Cover photo for Joseph Clifford McGann's Obituary
Joseph Clifford McGann Profile Photo
1945 Joseph 2020

Joseph Clifford McGann

July 13, 1945 — October 7, 2020

Joseph Clifford McGann, Jr. age 75 of Westford passed-away peacefully on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at his home surrounded by his loving family following a courageous six year battle with Multiple Myeloma. He was the beloved husband of 51 years to Catherine Frances (MacDonald) McGann.

Born in Watertown, MA on July 13, 1945, he was the son of the late Joseph Clifford McGann, Sr. and Marguerite Hayes McGann. Raised and early educated in Watertown, Joe graduated from St. Patrick's High School. He later attended and graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada and Northeastern University.

Joe and Fran married on April 12, 1969 and soon settled in Westford where together they raised their loving family. In his early years, Joe worked for LTV Aerospace and was involved in programming and analysis activities culminating with the successful lunar landing of Apollo 11. Joe spent the next 33 years in a variety of technical and management roles with the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportations Systems Center. A key moment of service during his career with the Volpe was being part of the U.S. Government Crises Management Team supporting the Pentagon and World Trade Centre recovery after the tragic events of September 11th. In 2003, Joe received the Volpe Center Award for Outstanding Performance.

Joe was an active and long-time member of St. Catherine's Church in Westford where in his early years he taught CCD, most recently served on the parish council and enjoyed attending weekly mass and supporting many church activities and events. He and his family were blessed with the friendship Joe and Father Peter Quinn developed over the years. Father Peter was not only a friend and confidant to Joe, but also to his wife and children. Joe enjoyed following sports and in his earlier years coached youth hockey and soccer. In the early 1970's and 80's he served as head of the StFX Boston alumni chapter and from 1999-2003 served two terms on the StFX Board of Governors. In 2018, Joe was inducted into the StFX Hall of Honour.

Joe cherished the time with his family and enjoyed many holiday gatherings, celebrations, and milestones. He especially loved the time he spent on the MacDonald family farm in Nova Scotia with his wife, children, and extended family. Joe touched the hearts of all who came in contact with him. His bright smile, caring eyes, kindness, wit and humor were indescribable. As one friend said, "he was a strong, yet heartfelt, down to earth guy with a lovable sense of humor." His ability to regale you with stories will undoubtedly be missed by all.

Along with his wife he is survived by his children, Cliff McGann of Chelmsford, Brendan McGann of Portland, ME, Ian McGann of Lanark, Nova Scotia (most recently Portland, ME), and Katie McGann Barclay and her husband Ryan of Westford; three of the reasons he continued to fight, his grandchildren, Liam, Nuala and Emalee McGann whose presence he referred to as a gift. He is also survived by his sisters, Marguerite McGann Masterson of Florida, Dorothy McGann of Watertown, Kate McGann of Waltham, Martha McCarthy of Medford and Mary McGann of Watertown as well as many nieces and nephews. Joe was predeceased by his in-laws, Alexander and Lillian MacDonald, of Lanark, Nova Scotia whom he shared a special bond. Joe always expressed his appreciation and fondness for the Shea Family who accepted him as an honorary 6th brother. Many of Joe's children's friends viewed him as a surrogate/second father. Joe valued these relationships and did not take that role for granted.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Joe for a period of visitation on Friday, October 16, 2020 from 4:00-8:00 pm at St. Catherine's Church, 107 N Main St., Westford; his funeral mass will be private. Burial in Nova Scotia, Canada will be at a later date.

To view Joseph's funeral mass please use the following link:

The family wishes to thank Care Dimensions for their assistance when Joe chose to discontinue treatment and come home on Hospice. The family especially wishes to thank the staff of Lahey Burlington Hematology/Oncology, the nurses of Pod 2, for not only their exceptional care of Joe as a patient, but for the relationships and friendship they developed with him over the years.

Donations in his memory can be made to:
St. Vincent DePaul c/o St. Catherine's Church
107 N. Main St.
Westford, MA 01886
Multiple Myeloma Research
c/o Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
450 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, October 16, 2020

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish

107 N Main St, Westford, MA 01886

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Funeral Mass



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