William McDonough

Obituary of William Joseph McDonough

William Joseph McDonough, 98 years old, of Whiting, NJ, died Wednesday, June 10, 2020, after medical issues at Community Medical Center, Toms River, NJ. William was born in Perth Amboy, NJ, April 11, 1922, and went by the nick name Bill all his life. He was the husband of his late beloved wife of 53 years Genevieve Bekus McDonough (2001), and son of the late William Henry and Emma Pfeiffer McDonough. He was predeceased by his son Lee {2018) and baby daughter Linda Ann (1956) as well as his sisters: Catherine Rapach, Augusta McDonough, and Alice Trotter. He is survived by his son Robert Barry and Frances Braz McDonough of Plainsboro, and his daughter Patti Ann and John Veltri of Houston, Texas, formerly of Chadds Ford, PA. Also, surviving Bill McDonough are his six grandchildren: Ryan McDonough (Shana), Derek McDonough, and Rachel Beth McDonough Dawson (Ian); and Matthew, Daniel, and Kevin Veltri. In addition, he leaves behind his four great-grandchildren: Lilly, Arden, and Ridge McDonough; and Avery Dawson. Bill lived in Edison and Fords for most of his life before moving to Whiting in 1994. When growing up in Fords/Edison New Jersey he was known as Pee Wee to his friends. He attended Our Lady of Peace Grammar School, which was just down the street from his house. He then attended St. Mary’s High School in Perth Amboy and had to take the public bus every day. On some days, due to the depression, he didn’t have enough money for bus fare and walked many miles to school. As a teenager, he raised chickens in his back yard selling the eggs to neighbors for spending money and to help his parents with their bills. He was the youngest in his family and had three sisters who always took care of him growing up. His father was an electrician who worked for Thomas Edison, and Bill naturally decided to become an electrician, too. While an apprentice, World War II broke out, and Bill enlisted in U.S. Navy. After being inducted into the U.S. Navy, he was enrolled in the Electrical Studies Class at Purdue University to acquire certification as an Electricians Mate Second Class. His first assignment was on the Destroyer Escort USS Blair being part of a massive convoy to England. From 1942 to 1946, he served not only aboard the Destroyer Escort USS Blair, but also on the Carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt; continuing to make many trips across the Atlantic on convoy duty escorting supply ships to Europe and making life-long friendships in the U.S. Navy After the war he came home finally to continue the life that he left. That is where he met his future bride Genevieve, who happened to live next door. They were married on June 5, 1948. Bill worked as an electrician out of Perth Amboy Local Union #358, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) for 46 years before retiring in 1987. He was an officer in the Union at various times having held positions of Secretary, Executive Board Member, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer. After they married, they set up housekeeping in a small home in Metuchen N.J. That is where they had their first child a son named Robert Barry. They lived in Metuchen for three years, and then Bill decided to build a house. It was on the same street where he grew up; just down the street from his parents and Gen’s parents. While the house was being built, they had another son, Lee Thomas. The family was growing. Bill finally became a journeyman electrician and was sent on construction jobs all over New Jersey. Next to be added to the family was a little girl they named Linda Ann. Unfortunately, Linda became seriously ill from Pneumonia and died at 9 months old. This, of course, was devastating for the family. After a few years a little miracle happened, and they had another little girl who was named Patti Ann. The family was complete. During the 1960’s, when the space race was gearing up, Bill took a job in Bermuda at a Mercury Tracking station. It was an exciting adventure, but he missed his family and after months he decided to return to New Jersey. Bill liked to travel and go on vacations with the family. They found a very nice place on Lake Winnipesauke in New Hampshire. They would go every year, and the kids enjoyed fishing, sailing, and water skiing. After the children were grown and on their own, he and Gen took trips to Ireland, Alaska, out west to Yellowstone, California, and many other places. While living in Edison, the McDonough’s had a picnic every Sunday, rain or shine, in their back yard. All his sisters and their families, his mother and Gen’s parents were there to share the fun. His children eventually provided him with grandchildren. That was one of the most enjoyable parts of his life. Whenever one of his children needed him to watch the grandkids, he was right there to help. He doted on each one of them and was a very loving, patient, and gentle grandfather. It was a joy for him to be with them and often photographed them. He really was an excellent photographer. Bill also liked going to Atlantic city when the casinos were approved. He would get into the Slots Tournaments and was rather lucky. His favorite casino was Harrah’s. All knew him there because he was a regular. He enjoyed talking to everyone, and they enjoyed talking to him and would seek him out at a table or a slot machine. He also like going to Atlantic City with Gen before she passed. She was always with him. He spoke to her every night for the past 19 years, just waiting to be back in her loving arms again. It was a forever love that transcended life. Bill would do a crossword puzzle every morning and was quick. He knew a lot about so many things. He was a fixer-upper and was not afraid to tackle any job. He was a “jack-of-all trades”. Bill was quite independent even at 98, driving and living alone in his own home. In fact, at 96 when his garage door no longer worked; instead of calling on his son, grandsons, or someone to replace it, he drove to Lowe’s and bought a new one. Then he climbed a ladder and installed it himself, although it took two days due to the heat. This was much to the chagrin of his son Barry, who said: “Why didn’t you call me?” That was Pop; always able and willing to tackle anything before him. Dad, Pop, Pop-Pop, Grandpop…was deeply loved by so many. He was a mentor and guiding light to his children and grandchildren. He set an example unmatched of how to be a magnanimous person and a true gentleman. A quiet man with a quick wit who knew how to make one laugh. He was loving, humble, caring, wise, gentle, generous, and meticulous. Very organized. Bill always had a kind word and was a great listener. Plus, he always looked so dapper. He will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of William Joseph McDonough to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org). William Joseph McDonough will be interred at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery at a private service with an Honor Guard.
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