James E. McGee Died in Sun City, CA at 87 years of age on the 25th of 2023. He was born in Torrance, CA on October 27th, 1936 to Hilda Mc Gee, born in Germany and to James E. McGee, born in CO. His life can be summarized as world traveler, businessman, husband and father, writer, philanthropist.
James McGee grew up in Los Angeles’ South Bay and graduated from Narbonne High School in Lomita in 1954. He started college but dropped out after his sophomore year to hitch-hike through Europe finding jobs for room and boards he traveled. He taught English at a small town on the Rhine River in Germany, HE worked as a casual labor at a Youth Hostel at another scenic Rhine River town, he volunteered at a refugee camp in Austria for Hungarians fleeing the Soviet Invasion of their country in 1956 and the next year he worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant in Rome, Italy to spend more time in that historic city. This Journey marked the beginning of an adventurous life which saw him travel in all 50 states and 86 of the worlds countries.
In 1958 he hitched-hiked through New England en route to study at Laval University, Canada’s pre-eminent French –Speaking university, and then hitched across Canada until he ran out of funds in the Canadian Rockies. He found a job at the Banff Springs Hotel to earn money to get back to UCLA from which he graduated with a BA in Political Science in 1959.
He enlisted in U.S. Army Intelligence in 1960 and in 1962 he received a Direct Field Commission as a second Lieutenant during the Vietnam War. After Honorable Discharge in 1964 he received a Presidential appointment as U.S. Foreign Service Officer which position he resigned after two years in the protest of the Vietnam War. He worked in the Capitol Hills offices of then-U.S. Senator Tom Kuchel of California before changing to a business career.
While working full-time he earned an MA from evening study at Wayne State University, Detroit, in 1968 before attending the Harvard University Graduate School of Business, 1971. He became the youngest General Manager ( at age36) in a Fortune 50 with 53 operating divisions and in 1977, at age 40, he attained his goal to be a company President joining an industrial products company in New York City with 1400 employed and sales of $116-million.
He invented a product and received a U.S. Patent in 1987 and he returned to CA to start his own company in Westlake Village which was acquired his largest competition in 1994 following which he and his wife retired in Sun City, CA where he remained for the rest of his life. His retirement years were marked by continuing overseas travel, serving as a volunteer Instructor in Adult Literacy for the Riverside County Library System and as a host in the tasting rooms of various Temecula Valley Wineries as well as the author of six books.
Jim Mc Gee was married for 40 years to Margaret ( Peg) McNeil, an LA native and graduate of the Marlborough School, UCLA and Union Theological Seminary in NYC following which she became an Episcopal Church Minister. After their move to Sun City she was Chaplain at Menifee Valley Hospital until her death at age 62 in 2002, They had two children. His son, James Michael , a business owner, was killed at age 48 in a motorcycle accident. He is survived by his daughter Katy McGee of Sun City, CA and a sister Marlene of Murrieta, CA.
He endowed an academic scholarship in his son’s name at his alma mater. The University of Massachusetts, and endowed academic scholarships at UCLA and Wayne State University. He was recognized for his contribution to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Parks Conservation Association.
Private Cremation will be completed by Miller-Jones Mortuary, Menifee