Joseph J. McKevitt, 97, of Ironwood, Mich., former longtime funeral director and co-owner and operator of McKevitt-Kershner-Patrick Furniture Co. and McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, Inc., in Ironwood and Engstrom Funeral Home in Hurley, Wis., died peacefully Thursday, March 28, 2013, at the Episcopal Church Home in St. Paul, where he resided for the past two years.
Joe was born June 9, 1915, in Ironwood, son of the late Thomas L. and Theresa (Nolan) McKevitt, attended St. Ambrose Grade School, and graduated from St. Ambrose High School with the Class of 1932. He then completed his studies and was a member of the first graduating class of Ironwood Junior College ( now Gogebic Community College) in 1934. He continued his education, obtaining a degree in Mortuary Science in 1936 and a degree in Business Administration in 1938, both from the University of Minnesota. After graduation he returned to Ironwood and joined McKevitt-Kershner-Patrick Furniture Company and Funeral Home.
Joe entered the U.S. Army in July 1942, serving stateside until his discharge in 1946, then returned to Ironwood and the business he shared with John D. Patrick and Walter P. Kershner. In October of 1950, he was recalled into the Army until August of 1951.
On Jan. 21, 1947, he was married to Margaret Gamble at St.Ambrose Catholic Church in Ironwood by the late Monsignor Nolan B. McKevitt. Margaret preceded him in death on Dec. 10, 2011.
Joe had lifelong ties to the community and was active in many organizations well into his retirement. He was a member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church and past president of the Holy Name Society, Ironwood Knights of Columbus Council No. 1396, a 68-year member and past commander in 1956 of Ironwood American Legion Post 5, Gogebic County 40 et 8 Voiture, Gogebic County United Way, a member of Michigan Funeral Directors Association and past president of District 7, past president and 1981 Man of the Year of the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce, Ironwood Retail Board, Ironwood Kiwanis Club, and the Ironwood Historical Society Board of Directors, where he volunteered as a guide at the Depot Museum. Joe enjoyed singing and was a member of the Our Lady of Peace men's choir and the American Legion Glee Club, and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Gogebic Community College in 2002. He was an avid reader of mysteries and historical biographies. He also enjoyed a good card game. His love of downhill skiing took him to Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, New Hampshire and Canada.
When the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, Joe was recognized as the oldest graduate at their banquet.
Surviving are five children, Mary Joe (John) Perry, Hyde Park, Mass., Susan McKevitt, St. Paul, Owen McKevitt, New York, Peggy McKevitt, St. Paul, and Steve McKevitt, Cleveland; three grandchildren, Eduardo, Marco and Paul Perry, Boston; a sister-in-law, Ruth McKevitt, Philadelphia; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by three brothers, Monsignor Nolan McKevitt, Thomas McKevitt and John McKevitt.
Out of respect for Joe's wishes, cremation has taken place.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation in the St. Joseph Family Room at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Monsignor Jed Patrick, celebrant/homilist, and the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, concelebrant.
Rite of Committal will take place in the St. Joseph Family Room at the church, where full military honors will be accorded by the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard.
Luncheon will follow at the Liberty Bell Chalet in downtown Hurley.
Members of Pere Menard Assembly No. 471, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, will serve as honor guard in the St. Joseph Family Room at the church beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Ironwood Carnegie Library.
Joe's obituary can be viewed online and condolences given to his family at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ironwood.