OBITUARY

James "Jim" McGrath

December 3, 1942November 17, 2020
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James John McGrath was born December 3, 1942 in Queens, New York to John and Margaret McGrath. He grew up in Levittown, Long Island with his sister Geraldine and brother Gary. He graduated from Division Avenue High School in 1960 where he was a two-time state champion wrestler. After high school, Jim went to Wayne State College on a wrestling scholarship where he was an All-American. He graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in 1964. In 1963, he married Susan Allan and they had two daughters together, Christine Martin and Kelley McGrath, both of Omaha. Tragically, Jim lost his first wife, Susie, when she passed away unexpectedly in 1973. In 1992, Jim married Beth McGrath, and they were blessed with two children, Nicholas and Colleen. Jim began his career at Highland High School in Riverside, IA, where he taught and coached wrestling for 3 years before moving to Ralston, NE in 1968. Jim taught at Ralston High School from 1968 until his retirement in 2005. He was the head wrestling coach all those years and also coached freshman and J.V. football from 1986 to 2004. In addition to coaching, Jim was the head sponsor for the Ralston High School Ski club, where he guided hundreds of students through learning to ski over the slopes of Colorado. He was constantly running into former students who were quick and happy to share funny and meaningful stories from his classroom, coaching, and ski trips. He loved those stories. Following his retirement, Jim served for a number of years as a Board member for Ralston High School’s Booster Club and continued to substitute teach in Ralston until the March 2020 shut down due to the pandemic. Described as a man with a tough exterior and soft inside, Jim was incredibly sentimental and loved his friends and family fiercely. In addition to loving his family and friends, Jim’s passions included good times, making people laugh, Christmas, motorcycling, boxing, all things wrestling, New York City, the New York Yankees, and his beloved greyhounds, Winston and Chase. Along with his wife and children, Jim is survived by his sister Geraldine Morin of Temple TX, his brother Gary (Susan) McGrath of Surprise, AZ; grandchildren: Tyler and Ellie Martin. nephews Brian and Evan McGrath, nieces Tara Trevino, Terri Carter, Maggie Christensen, Katie Banghart, Nicholas’ girlfriend Liz Herriot and Colleen’s boyfriend J. D. Rader, numerous great-nieces and nephews and the entire Ralston Wrestling Community.

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  • A Private Family Celebration of Life Service

    Saturday, November 21, 2020

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James "Jim" McGrath

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Krystal Steward

November 25, 2020

I worked at Zio’s through high school and into college. It’s been 25 years now and I can still remember extra large cheese pizza, cooked until orange! I always panicked when it was my turn to wait on Mr. McGrath because I did not want to let him down. I didn’t know him or the family outside of Zio’s, but I didn’t want to let him down.
My heart breaks for you all. May he Rest In Peace.

Arnie Galeota

November 23, 2020

It was 1962, time for Jim and I to return to Wayne from a summer break at home in Levittown. His parents bought him a new Red Chevy Impala convertible, and was he proud of that car. He and I had to drive 1500 miles to Nebraska, and he wouldn't let me drive the car, not even 6 inches. He had a biting sense of humor. He was the best high school wrestler I ever saw, and I saw every school match over 4 years. Floyd Kenyon was his inspirational wrestling mentor at Division Ave. Jim was a clever practical joker, as long as the joke was never on him, or look out! He could eat a whole pizza, and follow it up with a meatball hero all by himself, in one sitting, all 112 lbs of him. Tough, fearless, loyal, but fun to be around. He always had your back. He left behind one heck of a legacy. R.I.P. old friend.

Pam Traynor

November 21, 2020

Chris&Kelly, so sorry hear about your Dad. I remember babysitting you girls. In that little White House on sunset dr. Your Mom ( Susie) and dad were great parents for you girls. We would run into your dad on the 4th of July Parade in Ralston by the Bar. 🙏🙏The Couture's Trisha, Pam (Mom Bev).

John Scafordi

November 21, 2020

REST IN PEACE. Remember hanging out at the Green... God bless.

Christie Haynes

November 21, 2020

Those who knew Jim knew he loved butter on his crackers with his coffee. He never wanted his back to someone if he could avoid it when sitting in a room. He LOVED to play practical jokes and make people laugh. He always spoke his mind and you always knew where you stood with him. He was a kid at heart. He loved being the center of attention but he also loved showing those he loved attention. He gave everyone a hard time but those who knew him knew it was because he cared about you and was really doing it to push you to your potential. He was one of a kind and he knew that. The side smile or smirk on his face would light up a room when he walked in and my life was better because he was in it. He touched so many and will be missed by all those who knew and loved him. Thank you Jim for all the encouragement over the years, for making my skin a little tougher, for pushing me to a level I never thought I had, for being that adult that I could always count on if I didn’t want to go to my parents, for teaching me countless things, for just being unapologetically you. We lost a great this week but I know my dad is enjoying catching up with you and getting into trouble like old times. My deepest condolences to his Beth, Chris, Kelley, Nick and Colleen and all the family . We were all fortunate to have Big Jim in this world. RIP Jim

Cathy Vande Mheen

November 21, 2020

Chris and Kelley,
I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I wish I could be up there with you so we could laugh at the memories, cry it out, and just hug. Your dad was a good one. I remember the hole-the-walls, the joking, the get-togethers. I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you two as you get through this time. Hope to see you soon.
Sending my love.

Tim Connor

November 21, 2020

My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and student athletes coached by Mr. McGrath. He made a lasting impact on MANY lives. Teachers/coaches can have that impact on their students but only a few make lifelong impressions. The Ralston community has surely lost a special role model. RIP.

-Tim Connor
Houston, TX

Dewain Lanfear

November 21, 2020

I'm happy I got to share my high school years with Jim and also the last few years on Facebook. Such a productive life that influenced so many people. Bless him and his family.

Annette Worley

November 20, 2020

I can remember going to Grandmother's on L street for Mardi Gras and Jim would be there what a hell of a dancer. I also remember the Christmas party in which I played a game of spin the bottle with people at my table I chose Jim and he went along with the prank of making out don't worry we really didn't . He made me laugh alot. He always put a smile on my face . I will truly miss him.

Cindy Andersen

November 20, 2020

Beth & family, We were saddened to learn of Jim's passing. He (and you) were teachers of our daughters, Lisa & Laura, at Ralston High School. They both remember him fondly saying "he was a good guy". Sending our sympathy and prayers for comfort as you go forward. May God Hold You and Keep You.
Cindy, Ken, Lisa (Barcel) & Laura (Vrtiska) Andersen

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