Obituary: Lewis Joseph McGrath
May your heart be warm and happy,
with the lilt of Irish laughter,
every day in every way,
and forever and ever after. — Irish Blessing
An extended community of family and friends mourns the death of Lewis Joseph “Lew” McGrath, age 82. Lew was born in Denver on May 2, 1932, to Leo McGrath and Rose Yunker. Lew was loved by his older brothers Dick, Leo, and Jack, and his little sister, Maggie. Lew attended South High School in Denver, graduating in 1950. Shortly thereafter Lew enlisted in the Navy where he proudly served as a Seabee, stationed in Puerto Rico and Virginia Beach.
Lew married his high school sweetheart, Billie Joyce Pedersen in 1954. They settled in Denver after his honorable discharge from the Navy. Lew worked his way up from an apprentice plumber of Plumbers Union Local 3 to co-founding his own company, Denver Plumbing and Heating. Not shy of mixing business with pleasure, the Denver Plumbing and Heating bathtub on wheels was a regular “fixture” in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Lew was a hard worker, but always found time to take his children (Dan, Patty, and Tim) camping at Holzwarth Ranch (now part of Rocky Mountain National Park) and many other places in the mountains.
Lew cherished his grandchildren, Nicole, Tyler, Zachary, Alecia, Kate, and Ann and his great-grandchildren, Alex, Bella, and Robbie. He regaled them with unsolicited speeches about life, working hard and being happy, that invariably ended with “This is what life is all about.” Lew also found time to collect antiques, cheer for the Broncos, bird hunt, travel, dance, and ski and ski and ski. Lew skied as a volunteer Ski Patroller first at Loveland and then, for 38 years, at Winter Park. Lew continued to ski until the age of 80.
He made his life-long dream to travel to Ireland come true. He made his life-long dream to live in the mountains come true; first at the “A-frame” in Winter Park and then at the “Lake House” on Lake Granby. The Lake House was a labor of love, designed and strongly built by Lew; so strongly built that it survived the next-door propane tank explosion and fire. Lew lived there, happy, surrounded by his treasures, a row of sunflowers, a view of the Lake, rainbows from the afternoon thunderstorms, Irish music on the stereo, and his friends. For his many friends stopped in by day and night; by foot, car, and boat. And he was always welcoming.
True to the Irish blessing above, Lew lived his life happy, with the lilt of Irish laughter, and that is how he wished to be remembered. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Snow Church, 300 N. 11th Street, Granby. A celebration of life will follow at 1 p.m. at Mackinaw’s on Lake Granby.
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