of Thurston Raynor, an early settler of Southampton, and a descendant of James E. Gay of East Hampton. His house in East Hampton was built as a boarding house by his grandmother Mary Ellen Gay McGuirk.

Mr. McGuirk married Kathryn McGuire, whom he had met in the eighth grade, on Jan. 16, 1954, at St. Philomena's Church in East Hampton, now Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Like him, their children were raised on the corner of McGuirk Street and Newtown Lane, in the house that has now been home to five generations of the McGuirk family.

His oldest son, Patrick, died in 1963. He is survived by his son John McGuirk III of East Hampton and his daughters Susan McGuirk of East Hampton, Sandra Kalke of Mooresville, N.C., Barbara Tracey of East Hampton, and Mary Ellen Hess of Windermere, Fla. His wife died in 2018.

"He loved a big family," his children said this week. "He loved having people around." His children's friends and grandchildren's friends were always welcomed at his house. "He was very accepting of people."

Mr. McGuirk was a lifelong member of Most Holy Trinity Church and a 71-year member of the East Hampton Fire Department. In his earlier years, he enjoyed being on the Fire Department's tournament teams. He served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955 and in the Korean War. He was a sergeant and was stationed in Biloxi, Miss., Okinawa, Japan, and Denver. His time in the service was the only time when he did not live in East Hampton.

In addition to his children, Mr. McGuirk is survived by 11 grandchildren — Elizabeth Peterson, Bridget Haney, Amy Rumore, Caitlin Kalke, Alexander Kalke, Shannon Tracey, Christopher Tracey, Meghan Hess, Kathryn Hess, John McGuirk IV, and Patrick McGuirk — and by seven great-grandsons.

A graveside service was held on July 7 at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery on Cedar Street, with the Rev. Ryan Creamer officiating.

His family has suggested memorial contributions to the East Hampton Fire Department, 1 Cedar Street, East Hampton 11937, or East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978.


Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.