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Former Sewickley Heights man supported families, community

| Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grant McCargo was a man devoted to his family, his community and reaching out to those who needed a helping hand.

And with those words, Tribune-Review owner Richard M. Scaife best described Mr. McCargo, who, besides serving on the boards of Shadyside Hospital and Sewickley Heights Borough Council, was respected for private donations he made to deserving families and individuals.

Grant McCargo, a former resident of Sewickley Heights who moved to Palm Beach County, Fla., in 2005, died on Thursday, July 9, 2009, in his summer home in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., at 80.

"My father was a quiet man whose actions spoke louder than his words," said his son, Thomas W. McCargo, a resident of Sewickley and president of Graham Realty Co. in Sewickley, which his father founded in the early 1950s.

His father was the kind of person who enjoyed being behind the scenes in whatever endeavor he undertook, his son added.

"If Dad heard or was told that a friend, an acquaintance or an employee was having a hard time coping financially in a family crisis, he'd provide them with both the know-how and the finances needed to see them through.

"On numerous occasions, Dad provided college money for a deserving student who lost a parent and was faced with the possibility that they could not complete their education," McCargo added.

Mr. McCargo, said his son, was an avid preservationist who supported the work of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and the efforts of its president, Arthur Ziegler.

"Dad supported and admired Arthur Ziegler's efforts in preserving what he considered the great historic buildings that we have in this area — buildings that my father felt could never be duplicated."

Born and raised in Shadyside, Grant McCargo was one of two children in the family of Graham and Mary Remington McCargo.

After graduating from the Choate School in Wallingford, Conn., Mr. McCargo attended Brown University in Providence, R.I.

And in the entrepreneurial spirit of his father, Graham, his Uncle David and his grandfather, Grant, he established a real estate business.

His grandfather, Grant McCargo, made his reputation as a successful entrepreneur during the years that his company provided the grease for Andrew Carnegie's rolling mills.

Thomas McCargo recalled growing up in a home in which his dynamic father made sure his children were kept busy when they weren't in school.

"Dad would come into our rooms at 5:30 in the morning with a list of chores that we were being assigned to do, including feeding the chickens," said McCargo.

"As children, we wanted to be like our father, who was an honest, caring and hard-working man."

His son recalled his father's love of sports, inherited from his parents and grandparents and passed down to his children.

"Dad enjoyed the competitiveness that comes with sports," said his son. "He encouraged us as children to become involved in sports. We enjoyed skiing, sailing and bicycle riding.

"Besides tennis and squash, Dad was passionate yachtsman, who was a member of the New York Yacht Club, the Edgartown Yacht Club and the Edgartown Reading Room," his son added.

In the Pittsburgh area, Mr. McCargo was a member of the Rolling Rock Club, the Duquesne Club and Allegheny Country Club.

And in Florida, he was a member of the Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club, Mar-A-Lago Club and The Everglades Club.

In addition to his son, Thomas, Mr. McCargo is survived by his wife of 36 years, Audrey Holding McCargo; his other children, Diana McCargo Swift of Vermont, Heather McCargo McNiff of Maine, and Grant McCargo III of Colorado; his three stepchildren, Robert McLean of Philadelphia, Betsy McLean Woodruff of Massachusetts, and Clare McLean Cross of Philadelphia, and 20 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Diana Wright McCargo, who died as a result of a skiing accident in 1973, and a sister, Marian McCargo Bell.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Monday in Federated Church, Edgartown, Mass.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 5277, Edgartown, MA 02539.

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