NO. 17739 • 18 May 1928 - 30 Sep 2001
Died in Stanford, CA
Interred in Holy Cross Cemetery, Menlo Park, CA
By everyone's admission, Arthur Alten McGee led a wonderful life. His childhood was spent in Loraine, OH, along the shores of Lake Erie. With parents, siblings, and an extended family of uncles and aunts, Arthur was a member of a close knit Irish Catholic family during the difficult years of the Depression and World War II.
A superior student at St. Mary's High School, Arthur's decision to attend West Point did not surprise many. His father had applied to the West Point Class of 1917 but was denied admission because of a heart murmur. Arthur's father then entered the Army during World War I, served in France, and rose to the rank of captain in the Artillery. His wartime experience fostered in Arthur’s father a deep respect for West Point officers, and Arthur grew up listening to stories about these great men.
Arthur attended West Point in the halcyon days after World War II. He was in awe of the officers who served on the faculty, each a proven war hero. When asked to record his special memories of West Point for the 50th Reunion, he wrote: "Winning the brigade intramural cross country championship in May 1949 [and] attending the Army-Michigan football game in Ann Arbor with about 200 classmates. The stadium was filled to capacity with 102,000 fans [witnessing] the underdog Army team defeat one of the top ranked teams in the country... Marching in Harry Truman's inaugural parade in Washington D.C.... the parades when we marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City... and our entry into the stadium for the Army Navy game in Philadelphia.” West Point gave Arthur full, rich memories for the rest of his life.
Fifty years after graduating, Arthur reflected on the pivotal role West Point had played in his life. "West Point permitted me to leave a small town in Northern Ohio and enter a larger world with greater opportunities and broader experiences.... It developed in me a willingness to assume responsibility and leadership of major projects during my service and civilian careers.... I learned basic concepts, such as the role played by line and staff, the chain of command, delegation of authority, the need for oversight of subordinates and respect for superiors. Finally, it instilled in me the importance of service to find fulfillment in life. . . .'
Arthur’s classmates remember his common sense approach to any task or problem, which, along with hard work and a sense of humor, helped him find solutions to complex problems. Arthur’s success as an intramural runner depended on his approach: the first two of his three years of competition yielded mediocre results. Through persistent effort, however, he improved in each competition and ultimately won the coveted brigade championship.
Upon graduation, Arthur entered the Air Force, where he served for nine years in assignments at bases in the United States and Europe. In 1954, while earning his masters degree at The Ohio State University, he met Lorette Marie Devine. Recognizing that he had met his 'one and only' and never reluctant to seize the moment, he asked her to marry him on their first date. She accepted, and they were married nine months later on 11 Jun 1955.
In 1959, Arthur left the Air Force to work for IBM. After three years, he joined the Stanford Research Institute (later SRI International) in Menlo Park, CA where he remained for 30 years. He served as the manager for many interdisciplinary studies for business and government, work requiring extensive foreign and domestic travel. His coworkers remember him as intellectually curious, gentlemanly, and an effective colleague.
Simultaneously, Arthur was the head of a large family with five children: three girls (Ann Marie, Kathleen, and Noreene) and two boys (James and Joseph). Arthur and Lorette’s family eventually included five in laws and nine grandchildren. Arthur excelled as a father. Although he traveled frequently, he forged a deep and personal relationship with each of his children, recognizing each child’s attributes and abilities, fostering individual growth, and helping each to realize his or her dreams. At home, he focused on his family. One of his hobbies was long distance bicycle riding. He led a team of his children on grueling 800 to 1,000 mile bicycle expeditions annually, and he made these rides thrilling adventures that his children cherished. Most importantly, the rides allowed him to spend special time with his children and to impart valuable lessons about life. During these rides, he would instill in them the importance of duty, hard work, and the need to be a good person. A devout Catholic, Arthur would share examples and lessons to impart his faith.
In May 1990, he returned to West Point for his 40th Reunion and then stayed another week to watch his youngest son, Joseph, graduate from the Academy. Joseph continues to serve in the Army as an Infantry officer. After retirement, Arthur attended classes at a local college in subjects as diverse as the classics, art, history, and piano. He also volunteered to help students who were struggling. Many of them were young immigrants trying to make better lives in the United States.
In the early hours of 30 Sep 2001, Arthur suffered a massive and unexpected heart attack and passed away in the arms of his wife of`46 years. A diverse assembly of people gathered for his funeral: young students, business leaders, gardeners, doctors, bus drivers, and retired Army officers. They came to say goodbye to a friend who found the best in each person he met and to a man for whom the ideals of "Duty, Honor, Country" formed the core of his existence. His example continues to inspire all those who were fortunate to know and love him.
- Family and classmates