11 April 1936 – 24 January 2018
James Michael (Mike) McGrath of Neptune Beach, FL, passed away peacefully at home and went to be with the Lord on Wednesday morning, January 24, 2018. Mike was a career Sailor and supporter of the Sea Services as well as the industry that kept ships ready for sea.
Mike was preceded in death by his selfless and loving wife, Gloria, his parents, James Edward McGrath and Lucille Eva Lewis Etheridge, his sister Gwen and brothers Larry and Rollin McGrath. Mike is survived by his daughter, Tina Antee (Terry), his sisters Kathleen Leeds (Clarence), Sandra Diette (Maurice) and brothers W. Patrick, Thomas (Peggy) and Larney (Susan), sister-in-law Cheryl Meyer (Robert), and three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Mike was born in Waterbury, VT, and graduated from Wallingford, VT, high school – attending every reunion he could make. Mike was a retired career naval officer with thirty (30+) years active service having held Commands both at Sea and Ashore. He entered the Navy in 1954 and first served at sea in three (3) destroyers while attaining the rate of Chief Petty Officer in 1961 prior to being selected for Officer Candidate School as a Limited Duty Officer. Upon receiving his commission, Mike served in multiple assignments at sea and ashore, culminating in command of USS Atakapa and the Ship Repair Complex SIMA Mayport, Florida. Among his awards were the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal (3 awards), Vietnam Service Medal (3 campaign stars).
Upon retirement from active duty with the Navy, Mike joined CDI Marine Company where he served for 21 plus years as an Executive Manager. Mike also was the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Area Ship Repair Association, representing over 70 companies providing essential repair services for Mayport Navy Ships.
Mike was a Life member of the Navy League of the United States serving in numerous positions culminating in his election as the National President. As a Navy Leaguer he received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award, the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award and the United States Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. Mike was a long time member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach.
Mike was a past Commander of the First Coast Council of the Naval Order and a member of the American Legion, American Society of Naval Engineers and the Military Officers Association, Surface Navy Association and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Military Issues Committee. He enjoyed fly fishing, skiing and golf.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 1, 2018 in St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Interment will be held in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Mike’s name to the Navy League Foundation Gloria McGrath Scholarship Fund, 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA. 22201, or the American Cancer Society.
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