2017-05-11 / Obituaries

Rich McGrath

Rich McGrath, an extraordinary craftsman, artist and teacher, died last week in an accident at his Mariposa workshop. He was 74.

McGrath and his wife, Sherie, bought land above Triangle Road in Mariposa more than 20 years ago. There they created a home, workshop and an outdoor gallery of art. Living in two small trailers like modern pioneers, they cleared the land of heavy brush, shaped the ground and covered it with plants, trees and found objects.

Rich, retired from teaching high school and a cabinetry business, made a wood and metal-working shop where he rebuilt antique cars. He was quick to tell the stories and to honor the skills of the men who designed the originals. “My father would run his hand along cut wood or metal or stone,” his daughter Lisa says, “talking about the craftsmanship.”

Richard Allen McGrath was born in Chicago just before his parents moved to Southern California where he was raised. An unpromising chore for his fraternity brothers at Long Beach State, a virtual blind date, led to meeting his wife whom he married in 1965.

They began a life of more than 50 years together, raising two children, while he taught, got a contractor’s license, started and developed a woodworking business, led Boy Scout activities and taught himself to restore cars. School was over at three, his family recalls, and Rich came home and went immediately to work on a project.

By the time the McGraths moved to their land in Mariposa he was widely known for his skill in bringing antique cars back to life. The vehicles arrived at his shop on flatbeds, often near junk. It was his skill, experience, and pride that they left pristine, returned as precisely as possible to the way they were the day they were first built. He also never stopped sharing, telling stories, and teaching, talking happily with anyone who visited while he worked.

Sherie McGrath died in 2016.

McGrath is survived by his children, Lisa Morano, her husband Kevin, and two children, Alex and Isabel; and Scott McGrath, his wife Madelyn, and their children Flint and Dulcie; siblings Rosie Grove, Roger McGrath and Robbie McGrath.

The family plans a celebration of Rich McGrath’s life June 3. They have suggested that donations be made in his memory to Mariposa Boy Scout Troop 94, c/o MUMC, PO Box 248, Mariposa 95338.

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We will miss Rich. I grew up

We will miss Rich. I grew up in the 50's with Rich in the San Fernando Valley. The Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts were a large part of both our lives. Then we didn't see each other for almost 40 years until we reconnected as they we about to move to their wonderful Mariposa home & shop twelve years ago. We are deeply saddened by the loss of two wonderful-beautiful souls. Rod & Merry Larson

Rich was the most wonderful,

Rich was the most wonderful, kind, and loving person that I've know since growing up and he's been like uncle to me and I'm truly going to miss him. And to the McGrath Family you're all in my thoughts.

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