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William J. McGinty

March 5, 1948 May 12, 2017
William J. McGinty
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Obituary for William J. McGinty

William J. McGinty, 69, of Marseilles, IL formerly of Pekin, IL passed away Friday, May 12, 2017 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. Mr. McGinty was born March 5, 1948 in Pekin, IL, the son of Nelda Weyhrich McGinty and John McGinty, a local councilman (mayor of Pekin 1954-1955) and bank employee. Their union was a combination of German and Irish backgrounds; different religious backgrounds and cultures. But the family was raised with a sense of tolerance, a facet Mr. McGinty later expanded to others as he worked with them. From his father, William learned enough about politics to acquire a spectatorial interest in that subject. Just as important was the fact that William also acquired from him (father had worked one summer on a minor railroad job) an intense interest in railroads. While in school at both St. Josephs and Pekin High (Class of 1966), William acquired a love of travelling. This desire to travel was re-inforced by things like maps of explorers in grade school, Latin class in high school, or even where that freight train going through Pekin was headed. (Pekin had a real potpourri of different railroads then.) This desire to travel led to Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), BS in Ed. 1970. ("The furthest place from Pekin where one could still pay in-state tuition. ") The region also is beautiful. This led to travels which were to eventually cover all 50 states and over 25 different countries on three continents. William served in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1976 and was a petty officer on the USS "Shark" a now-scrapped fast attack nuclear submarine. Subsequent occupations included industrial teaching and supervision at Commonwealth Edison's La Salle County and Dresden nuclear power plants. But he finally had a major career change in the early 1990's when he became an European railroad agent for DB (DER tours, German Rail) which was later merged into Rail Europe (French Rail). At last William had a job with a railroad background; a job which led to much riding of trains in Europe. "Wouldn't trade it for a million bucks!" was his attitude. Despite widespread train travel, air travel was William's second best way to go. He actually travelled more times across the "Atlantic River" as he called it then he did across the Mississippi River in his first 25 years! And two of those were long trips on the "Shark," mostly submerged. His favorite train rides were the combined "Super Chief"/"EI Capitan" Chillicothe to Los Angeles (a few months before Amtrak took over) and the Eurostar London to Paris/Brussels. He never regarded himself to be a "FOMITE" (far-out mentally incompetent train enthusiast) but admits he became "dangerously close a couple of times" before "rationality prevailed." William also acquired a large number of publications, books, and, as a photographer, a large number of rail shots. All of this is being transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum, Union, Illinois, where McGinty like to make yearly trips, "for the solitude of it." Always single, Mr. McGinty is survived by a twin sister, Susan (Robert) Rhodes of East Peoria and nephew and niece, Michael and Maria Rhodes. A private family service will be held at Abts Mortuary in Pekin, IL. Father Michael Andrejek will officiate. Burial will follow the service at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Pekin, IL. Memorial contributions can be made to the Illinois Railway Museum 7000 Olson Road, Union, IL 60180 in his name. Condolences may be made to his sister at smrappraiser@hotmail.com

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