JA Snow Funeral Home

339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, NS


John Frederick McGrath

May 29, 1920September 28, 2019

It is with deep sadness that we the family of John Frederick “Fred” McGrath announces his passing at age 99, on Saturday, September 28, 2019, following a brief stay at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre - Halifax Infirmary.

He was a son of the late Michael Joseph (Joe) McGrath and Alice (Phelan) McGrath; born and raised in Halifax, and very proud of his “North End Irish” heritage. He was a WW II volunteer serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force for the duration of the war followed by a career in the family business; M.J. McGrath and Sons, a large grocery store located on the corner of Macara and Agricola streets. He successfully managed the business for the better part of twenty five years until, like so many other independents he saw the writing on the wall and sold out due to the changing environment of business. He joined Canada Post and spent the next eleven enjoyable years at the main Post Office on Almon Street.

Surviving are daughters, Marilyn Holm, Halifax; Elaine Swinimer (Leo); sons, Douglas (Donna), Halifax; Michael (Janice), New Glasgow and Paul (Shealagh), Halifax; three granddaughters, three grandsons, four great granddaughters and two great grandsons.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his spouse, Margaret “Tootsie” Scott; his sister, Patricia Nowlan; brother, Francis and a sister and granddaughter that both died in infancy.

Although he maintained relative independence for most of his retired life it was unquestionably our sister Elaine’s selfless daily support that enabled him to enjoy his final years at home and for that we are eternally grateful.

As his sons and daughters we can attest to the numerous times that our less fortunate school mates went home with groceries from the store so in lieu of flowers please make a donation to your local food bank. We know that act of kindness would please him.

A Mass to celebrate a life well lived will take place at 11:00 AM on Friday, October 4, 2019 at Saint Mother Teresa Catholic Church, 6032 Normandy Dr., Halifax, NS. Interment will take place at Mount Olivet Cemetery immediately following a brief reception at the Church.


  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, October 4, 2019


John Frederick McGrath

have a memory or condolence to add?

Margaret Rouse

October 12, 2019

Dear family, I was sad to read about your dear father’s passing. Freddie was a prince of a man. I first met him in the 60’,s as well as you”kids”; at the Scotts old homestead on Pepperell Street.
So many great times there.
I used to enjoy talking to him at Super Store on Young Street. The last time was about 6 or 7 years. ago. This time ,he noticed and beckoned to me!He was so unbelievably sharp. always!
Around2008, I was honoured and delighted to be seated next to him at a family wedding. .
Now, he is united with dear”Tootsie”
She can probably used a hand with the menagerie of animals up there.
They are both in my thoughts and prayers., along with all of you.Love, Marg

Maureen Pope

October 9, 2019

Elaine, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time. I know how much you loved your parents and how much you were affected after losing your mother. Now, your dad. I hope you can have some peace in the fact you had him for so long, as he lived a good, long life. I know age doesn't make it any easier when losing a loved one, especially a parent because the hurt is so very real and you live with it forever. Sending you lots of love, hugs and know that I'm always here for you. Love Maureen xoxo

Keith Best

October 7, 2019

Paul and Family sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I remember him as a fellow employee at Canada Post. He was a good man and will be surely missed.

Ken and Denise Doucette

October 4, 2019

Douglas and Donna,
We want to offer our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to you and your family. You spoke so fondly of Fred, and we are truly sorry for your loss.
The soul of your wonderful father will now rest in peace with God after such a loving and meaningful life.

David & Joan Gilbert

October 3, 2019

Paul and Family So sorry to see the passing of your father. Our prayers and thoughts are with you during this time of grief.

David and Shirley Blackburn

October 2, 2019

Elaine, Leo and Family we were so saddened to hear of your dads passing. We are sending our deepest sympathies to you all. May your dad rest in peace

Kingsley Brown

October 2, 2019

Sorry to see your father's obituary, Doug. From the looks of it he had a good run and got out okay. I've admired the North End Irish clans from the time I started as a Herald reporter barely 16. Your family was special, salt of the earth. Love, King

Dante Di Mattia

October 2, 2019

To Elaine and the rest of the family, I send my condolences and wonderful memories to help get you through this hard time.

Tina Riley

October 2, 2019

My sincere condolences to the family on the passing of dear Freddie.

Colleen Mercer-MacDonald

October 2, 2019

My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear Dad, Fred. I must admit that when I saw his beautiful obituary, I could not help but smile for a life well lived. 99 is quite a long life. My memories of Fred are all wonderful ones. My Mom, Bessie, would send me to our favourite neighbourhood store to buy a lb. of lean bacon. Fred knew that that meant “very lean”. He was a character from my youth that brought me joy. From his slight of hand trick with your nickel change to his welcoming smile every time you walked in, he was a delight. Fred was the patriarch of our neighbourhood. You should be so proud of the beautiful memories he left with others. The kindness you mentioned to the less fortunate in our community is a testament to a man who will, obviously, be flying with the angels. Hugs to all of you! Colleen