Catherine A. McGrath, 97

OSWEGO, NY – Catherine Agnes Sherman McGrath, 97, wife of the late John “Jack” W. McGrath, Sr., passed away peacefully on Christmas Day, Monday December 25, 2017, in Oswego, with her son, John, at her side.

Catherine A. McGrath
Catherine A. McGrath

In addition to her husband, Jack, who died in 1998, she was predeceased by son, James; and daughters, Anne Loretta, Theresa Anne and Sheila Ann; sister, Mary Margaret (Sherman) McMahon; and her husband, Frank McMahon; daughter-in-law Mella (DeAmbra) McGrath; sons-in- law Robert “Bob” Steele and Larry Philpott.

She was also predeceased by her brother-in-law, George McGrath Sr. and his wife, Mary E. McGrath; sisters-in-law and their husbands, Anamae (Richard) Mitchell Sr., Hazel (Bob) Ebert, Helen (Bob) Benzing and Eileen (George) Ranous.

The daughter of the late William Webster Sherman and Agnes Catherine (Raney) Sherman, she was born on October 1, 1920, in Washington D.C. and was a former resident of Kensington, Maryland.

After graduation from Holy Cross Academy, Washington, D.C., she was employed by the Department of Navy in Washington.

On September 19, 1946, she joined Jack McGrath in marriage to enjoy 51 years of a wonderful and loving life together.

They were co-owners and operators of the Veteran’s Liquor Store at 89 W. Bridge St. in Oswego for 43 years.

Catherine, a devout Catholic and communicant of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, was a former member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, St. Mary’s Women’s Choir and the Altar and Rosary Society.

After retirement, she volunteered at the Oswego Hospital Gift Shop.

“Mom” or “Granny” was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and homemaker.

Always a cheerleader and supporter of her children and grandchildren, she enjoyed seeing them pursue their dreams.

An avid gardener and bowler, she also took classes in ceramics and enjoyed reading and word puzzles.

Her enthusiasm for photography and film allowed her family to cherish and relive decades of memories through the hundreds of photographs and reels of 8mm films stored in her cedar chest.

Mom also loved packing her suitcase to travel throughout the United States, Portugal, Great Britain and Ireland.

With a keen eye for color and design she enjoyed caring for and remodeling the family home.

She made her home a place of comfort and enjoyment for all.

In her later years, you could often see Catherine walking her dog, “Daisy,” in West Park.

She was the beloved mother of daughters, Elizabeth “Betty Jane” Steele of Camillus, NY, Catherine “Cathy” Philpott, of Denver, Colorado, Mary Margaret McGrath of Oswego; and her sons, John W. McGrath Jr., of Oswego, David McGrath, of Newark Valley, NY, Robert Sherman (Liz) McGrath of Oswego and Tom (Benette) McGrath of Fayetteville, NY.

Catherine also leaves behind to cherish her memory, her grandchildren, Jason Steele (Eileen Heagerty), of Jamesville, NY, and Ryan Steele of Syracuse, NY, Robert (Vicki) DeAmbra; and great-grandchild, Eve of Brooklyn, NY; Katherine (Fred) Carter and great-grandchildren, Kristine, Justin and Talia of Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, Spencer (Linda) McGrath, and great-grandson, Arthur Julius McGrath of Boston, Massachusetts, Alison McGrath of Oswego, Eli (Lee Ann) Tiffault of Burlington, Vermont and Kallie Tiffault of New Orleans, Louisiana, Nathan Philpott, Lauren (Nik) (Philpott) Stoffel, great-grandchildren, Layla Snow and Parker Stoffel, all of Denver, Colorado; and her cousin, Regina Curtis, of Gaithersburg, Maryland; as well as many loving nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Mom’s caretakers, Ruth, Louella, Connie M., Mandy, Melissa, Shelly, Judy, Andrea, Connie P., Carol, Kareen, Renee and Tracy, for their personal and loving care.

The family also extends its gratitude to the St. Luke Health Facility, Oswego.

Calling hours will be Thursday, December 28, from 4-7 p.m. at the Dowdle Funeral Home, 154 E. Fourth St., Oswego.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 103 W. Seventh St., Oswego, on Friday, December 29, at 10 a.m.

Interment will follow in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions go to St. Mary of the Assumption Church preservation fund, Oswego, a local veterans’ organization or your local ASPCA.


  1. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we’d stop in Veteran’s Liquors for a bottle of wine to share with our dinner…after leaving Lupe’s Sport Shop for coffee!

    Nice people were always there to welcome you and help you decide which wine to choose.

    Rest in peace, and condolences to family and friends!

  2. BettyJane – So sorry to read about your Mom. I remember her and your Dad so well. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. Fond memories of Mrs. McGrath and the whole family living as neighbors on west 8th street. Such a nice lady. Rest in peace.

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