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'Loving people person' from Munhall chatted up anyone

| Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009

Thomas J. McDonough was a talker.

In front of a classroom of children or in a sidewalk shop in Homestead, the father of two was comfortable meeting people, his family said. His folksy, talkative manner worked especially well with children, to whom he devoted much of his adult life.

Thomas J. McDonough of Munhall died Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009. He was 73.

His family nicknamed him "Pappas," but to the hundreds, maybe thousands, of children he taught in South Fayette School District, he was Mr. McDonough, the affable, talkative social studies teacher.

Mr. McDonough grew up in Homestead. He was an Army veteran during the Korean War, but did not engage in combat. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, and worked for the school district for more than three decades, family members said. He coached the high school's junior varsity basketball team for a few seasons.

Teaching fit his gregarious personality.

"He loved being a teacher, and being in front of a class," said his son, Patrick McDonough, of West Mifflin. "He was definitely a good communicator and could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. And the kids he taught must have picked up on that."

Family members said Mr. McDonough retired from the district in 1991 but remained active. He spent much of his time with his wife, Margaret Louise "Peg" McDonough, and at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Munhall, where he was a member.

Mr. McDonough was involved with the Knights of Columbus. He served as grand knight for the group's Council No. 2201 in Homestead and was its recording secretary at the time of his death.

"He was an open book, and what you see is what you get with him," his son said. "He was definitely a very loving people person, one that a lot of people will miss."

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. McDonough is survived by his daughter, Mary Margaret McDonough, of Oil City; sister, Margaret McDonough of Duquesne; and nine grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. today at the George Irvin Green Funeral Home Inc., 3511 Main St., Munhall.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Therese of Lisieux Church.

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