Dr. Thomas McGary
Dr. Thomas McGary

Funeral Mass

11:00 am
Saturday, March 16, 2024
Linehan Chapel
Nazareth University, 4245 East Avenue
Rochester, New York, United States

Obituary of Dr. Thomas Joseph McGary

Dr. Thomas Joseph McGary passed away at home February 21st, 2024, aged 81, after a battle with cancer. He was born August 9th, 1942 in Louisville, KY to Corporal J. Earnest and Louise McGary.


Dr. McGary was a music educator for 40 years. He earned his PhD in music history, literature, and theory from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He served as chair of the music department at Brock University in Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and then was appointed professor of music at Nazareth University in 1982, serving as chair from 1982-1994. Upon his retirement from Nazareth in 2008, he was granted professor emeritus.


He was a champion of early music and founded the Johann Bach Society of St Catharines. He served as music director from 1979-84, conducting numerous instrumental and choral programs in southeastern Ontario. Dr. McGary served as a church organist and choral director in various positions throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, and the Rochester region for 67 years, beginning at the age of 12.


He believed in the transformative nature of music, art, and culture leading numerous educational trips throughout Europe with students from Nazareth University with long-time friend and colleague Dr. William Hopkins. Dr. McGary had the privilege of providing respite and solace to first responders in New York City in the days following the 9/11 attacks, leading choral performances with Nazareth University students.


Those who knew Thomas cannot forget his particular sense of humor. He delighted in making people laugh and smile. Thomas was a lover of animals, especially family dogs, Bartok, Clara, and Sammy. A proud Kentuckian, Thomas enjoyed a warm, humid summer and a cold whiskey sour.


He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Pamela; daughters Colleen McGary-Smith (Matthew) of Littleton, MA; Kathleen Laney of Golden, CO; son Thomas Jr (Alicia) of Batavia, NY; son-in-law Gilbert Doway of Smith Creek, MI; six grandchildren, Sydney (Matthew), Bradlee, Oliver, Simon, Ian, and Cecilia; and one great-grandchild, Myla. He is predeceased by his beloved eldest daughter, Maureen Doway; his father, J. Earnest; mother, Louise; two sisters, Anita Ries and Martha Pugh; and brother, Robert McGary.


A Funeral Mass will be held at the Linehan Chapel at Nazareth University on Saturday, March 16th, 2024 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lollypop Farm or the American Bladder Cancer Society.

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